It has been more than a year since all of us have started working remotely. While everyone was contemplating on coming back to the office, which was highly unlikely, because we got adjusted to this new norm, futuristic leaders, collaborated with each other to create a sustainable model where they could have Anywhere Operations.
Whatever happened in 2020, we all know that it tested the resilience of businesses, digital readiness, and virtual collaboration – the key ingredients to a strong anywhere operations model.
To put it in simple terms, Anywhere Operations is an IT model in an organization, that delivers customer support, virtual employee access, employee support, and even product deployment from practically anywhere in the world.
To make this model successful, the operational strategy should be people-centric and independent of any location. In simple terms, if I am an employee, I should be able to drive around the world and at the same time be connected with my work.
The concept of anywhere operations was already put into motion a few years and it had seen adoption by many organizations globally. However, the pandemic just accelerated the adoption across the board. Practically speaking, anywhere operations are much more than just a remote work or work-from-home.
It brings on to the table a considerable amount of value covering areas such as collaboration and productivity. Needless to say, that all this is done ensuring securing remote access, improved automation, and harnessing the power of cloud infrastructure.
What this means is that anywhere operations can:
- Support virtual working, where employees can access proprietary business data and systems through secure remote access.
- Support deployment (in a virtual model of course) of products or services across a distributed infrastructure
- Provide flexible support to stakeholders, business associates, customers, and employees, by empowering them.
Benefits of Anywhere Operations
While we have been talking about anywhere operations and what it does, it is also pertinent to have a look at some of the key benefits that this new operating model has to offer.
But before that, here is a quick statistic to open up your eyes, in case you are speculating about anywhere operations. According to a recent report published by Gartner(1), by the end of 2023, close to 40% of companies will have implemented anywhere operations to provide an optimized experience among their employees and consumers.
Now let us look at the benefits of anywhere operations:
Coherent Customer Support
Having anywhere operations set up, ensures that the customer support is absolutely seamless and does not have any sort of physical boundaries. Organizations can actually set up 24×7 customer support by having people deployed at different time zones or people with different work-hour schedules. There is no worry about whether an employee is on time or late to come to the office. This eventually results in seamless customer support thereby improving loyalty.
Having anywhere operations brings a lot of flexibility to employees. It allows employees to manage their schedule and empower them to be decision-makers and not just order-takers. This gives a huge benefit to organizations because now they can expand their talent pool beyond geographical boundaries. Having some of the best technologies, companies have the best and highly skilled staff operating globally.
Organizations can easily deploy their products and services to their customers, thanks to distributed infrastructure as an outcome of anywhere operations. Automation is critical to ensure that the risk in any production deployment is significantly reduced.
Improved productivity & collaboration
The moment a company provides 24×7 access to data, this operational model instantly boosts collaboration and improves the productivity of teams. Anywhere operations ensure that employees can operate from anywhere around the world, without the risk of losing out on efficiency and output.
Secure remote access
By deploying stringent security measures, anywhere operations ensure safe and secure remote access. One of the major advantages of this model is the ability to troubleshoot anything from across the globe, thereby solving problems quickly.
This has become pertinent because the faster resolution is not only required for organization efficiency computation, but it is also part of some of the SLAs. Having secure remote access will ensure that companies are able to adhere to these SLAs and sustain/retain the partnership.
Anywhere operations can bring significant cost-efficiency, both in the short and long term. Companies don’t need to pay any upfront costs. Moreover, they must spend very little on maintaining the physical infrastructure. With the requirement of on-premises hardware reducing considerably, the initial investment part reduces considerably. Infrastructure can be managed from the cloud, which is a cheaper, viable, and flexible option for companies.
While these benefits have helped organizations embrace anywhere operations as an operating model, one must not let go of the challenges that companies may face while implementing this model. There are organizations, even today, who are facing the daunting task of setting up their anywhere operations. Here are two main factors behind that.
There are still many organizations that are using legacy systems, and these have a very limited scope. The so-called legacy tools are used to solve a particular problem and they cannot be scaled vertically or horizontally. It is designed to operate in defined day-to-day operations.
Even if companies try to patch multiple legacy systems, they cannot deliver the experience that anywhere operations can. Imagine having thousands of employees, customers, partners, and suppliers scattered across geographical locations. The scale of operations is too large and legacy systems cannot deliver a seamless experience. This is because none of the legacy tools have the capability to deliver an integrated solution, which handles employees as well as business operations, together.
The mere thought of adopting anywhere options brings jitters to companies, because of the level of complexity involved in restructuring their processes; not to mention the expenditure involved and the disruption that it can cause.
However, the fact of the matter is that despite all these difficulties, anywhere operations is the future because of the demand for continuous operations both from customers as well as employees.
A large chunk of organizations will have to deploy technology-driven solutions that can handle a decentralized network, at the same time ensuring safe access and securing confidential information.
Differences Between an Anywhere Operations Model and Remote Work
There is a strong misconception among the community that anywhere operations are the same as remote work. Well! The following table will clarity those doubts.
|Anywhere Operations||Remote Work|
|It is a larger universe comprising of processes and procedures||It is a sub-set of anywhere operations and one small piece of the whole puzzle|
|It is deployment of tools & processes to make the life of employees seamless, and help in working in a collaborative manner||It is just a mechanism of performing one’s tasks in a remote location, something that you were doing in office previously|
|Anywhere operations also take the customer into the scheme of things||Remote work is just focused on your staff|
|Here customers can be a part of your organization and collaborate with you and perform their part||There is absolutely no integration between customer and workforce. These are two parallel lines that never meet.|
What Would Adopting Anywhere Operations Mean for a Company?
Anywhere operations are all about effective and productive business operations that can be completed from anywhere; thus the name anywhere operations.
While one aspect of anywhere operations is about remote work, which has been adopted by companies worldwide, due to the pandemic; however, it is far beyond just remote work because it encompasses value-added experiences by bringing workforce and customers on the same platform.
Anywhere operations are the future of organizations. It does require knowledge and expertise in IT, but implementing it can be really beneficial for organizations as they can maintain their operations, even during unprecedented times. There are specialists who can help companies set up their anywhere operations, in lieu of shortage of resources.