“Re-entry” is something we are hearing a lot about lately and the next six months will be a time when many businesses re-appraise what they want their place of business to look like. Will it resemble a brightly colored kids’ play area with basketball hoops – will it be a shiny chrome and leather expanse with sweeping views over the city or will it look a bit like the same kitchen table you’ve been sat at for the last year? When you go back to work with the cloud, it can look like any of these – depending on your company culture of course!

Cloud has given us the flexibility to carry out core business functions wherever we are and that is just the start. There are many business advantages already being felt by those who went into lockdown with cloud ERP on board. So let’s take a look at them to see whether we want to take them forward with us into the “new normal”.

Five cloud ERP benefits we learned about in lockdown.


The speed at which multiple anti-covid vaccines were invented, trialled, approved and rolled out has been a revelation.

This is not the “usual” way things are done in Life Sciences. But rule books have been ripped up and new ways of working have been forced into being through necessity. I joined one live life sciences event in which vaccine creators were talking candidly about how they had fast tracked their work by “multi-streaming” activity with several stages taking place in parallel, with remarkable results.

With Cloud ERP, software can be used to run multiple projects – easily keeping track of resources, staff and finances from where ever you are.

Greater productivity

Far from seeing a reduction in productivity during lockdown, remote teams often worked smarter and more effectively from home. In some cases this boiled down to teams taking decisions themselves, only referring up when absolutely necessary. This resulted in fewer delays as well as being more effective with resources. Teams spread globally will continue to benefit from the way cloud systems bring people together collaboratively – in projects as diverse as Life Sciences and pop music. ERP solution users can keep track of tasks and budgets, while automation speeds up potential bottle necks like approvals.

Access to decision makers

Without access to decision makers very little gets signed off, which is why the vaccine inventors were given unprecedented access to the right people at the right time in order to move things forward at pace. This was obviously a lot easier to organise when everyone was confined to their homes! However, with teams now more accustomed to being spread apart geographically and leaders buying into the benefits of agility – that crucial access can be facilitated remotely rather than waiting for the dreaded “board meeting”, which can see project momentum halted in its tracks.

Embracing the Pivot!

We all pivoted during lockdown – or that’s what the lovers of business-speak would have us believe. Much as we love/hate business language – the concept was spot on. We flipped, switched-up, spun and turned on a dime to make things work because we had to. In some cases delivery modes changed to encompass digital ordering or curb side pick-up, while elsewhere whole businesses switched up their manufacturing lines to make new products like hand sanitiser or PPE.

Those who struggled least already had cloud technology in play.

We may or may not see other pandemics in the future, but pivoting in response to changing markets is here to stay. So if cloud ERP was on your to-do list before – you are doing something about it now – right?

Hybrid working

Much has been made of the shocking statistics around the way women have been disadvantaged by the pandemic. A McKinsey survey has found that one in 4 women has either left or is considering leaving the workforce as a result of Covid. There is talk of progress towards equality being put back 50 years. This can not be allowed to become entrenched. It seems like the quick win here is to embrace the hybrid working models we have developed during the pandemic.

A “return” to the office may in many cases be desirable, particularly for younger people who have lost out on so much – but for those who can be more productive from home, this has to remain a choice. Digital technology makes this possible, covid made it a reality. We have the proof that it works.

Other areas where lessons have been learned include e-commerce and supply chain and you can read more case studies here about how Covid galvanised SAP partners and their clients through specific digital projects. These are the companies who are now reaping the benefits of cloud ERP in the new normal.

In Cloud Solutions is part of the Sapphire Systems group – and is a trusted SAP Partner specialising in the mid-market ERP solution SAP Business ByDesign.