By Jack P Evans, Marketing and Channel Manager, CIMcloud
With COVID-19, one thing is for certain - there’s a lot of uncertainty. When many businesses moved to remote workforces, no one could say if it would be for a few weeks or a few months.
Should we invest in creating home office environments and settle in for the long haul, or just make do with what we have until we get back in the office? Should we try to find new ways to serve our customers and get information to our teams, or just wait it out until we can get back to business as usual...whenever that is?
At CIMcloud, these are the same questions our customers are asking themselves. It’s through these strategic discussions that we’ve identified 4 phases of impact for B2B companies trying to adapt. Phase 1 - The move to “WFH”
In recent weeks, we have come to realize that the majority of Sage 100 users fall into one of three buckets when it comes their preparedness for remote work:
1. They were already all set up with remote workers accessing Sage through cloud hosting, VPN, or other similar infrastructure.
2. They were partially prepared because they had some people already accessing Sage remotely, and just needed to extend that infrastructure to others.
3. They were completely unprepared and had to scramble to get people connected from home.
Regardless of which bucket you may fall in, everyone has had to alter their operations in some way to accommodate remote business needs.Phase 2 - Getting customers and employees the answers they need during WFH
While even those in the third category have by now (hopefully) managed to identify solutions to get access for all their users, other challenges have been exposed beyond simply having employees accessing Sage from home.
Some of the most common difficulties we’ve been hearing about are:
- More users are accessing Sage remotely, putting a strain on remote infrastructure resources such as hosted servers and VPNs.
- Staffing shortages are making it more difficult for employees to get the information they need in a timely manner. Whether it’s due to staff being furloughed or just slower response times, more people need to log in to Sage and find information on available inventory, payment status, and more.
Phase 3 - Pivoting to keep the cash flowing
- Staffing shortages and supply chain issues are also causing some companies to have delays in their fulfillment processes. This leads to an increase in customer inquiries for an already overburdened customer service staff.
- With physical locations closed and sales reps stuck at home, many businesses who sell physical products are looking to take orders online.
Businesses who are selling in stores or through field reps are looking to recoup lost revenue from closed stores and grounded sales reps by shifting to more online sales. Many of these businesses have never had an eCommerce presence, but for some it could be their only path toward getting sales flowing again. The trick is identifying eCommerce solutions that are built for complex B2B transactions
Phase 4 - Deciding what will go back to normal...and what will be the “new normal”
- Check runs are less frequent because many businesses aren’t in the office to print and sign checks. Some businesses are “platooning” in the office - someone goes in and prints checks one day, then someone else comes in another day to sign them. This can impact cash flow. Setting up an A/R portal where your customers can pay online from the convenience of their home office will help with receivables and cash flow.
When the day comes that people can go back to their offices, stores, etc., will “normal for now” become the “new normal”?
- Will people who’ve gotten accustomed to the convenience of working from home choose to continue to do so rather than get back into the office every day? If so, what’s the long term plan to accommodate their need to access Sage data?
- Will businesses who’ve had to find ways to pay bills and/or accept payments online go back to the old model of “the check is in the mail”, or will they decide to remain digital?
- Will business consumers who have adapted to interacting and transacting online prefer to continue enjoying the convenience of placing orders, viewing order status, paying invoices, etc. online?
- Will businesses who’ve been hesitant to handle customer interactions online because they don’t believe their customers will adopt it find that their customers not only adopt, but in many cases prefer it?
Businesses need to decide how to meet their needs today, while planning for a future that will involve remote options for customers and employees. Identifying solutions that can accomplish both will be paramount to ensure businesses are getting the long-term ROI from technology investments. CIMcloud can help
CIMcloud wants to help Sage 100 users put tools in place that will help them stay connected to employees and customers today, with the option to scale self-service offerings when things stabilize.
Through the end of May, CIMcloud is offering two packages to help businesses get the remote Sage 100 access they need with:
- Heavily discounted upfront investment for software and services
For more information and details on the types of functionality available to customers and employees, click here: CIMcloud Cares
- No fee for the first month, and reduced fees for months 2-6