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How can ERP help remote workers to communicate effectively

27th April 2020,  

Social distancing is forcing businesses to find solutions to remote working. It’s not easy to overcome the reliance on face-to-face conversations and team meetings. The biggest barrier is trust, believing that staff will continue to work hard even in their own homes.

A business with a modern, cloud-based ERP solution already has a great start. This means a project can recruit for ERP consultant jobs with confidence that they will be able to work anywhere. Project management will integrate with back-office features so that everyone in the task force can work together effectively.

Working remotely still requires a change in perspective, however, not only at senior management level but also in the mind of the client. Here we look at the challenges of working remotely and how ERP can help the team to work and communicate effectively.

Challenges

Face-to-face interaction is the most obvious issue in remote working. Businesses are accustomed to having direct contact between team members, whether this is for supervision, sharing ideas, problem-solving or building collective team motivation. The ability to interact socially is a fundamental human quality.

Isolation is another issue caused by working remotely. Initially, a manager may appreciate the chance to make progress on tasks without interruptions. This can change as the sense of isolation kicks in. Consultants, in particular, thrive on a high level of interaction with other team members, business partners and client contacts. Productivity can suffer when they are separated for long periods.

Knowledge sharing is a more complex issue discussed in this paper [1]. A dispersed team can fail to communicate or retain information. Team members not only find it difficult to communicate but also to appreciate the importance of sharing knowledge.

Convincing the client

It’s essential that the client buys into remote working and fully engages with the project. When recruiting for ERP consultant jobs, look for people who are great virtual communicators, who can handle videoconferences, screen sharing and product demonstrations. Promote this in the CVs you send to the client.

Showcase these communication skills to the client at every opportunity. Arrange a regular schedule of virtual meetings to report on progress and resolve issues. Choose an information-sharing platform such as Hangouts Chat, Microsoft Teams or Slack and encourage the client to engage with it. Make presentations using a webinar tool that includes chat boxes and Q&A functions.

 

How can ERP help?

Cloud technology is an essential start point for remote working. Locating systems and data in the cloud means that the back-office team can work from anywhere, using a laptop and internet connection.

SaaS means there is no reliance on in-house IT staff to manage servers and carry out upgrades. In fact, the project can run without a head office.

Information is always up-to-date. A field worker can upload data directly from the job site using a hand-held device and mobile data connection.

There are no data silos; team members working in engineering, procurement and finance can stay up to date with one another. A project manager can make decisions based upon information collated from each discipline.

Projects can hire the most talented people, wherever they are. Recruiting for ERP consultant jobs is no longer limited to locations close to the project site or head office location.

What is the future for ERP and remote working?

Now that businesses have seen the benefits of remote working, some of the changes demanded by the pandemic will be here to stay:

–       The costs of running large office buildings will be assessed objectively

–       In-house IT systems and departments will be compared against SaaS

–       Organisations will invest in ERP and talented communicators

Finally, team members will see working from home as a benefit. The cost and stress of commuting will be significantly reduced. Organisations that offer remote working, to some level, will find that they can recruit the best people.

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