Enterprise as we know it, changed drastically in 2020. Organizations were not only expected to adapt to the restrictions placed by the pandemic, but also provide newer and better ways of collaboration and amplify user experiences. This new normal, termed ‘Everywhere Enterprise’ by Gartner, describes how enterprises will operate in the post-COVID era. In this ecosystem, data is location-agnostic, work can happen from any place, and employees in one location can help a customer from a completely different geography.
This trend of people working remotely from anywhere is for here to stay. Majority of the employees will get to decide their preferred working environment and organizations should have measures, in terms of bandwidth, schedules and security, to enable those preferences. The persona of a typical employee of 2021 will be ‘on-the-go’, and it requires service provider organizations to make changes to the way they approach work. Processes that enable security, foster resilience, enable collaboration and other mechanisms will be at the forefront of Everywhere enterprise, and here are a few ways they can translate into business-related decisions.
Calling for multi-cloud solutions
One of the major needs of an everywhere enterprise is agility and speed – and in order to get the best out of the remote working situations, organizations will increasingly choose from services offered by different cloud-based service providers. These decisions will be based on costs, technical requirements, geographic availability, and other factors. Leveraging the strengths of the hypervisors will be a reality in many organizations, as speed and getting it right the first time will be a priority. The process distributes workloads selectively between various computing infrastructures in a way that reduces barriers to innovation and provides a stronger disaster mitigation mechanism, while increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
Bottom line is every transformation solution pitch from service providers will not just be about cloud, but multi cloud.
Ensuring operational continuity and resilience
Everywhere data and anywhere workforce call for robust applications from the get go. Application Architecture will be relooked to ensure its resilience and service availability. Resiliency becomes more important as organizations continue to rapidly implement software across multi-tier, multiple technology infrastructures.
The main charter for CIOs in 2021 will be to ensure IT is re-designed for service continuity to the work-from-anywhere workforce and this means service providers will have to place architecture resilience as one of their corner stones in their solutions.
User security at the centre
When an enterprise can be everywhere, it is vulnerable from everywhere too.
The Future of Secure Remote Work Report states that 85 percent of organizations believe cybersecurity is extremely important or more important than it was before COVID-19, and 62% of organizations feel secure access when supporting remote workers is their top cybersecurity challenge. This increased focus on security is going to persist, as more employees grow into the work-from-anywhere paradigm and customers demand better, newer features that gel seamlessly with their lifestyle.
This leads to the second cornerstone, that the service providers will have to emphasize on security in their solutions, especially the ones facing customers. Expectation of unlimited liability around cyber security causes will be seen in bid situations.
Amplifying user experience
User experience has always been the key element of the services model, and Everywhere Enterprise has only amplified its relevance. The traditional way of looking at customer ‘touch’ points will only hinder organizations in the new touch-averse world, and investments in cloud based collaboration tools will drive the new age of communication.
The agenda for CIOs will be to redefine the workplace in 2021 will lead to recalibration of the current support models. Solution and tools to proactively measure experience as a KPI will become table stakes in the support solutions.
Changing network response architectures
The focus on user experience requires a robust and efficient network system, with no room for latency issues. Application should be redesigned so that remote employees can access the information they need from the cloud, directly. Secure end-to-end connections for such access cause delays which can prove detrimental, and in order to get around the issue while maintaining a high level of security, solutions that sanitize requests and traffic on the device, or even on the cloud will gain popularity.
The ask for CIOs in this new normal would be to ensure how the new network can adapt to changes in the future in terms of security and scalability.
Recalibration of support contracts
The current support systems at service-led organizations are built around SLAs, shifts, and onsite and offshore resource spreads. Now with the obliteration of geographical boundaries from a work and collaboration standpoint and the reduction in the importance of the ODC concept, organizations would want to take another look at the operational model. Service providers must be ready for this, by engaging proactively to introduce relevant services and recalibrate costs.
With the everywhere flexibility that COVID has forced on organizations and employees, re-evaluating current long-term support contacts is a major agenda on the desks of CIOs.
2020 pushed IT services to a corner and like always, the industry found a way to prevail. Now as 2021 begins, operational transformation will be at the forefront across all service providers, as more will be expected from them in terms of security and service continuity. Last but not the least, pricing structure and the onsite-offshore model will change, as Everywhere Enterprise principles are adopted over the world.
By – Michael Raj, Senior Vice President – Coforge
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