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Sponsored How Cloud Computing Can Boost Employee Productivity
Source: Matt Mansfield

Out of all the benefits of working in the cloud, one of the biggest, increased productivity, is also one of the hardest to quantify.

A large part of that is because both the time and money saved can be more easily measured while productivity is a trickier metric to pin down.

That said, there are some very real ways that the cloud can boost employee productivity and, if you’re mulling over whether to move your small business into the cloud or not, the points listed below might just tip the scale to the “yes migrate” side.
Ways the Cloud Can Boost Employee Productivity

Productivity in the workplace primarily translates to efficiency and working in the cloud can be super efficient thanks to six cloud productivity benefits.

Automation can make your employees super-efficient.

For example, if one of your employees is producing a piece of content for a client, they can use an online system to streamline the process. Here’s how that might look:

        Employee uploads the content for the client to review;
        Client reviews and comments on the content;
        Employee makes any needed changes and re-uploads the new version; and
        Client reviews and approves the content.

The automation comes in between each of these steps. When your employee initially uploads the content, an email, text, or in-system notification is sent to the client. Then, once the client marks the content as reviewed, a notification is sent to the employee. And so on until the end.

In addition, if a deadline is approaching or passed, notifications can be sent so no one drops the ball.

The key efficiency gain here is focus. Working in a collaborative space in the cloud enables your employees to focus on a process or task only when they need to be involved. Otherwise, they can work on other things.

Now, you may not see much of a difference between this process and using back-and-forth email, but the next productivity benefit works together with this one to boost productivity even further.
Process Management

Many of the tools available in the cloud come equipped with features to manage your processes.

Take the content process discussed above for example. By working in the cloud, all of the content approvals are happening in the same place. By using the solution’s dashboard, your employees can get an at-a-glance view of where each piece of content is in the process.

In addition, many solutions include versioning and change tracking features which help both parties know that they are working on the latest version of content. If you’ve ever used back-and-forth emails as your content approval process, you know how easy it can be to confuse versions and lose time doing unnecessary work and trying to figure out where everything went wrong.

The key efficiency gains here are process standardization and centralization. Every time a process is started, it follows the same steps because it’s all being done within the same tool. By adding a centralized place for the work to happen, oversight is improved and bottlenecks can be quickly located and cleared.
Workplace Flexibility

If the first productivity benefit, automation, was about focusing on a process or task only when employees needed to be involved, workplace flexibility is about enabling your employees to participate in a process or complete a task no matter where they are.

Because the cloud can run on any device with a browser, each employee can receive, and act on, notifications even while out of the office. While this is not meant to be a recommendation for “24/7 work weeks”, it can help processes move forward when they need to, say during a crunch period or when an employee is traveling for work.

The key efficiency gain here is timeliness. Work can be completed from anywhere so important work does not get held up when key players are absent or on the road.
Asynchronous Collaboration

Don’t be scared by the “techie-sounding” term. Asynchronous means that things happen at different times.

For example, the content approval process described above is a great example of asynchronous collaboration. Both your employee and your client are collaborating, but they don’t have to be in the same room or even working at the same time to do so.

The key efficiency gain here is — again — timeliness. Once again, one party does not need to wait upon the other to participate in the process yet true collaboration, and the benefits therein, is taking place.
Faster Learning Curve

Online solutions typically take less time to learn. That’s because of a practice called, “web usability” which is where online solution vendors follow online standards (links, drop-down menus, page layouts, etc.) with which anyone who uses a web browser is familiar.

Offline software vendors have no such constraints and thus the design and layout of their solutions can be totally unique to their software. This leads to a steeper learning curve which means it will take longer to learn to use their solutions.

The key efficiency gain here is speed. Onboarding new employees and clients to your online systems becomes both easier and faster.

With the connectivity that the cloud provides via its many pipes and networks, your online solutions can communicate with other businesses and solutions online.

This enables a whole lot of integration to take place and, with the following tools, it has become easier than ever to automate huge parts of your processes:

        Microsoft Flow

The key efficiency gain here is task reduction. The more you can automate, the fewer tedious, repetitive tasks your employees have to do and the faster they happen.


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