FM and HR teams set to embrace the digital transformation boosted by COVID

22 Mar 2021

The digitalisation of business systems has been given a major boost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though this digital transformation process was already underway, it was the need to move across to cloud-based services and systems at speed, driven by an urgency to keep businesses operational as the first lockdowns were imposed, that has accelerated cloud’s adoption. Many industries and sectors have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. Morphean has released a new whitepaper based on the findings of a survey of 1000 senior decision makers, working across multiple industries within the UK, Germany and Sweden. The survey’s purpose was to understand purchasing intent in relation to cloud-enabled solutions, while also revealing respondents’ views on the ability of cloud technology to help them in the current climate and beyond. Crucially, responses would also provide a focus on specific industry requirements and to gain insight into their current and future operations in relation to cloud.

The benefits of cloud within FM and HR

Responses revealed that 78% of senior decision makers across industry anticipate their organisations’ use of hosted technologies to increase in the future as a result of COVID-19. 50% highlighted the advantages of having flexibility in working locations and 82% stated that they would expect to see more flexible working. From a facilities management and human resources perspective this raises questions around the management of premises that may only be partially occupied for extended periods and a workforce that is flexible in terms of both working hours and working space. HR managers ranked easier collaboration (46%) and more flexibility in working locations (46%) as the main benefits of moving business functions to the cloud, while facilities and operations decision makers highlighted more flexibility in working locations (56%) and cost effectiveness (48%). Businesses can use this more flexible approach to their advantage, with facilities teams making efficiencies around the use of energy, lighting, heating and even the leasing or divesting of work space according to data from modern cloud-enabled access control systems and other interconnected devices or sensors.

The role of VSaaS and ACaaS

With physical security solutions such as video surveillance cameras also increasingly moving to the cloud, spurred on by the rapid uptake of cloud systems as a result of the pandemic, those working in HR and FM are becoming more aware of such systems and their benefits. 39% of facilities managers and 34% of HR managers revealed that they currently use a cloud-based system such as video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) and access control as a service (ACaaS) for security purposes. When asked whether the pandemic had increased the necessity/urgency for businesses to adopt VSaaS and ACaaS, a significant 70% of respondents agreed. Security will need to be enhanced to facilitate greater flexibility in worker patterns. An access control solution which is linked to HR records, for example, can check the swipe of an access card against staff records, with surveillance cameras providing secondary authentication, visually clarifying an individual’s identity. In addition, such systems offer many benefits outside of security. One example is office track and trace, where access control and video data can be used to determine an employee’s movements in the event of a positive COVID-19 result, and alert others who may have made physical contact with that individual.

A more convenient business model

Cloud will enable more businesses to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing challenges, with solutions offered ‘as-a-service’ meaning a move toward an operational expenditure model, rather than one based on capital expenditure. 28% of respondents highlighted cost benefits as a key factor in the move towards VSaaS/ACaaS and 19% indicated that they would expect to see all-inclusive updates/upgrades and support, a key benefit of VSaaS and ACaaS. Cloud is here to stay. Its ability to connect colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving world, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success.

Read the whitepaper for further insights and to understand the benefits to FM and HR teams: