In recent years, online retail platforms such as Zalora have truly streamlined their processes of browsing, checkout and payment, wooing shoppers with their speed, efficiency and superior user experience. Consumers in Singapore now hold speedy deliveries and seamless experiences as the standard when they shop online.
Now, imagine if, instead of making a few clicks and getting your stuff in a day or two, the process of purchasing your goods online looked like this:
  1. Print an order form
  2. Fill out the order form
  3. Scan a soft-copy of the form
  4. Email the form for approval
  5. Call to follow up on the pending approval when your email is not answered
  6. Hope someone doesn’t screw up as they manually key the information from the approved order form into a spreadsheet for someone to collate into a weekly order batch
  7. Wait for the weekly order to be placed.
If this sounds familiar, you may probably have encountered such unproductive processes in your workplace that many employees in Singapore face every day. Given that Singapore is currently well on its way to becoming a Smart Nation – a nation empowered by the latest in technology – it seems senseless that our workplaces still rely so heavily on outdated tools like email, spreadsheets and phone calls to manage our day-to-day.

By choosing these outmoded practices, workplaces here run the risk of compromising employee motivation levels. And along with it dies the ability to track, update or have any meaningful visibility into internal processes.

But how can you begin to improve or even replace these process and systems that have already been entrenched in your business?

First, you also have to make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons which help meet your overall business goals, day-to-day operations and core challenges. Once you’ve established these, it’s time to choose a technology.

It’s no surprise that cloud-based solutions are fast catching on in Singapore’s most forward-looking organisations. By harnessing the power of the cloud, even small businesses can affordably automate processes that have become unwieldy and frankly cumbersome, allowing your employees to work smart.

Here are six ways to help your employees work smarter, not harder: 
  1. Do a reality check: Take the time to recognize the strain on resources caused by inefficient work processes 
  2. Introduce automation: Use automation to help identify where time is being wasted and where processes can be improved. Deliver automated software that is flexible and easy to implement while providing the most self-service control and transparency that you can
  3. Unify the workplace: Bring multiple departments together to simplify processes and work flow. Find department leaders that believe in the potential for improving processes, and enlist them as evangelists who can help cultivate a culture that finds purpose in doing things smarter and better
  4. Give them the right tools: Reduce administrative work, improve productivity and increase time spent on strategic thinking by modernizing the technologies being used in their daily work tasks. Suggest modern collaboration systems to replace emails, phone calls and spreadsheets
  5. Inspire change: Give your employees a vision of the change and the benefits of new technology adoption. Most employees will quickly become advocates when new systems are put in place that save them time and frustration. At that point, they can turn their attention to innovation and those strategic initiatives.  
  6. Foster relationships: Develop a mutually beneficial relationship with your technology service provider so they can provide you with continual support

Finally, practice what you preach!
Be an active user yourself and advocate for the new systems that you implement within your business and always be a champion for continual change and innovation.
And remember, a successful solution you implement in one area of your business is likely to spread organically, with other departments or business units wanting to jump on the bandwagon of change. Embrace it!

Jimmy Fitzgerald is the Vice President of Asia Pacific and Japan at ServiceNow. The team at ServiceNow helps customers to eliminate reliance on email, spreadsheets and other manual processes so their employees can work smarter, not harder.

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