The top five business-wide benefits of connected working

Brought to you by The Access Group

Connected working is one of the latest trends to hit the HR and Finance landscape, and with its capacity to respond to a changing workforce in which agility and remote working are required, it’s easy to see why.

The benefits of connected working for the two main teams it impacts, HR and finance, are well known. But what about the benefits to the wider business? From the power it offers management to uncover and use a single version of the truth to the productivity savings and cost control that all teams can enjoy by accessing a harmonised dashboard of data, there are plenty of reasons to consider this route.

Cross-departmental collaboration

For those tasked with working out how to work more efficiently and how to increase productivity, collaboration is often the number one answer. Connected working also allows for leaders in each department to use their unique skills to contribute to the wider health of the business. The recent Accounting Web survey found that 45% of financial directors thought that their role was either no more strategic than before or even less so, suggesting that for many businesses, there’s an untapped resource there.

This chance to re-focus on what matters affects everyone, and that’s what happened when a major charity used our payroll software. “It’s so much smoother and frees up our assistants’ time to get back to doing what they were originally hired for and develop their skills,” said Hannah Archer from Tearfund.

Single version of the truth

To one team member, a project may be going amazingly well because of high user retention rates or a viral marketing campaign. But to another team member, the same project could be failing because of a serious cash flow issue. By connecting pieces of information from all sides (especially connecting an assessment of human capital with one of financial capital), you can gain an accurate assessment of what’s going on. Or as Tracey Jeffery from our client Amoria Bond puts it: “With Access we can add that team into our reporting straight away and a matter of minutes we can be reporting on new information, comparing performance against existing benchmarks.”

Transparency and communication

Communication is necessary both for practical process and for developing the more abstract senses of teamwork, happiness and purpose. But when individuals within teams work in an isolated way, there’s a high potential for mistakes to happen and for peer review to fail to take place. Making communication as simple as possible through instant messaging or speedy email systems, then, is vital.

Polycom has found that 91% of workers around the world feel like they have gotten to know their colleagues better as a direct consequence of using technological collaboration tools – which means that, for those businesses, teamwork now flows naturally. Connected communication also means that decisions can be taken more quickly. “The business can react to…information straightaway and continue to grow,” said Tracy Jeffery.

Forward-thinking

For leaders, connected working also offers strategic long-term benefits. If you use an agent-based model to project your business’ or industry’s performance in the future, for example, these will be more accurate if you incorporate data from all departments rather than just one or two – giving you a better return on your investment in the model to begin with. On the subject of decision-making, Peter Barlow from our client RSK Systems said: “Board directors and project team leaders are now making decisions based on their knowledge of the business and the information Access provides.”

Scalability and investment

Seasoned investors can spot a disorganised and siloed company a mile off, and you’re likely to lose out if you come across this way. If you ever come to list your company on a stock exchange, meanwhile, you’ll need to make public more information and data than ever before – so an integrated dashboard will become essential. In Peter Barlow’s words: “As an expanding company we are more confident about future growth knowing we can extract the right information and be in overall control.”

While connected working has its obvious benefits from the point of view of the HR team, there’s also much more it can bring to a workplace. Whether it’s the streamlined data it can deliver to a C-suite member preparing an important investment pitch or the way it can help a senior manager to make informed operational decisions on how to increase profitability, connected working has plenty of benefits.