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4 Ways Businesses Can Leverage Cloud Services in Their Post-Lockdown Recovery

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4 Ways Businesses Can Leverage Cloud Services in Their Post-Lockdown Recovery

The following is a contributed article from a content partner of Benzinga

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital for many daily tasks. According to Adobe, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) in its Digital Economy Index, online grocery shopping saw a 110% increase in daily online sales in April while buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) also saw a 208% year-on-year increase in the same month.

To cope, companies are accelerating their digital transformation efforts. Their need to equip themselves with the necessary tools to work remotely boosted the sales of cloud services and communication and collaboration tools. For example, video conferencing platform Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) made $382 million in revenue in just Q1 of 2020.

As governments ease lockdowns in order to restart their economies, businesses now have to work toward recovery and adjust to the "new normal." Since much uncertainty still looms concerning how to deal with the virus, employers are advised to abide by stringent guidelines to avoid triggering succeeding waves of outbreaks. 

As such, companies must find ways to perform both routine and high-impact activities through digital means. Many now look toward moving more of their workloads to the cloud to further improve their remote working capabilities.

Here are four ways the cloud can help bring key business processes online:

1 - Mergers and Acquisitions

The pandemic has forced a number of businesses including high-profile brands like Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HTZ), J. Crew, and Gold's Gym to declare bankruptcy, restructure, or close down. While this is unfortunate for their owners and stakeholders, it also brings opportunities for those enjoying relatively strong positions to acquire these distressed businesses, which could potentially prompt a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) rush in the coming months.

However, M&As still have to follow regulations and many of the tasks involved require plenty of back-and-forth between parties. To help companies accomplish these remotely, cloud-based contract management platforms like ContractZen can help companies outline deals, perform due diligence, and work through governance and compliance processes. 

Parties can negotiate through video conferences, collaborate on documents using virtual data rooms, and formalize agreements using secure digital signatures. Recently, ContractZen unveiled its integration with DocFusion which further streamlines the contract workflow from automatic contract drafting and digital signing to storage and archiving.

2 - Productivity

As the pandemic continues globally, many companies are compelled to allow employees to work from home indefinitely. The challenge for most companies is to achieve their former levels of productivity even when working remotely. 

Typical office work can be handled through cloud productivity suites. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) 365 and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) G Suite both merge productivity, cloud storage, and communication applications under an integrated service. Companies can also invest in other cloud-based services to handle their other workloads. Among the popular cloud-based apps include QuickBooks and Xero for finance and bookkeeping, Salesforce for customer relations management, and Basecamp and Trello for project management and task tracking.

By using cloud services to handle their workloads, employees are able to work and access their work files over the internet while companies maintain control and ownership of the data. These services are also accessible through browsers and mobile apps, making it possible for employees to work using their own devices. Since most of these services are also subscription-based, companies can also save on licensing costs.

3 - Teleconferencing

Aside from productivity, companies must also provide ways for all their stakeholders to communicate and collaborate effectively. Teleconferencing tools are crucial in facilitating contact whether it's among staff or between companies and their customers.

Teleconferencing apps and platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) Webex have come a long way from simply enabling multi-user and simultaneous video calls. 

Most apps now have features such as screen and document sharing, virtual whiteboards, and question-and-answer widgets. These allow businesses not only to conduct meetings but also hold virtual presentations and demos, webinars, and events. Sales and marketing teams can be creative in how they can use these tools to shift their customer engagement activities online.

4 - E-Commerce

As more and more consumers become comfortable in buying things online, companies should take the opportunity to establish and strengthen their digital channels. Depending on their niche, they may consider participating and selling through established online marketplaces like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) or even putting up their own online stores using shopping cart platforms like Shopify, Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) and BigCommerce.

Companies should also explore contactless and cashless payment options. Even small business owners that accepted payments on-premises reported a 27 percent increase in contactless payment options using smartphones and cards during the pandemic. As more transactions are made online, it would be vital for companies to support a wide range of digital payment options including credit/debit cards and digital wallets.

On the Path to Recovery

Few businesses remain unscathed by the economic crunch that the pandemic has caused. Many businesses are on survival mode these days. Due to the uncertainty of when the virus threat will subside, companies must do what they can to ensure continuity.

Fortunately, technology has proven that it can enable business continuity even if staff members have limited mobility. Companies must look into adopting cloud services and leverage their capabilities. These platforms allow businesses to work remotely and show that it’s possible that even major deals such as M&As can be done online. In addition, the subscription-based distribution model of most cloud services makes them accessible even to small- or medium-sized businesses.

Being able to achieve productivity even with a remote workforce and having the means to handle transactions with customers are essential to a business's sustainability. Considering the current landscape, simply being operational in a time like this can already be a major competitive advantage.

 

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