Technology has evolved a lot over the last few years, however a lot of businesses which could make good use of this change have chosen to ignore or not accept these changes in transforming their businesses and the underlying business models. These businesses will find it difficult to continue business as usual in the current environment of uncertainty. Businesses that have embraced these technological advances and improvements in moving to online applications will mostly be able to maintain business as usual. Some may even flourish and prosper more than they have so far, seize new opportunities and thwart traditional threats due to their preparedness for such eventualities.
Although the benefits of online business applications have been talked and written about umpteen times, I would like to reiterate them in the context of the current situation we are all in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online business applications allow users to access the required functions and features irrespective of the location, time and device. Applications such as CRM, HR systems, Finance and Operations, Communication and Collaboration tools, etc mean I can access anything I need from the comfort of my lounge room, study, backyard or beach (No, I am not working from a beach!)
Online business applications get automatic and timely updates for new releases and security patches. Microsoft Teams is getting weekly updates for new functions and features with the uptake of the application up 12 million users in a single week due to remote working of staff and schools using it to run virtual classrooms. Also, Microsoft have relaxed the deadline for deprecating the Dynamics 365 legacy web client by 2 months and are allowing businesses to pause updates coming in April 2020 by a month due to COVID-19. These kind of updates and changes are only possible to be made at such short notice when you have online business applications.
Modern businesses do not rely on teams physically located in the same place. Updates to documents and files are available to users who are geographically dispersed allowing for greater collaboration without the distance constraint. Recently there has been so much talk about collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom Meetings, etc to run virtual meetings and get past the lockdown constraint. All that has been possible due to the fact that these applications are hosted and run in the cloud.
Business applications offer flexibility in scale as well as cost. They can easily scale to handle demand surge during peak seasons as well as enabling businesses to reduce cost in non-peak seasons, and exceptional situations such as many businesses are experiencing now. New users can be added in minutes, or cost can be reduced quickly by releasing unused licences and capacity.
A lot of businesses can continue to operate in BAU mode during the lockdowns we are experiencing now due to the fact that they use online applications to run their businesses and they are not constrained by the physical presence of staff and applications at a particular location.
What is Next?
We will see a lot of demand for online business applications in the near future once the current crisis of the pandemic is dealt with. A lot of businesses that have either ignored or not prioritised transformations of their legacy systems and applications will be looking at adopting to the new ways of working and running businesses using online business applications.