As the COVID-19 crisis began to unfold, many organizations had to quickly mobilize a remote workforce with very little warning or preparation. Some of West Canadian's customers reached out to find simple and affordable solutions that would enable their employees to remotely access and collaborate on company documents, no matter where they were working from.
As we settle in and adapt to this new world of work, issues and gaps in process will inevitably continue to surface. Here are three steps organizations can follow to proactively support and empower a productive digital workplace.
Step 1: Define your business critical processes.
To meet an immediate need, many employees found temporary workarounds to access their files and information from home. To enable a truly productive, secure and accessible remote work environment, organizations must reassess the situation strategically.
Before you can choose a solution for your new digital workplace, you must define your needs. Start by identifying the key stakeholders in your business — HR, Accounting, Supply Chain, Operations, Marketing, Sales, etc., and then define the critical processes that each of these groups perform to keep your business running. Some examples include:
- Does your HR team need access to employee records and policies to manage staff and business continuity during the crisis?
- Does your accounting team need access to invoices and purchase orders to continue paying vendors and collecting customer payments?
- Do your sales staff need customer contracts, SOWs and other critical materials to manage accounts and keep revenue flowing?
Once you have defined the business critical processes performed by each stakeholder group, list them in order of priority and identify the roadblocks they are experiencing due to their new remote work environment.
Step 2: Determine what you already have available in your technology ecosystem.
Once you have a solid understanding of the roadblocks your stakeholders are experiencing, the next step is understanding the tools, technology and expertise you already have available. Some key questions to consider:
Where are your company documents stored?
Start with the basics. Are your documents paper-based, digital, or both?
If your company information is paper-based and stored away in filing cabinets at the office, you will need to consider converting those documents to a digital format and storing them in a secure, cloud-based location. While developing a digital information ecosystem typically requires strategy, there are easy-to-adopt and affordable solutions that will work for the interim.
If your documents are digital, where are they stored? If they are in network folders, are they accessible remotely through a VPN? If they are in email, SharePoint or an ERP system, can they be securely accessed and shared from home?
Do you have the in-house expertise to deploy a solution?
If there are gaps in your technology that leave your team unable to access information remotely, you may need to deploy an interim solution. In that case, do you have an internal IT team that can champion the initiative and get your digital workforce set up quickly? If not, consider consulting with a trusted partner like West Canadian.
Step 3: Choose and deploy a solution.
You now have a clear understanding of the roadblocks your employees are having getting access to their critical information, and you understand your current technology environment. With this in mind, it's time to choose a technology solution that will work for the interim, but also has the capability to provide value when your employees are back at work.
There are several quick to adopt, easy to use and affordable document management solutions that could work for your organization. Which solution you choose depends on factors such as:
- Complexity of your information environment — Do you have several departments that each need their own repository, or are you a smaller business that needs a single place to store information?
- Metadata requirements — What type of search functionality do you need to retrieve documentation?
- Permission controls — Do you require advanced measures for granting access to documentation, or are you fairly lenient?
If you're not sure where to get started with choosing an interim document and information management ecosystem, West Canadian can help.
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West Canadian can help you rapidly design and deploy the software,
hardware and processes that you need to enable your workforce with quick, simple and secure access to your key business records.
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