Now, more than ever, it's critical to share ideas and insights about the challenges companies face. The coronavirus crisis is forcing businesses to rethink how they deal with and adapt to unexpected circumstances. This employee interview focuses on the challenges and opportunities for companies throughout COVID-19.
Hear from Nigel Gates, Could ERP Solutions Consultant for JCurve Solutions (ASX: JCS), in this short video interview focusing on how companies are reacting and adapting to the coronavirus crisis.
Watch the video or read the transcript below.
1. How has the coronavirus crisis impacted the way you work?
I guess now a lot of the things that we're doing is over Zoom. It's really impacted that face to face opportunity that you have with businesses and so forth. So other than that, it's just another business challenge. I don't think people can be prepared for this, but if we were prepared for every single business challenge that was in a market or around, then you probably wouldn't need technology. Because we just don't know what's going to happen next.
So, it really does give you more reason to talk to people and shows more ways that we can assist people. I was reading a post today talking about the top four apps that we use and NetSuite, Spotify, were some of the ones that people were talking about. So it's really, really interesting. People working from home, people doing these types of meetings online. So really only difference has been, from what I do, is that instead of actually going to see people, I'm doing it more from an office.
"Everybody is talking about trying to get into the cloud, but people are just tired of having blue cables run around their house all the time. Or in their business - server rooms and blue cables and upgrades and all these things that just drop your business for no reason. There is no need to shut your business down or to be concerned about a product upgrade. That should just happen seamlessly."
2. Which technologies are you seeing businesses get up to speed with right now?
The drive and push to the cloud is... I wouldn't want to be working in any other field right now. Everybody is talking about trying to get into the cloud, but people are just tired of having blue cables run around their house all the time. Or in their business - server rooms and blue cables and upgrades and all these things that just drop your business for no reason. There is no need to shut your business down or to be concerned about a product upgrade. That should just happen seamlessly.
So, I think customers or people are really pushing that. How do we get to a true cloud solution? How do we just focus on our business and not have to worry about our IP infrastructure and not have to worry about the tools that we're using? So I think probably the biggest change that I'm seeing is just people going and really starting to grasp the concept of cloud.
3. What advice would you give businesses on working productively at this time?
Unforseen circumstances are exactly that, they're unforseen. Technology is great in making sure that we can stay connected, that we can stay connected with our business. You can work anywhere, any time, on any device. For instance, if you're using the product that we sell, NetSuite. My wife, for instance, got to set up a whole bunch of things. She's going to work through VPNs and it's all clunky and it's slow. And it just makes her whole work experience bad. But as you and I can see, it doesn't matter where we are, we can still work just as effectively. So I think technology is the key. But really the best thing we can do is just be there for one another during any unforeseen circumstance because watching people fight over toilet paper rolls is just ridiculous.
4. As an ERP Solutions Consultant, what does your role entail?
I'll describe what I do. We're really about trying to find the benefit people would get out of updating their technology. So everyone has a reason. We all have a product, and we all have things going on. But the truth is if there's not a return on investment, if there's not a major benefit to someone moving into NetSuite or any new technology, I guess it's probably fruitless doing it or you're just selling a product to sell it. I think basically what I'm trying to do is just find the reason why people will benefit from using our products, and then really enhancing their business. I really want to assist people to do what they do, but hopefully just do it better, more efficiently, and easier.
5. What advice would you give to businesses facing the challenges of COVID-19?
I think the biggest impact is that social distancing people are talking about. So having control over where people are working and understanding where people are working. The ability to still see customers, the ability to have a cohesive work environment when people aren't all in the same area. So that's probably been... When I look at the coronavirus and the effect it's had, that's probably the major business impact that I've seen. Ports are shutting down because there's too many people working in one spot, or businesses are closing down because I don't want all these people in a restaurant. So, what do you do?
Well, there are things out there, if you're a restaurant you can jump on Uber Eats and you can move your food that way. Once again, cloud technology. If you're a service provider or things like that, you can still use things like Zoom to get on. When you have a company, you just want people to be able to work. NetSuite's a great tool because they can work anywhere, any time, any device. It doesn't matter. You don't even have to use company computers and so forth. You can use your own.
"All this is just highlighting some issues that we have. Some of those issues can't be changed. Technology can't make it rain... Let's have a chat about how we can improve those issues to minimise the risk of having an adverse impact on the business."
6. What opportunities can companies take to improve the way they work right now?
I think this crisis will highlight areas of weakness within companies. So those areas and whatever those areas that you find that are in your company, I think they're things that you need to focus on and say, so when this happens, all of a sudden I couldn't contact anybody, or I couldn't get in the office or we couldn't work easily or effectively anymore. So what are you going to do about that if this happens again? Because it's likely it will happen again at some point. And it may not be from coronavirus, it may be once again from fires.
I've got companies that I've been talking to that couldn't work because of fires, and then couldn't work because of coronavirus. And it's just been really hard for them. So I think the issue is what is it that this has highlighted for you? And what are the steps to take so you can minimize that risk in the future? Once again, technology plays a great role in that. The ability to be able to work from wherever, whenever is great. There's nothing we can do, if the factory can't get suppliers, then you can't get your supplies? But do you have more than one supplier for your product? Is it worthwhile maybe looking at, do I need one or two suppliers? Can your technology handle the fact that you've got two suppliers in there, in your system, for that?
So, a lot of this really is just highlighting... this coronavirus, the fires, the drought that we've just had or going through. All this is just highlighting some issues that we have. Some of those issues can't be changed. Technology can't make it rain - yet. We're getting there hopefully. So, I just look at, what are your business problems? Let's have a chat about how do we improve those so that you can at least minimise the risk of having an adverse impact on the business.
Now is the time to identify opportunities, get strategic, and prepare for positive bounce-back when the worst of COVID-19 is over. Download your free business guide with what to consider.