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Is Anywhere Operations the right path for your organization?

Transitioning to remote access has become a necessary reality. And while there are benefits to the Anywhere Operations model, organizations must be wary of its challenges, too.

Beyond its technological advantages, Anywhere Operations offers seamless remote access to an array of business and IT processes. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the demand for unrestrained remote capabilities, particularly as business interactions became more virtual, distributed and mobile. And Anywhere Ops promises a number of benefits, from self-service IT and customer automation to zero-touch provisioning and remote configurations.

However, C-level and IT leaders considering adoptions face other challenges, such as deployment complexity, fear of business disruptions and new costs. Let's consider the infrastructure elements required for the Anywhere Operations model and explore key benefits and challenges that organizations face as they consider adoptions.

Anywhere Operations benefit #1: Automation

As an emerging IT service model, Anywhere Ops ensures virtual workforce access, enables 24/7 customer support and facilitates product development and deployments across distributed infrastructures.

Both user-focused and location-independent, Anywhere Operations improves business resiliency, as personnel aren't required on-site to resolve issues. Forrester projects that, going forward, 70% of U.S. and European companies will choose a hybrid workforce strategy. This has significant implications for chief information security officers and IT leaders.

Cloud services are critical for the remote workforce, and they're a fundamental part of Anywhere Operations initiatives. For example, the cloud enables a decentralized organizational structure that supports different end users, including employees, supply chain partners, vendors and customers. In addition to increased data accessibility, virtual resources paired with Anywhere Ops guarantee more resilient, flexible businesses.

Single-point and legacy tools are ineffective for distributed infrastructures. In contrast, IT teams can use a single Anywhere Operations dashboard to gain an accurate and holistic view of their end-to-end environments, manage resources, provision workloads and remediate as needed.

Increased automation through Anywhere Ops reduces operational burden because IT teams can be off-site and resolve problems, while both employees and customers can access self-service support. For example, Anywhere Ops uses process automation and data correlation from multiple siloed applications to streamline self-service and provide secure access for employees, partners and customers.

Anywhere Operations benefit #2: Security

Maintaining a standard of good governance is critical to safeguard the larger organization, along with its data and applications. The Anywhere Operations model includes key protections, such as identity and access management for multifactor authentication, zero-trust models and cloud-based secure access service edge. These protocols and role-based cloud access are key to data protection, particularly as network incursions and online threats increase.

On the other hand, the broad reach of Anywhere Ops also expands an organization's attack surface. That's why security features like zero-trust network access make a key difference. Going beyond traditional perimeter-based security, zero-trust puts protection at the endpoint, limiting access based on context -- user credentials, device, location and security posture, for example.

Extend support with remote IT

Typically, administrators reserve certain assets for business continuity and disaster recovery. IT teams then dedicate time and effort to spin up these resources periodically and maintain viability. Anywhere Operations eliminates that extra effort by ensuring that IT ops teams aren't dependent on only one server, single network or firewall. Instead, through automated configurations, all resources are in continuous operation, accessible to any legitimate user from anywhere.

Through zero-touch provisioning, administrators can eliminate manual procedures and automate device distributions and configurations. That's important as edge infrastructures expand and deployments become more complex. To emphasize this trend, research from Accenture found that 63% of high-growth companies have adopted a "productivity anywhere" workforce model. Zero-touch approaches enable IT teams to accelerate device exchanges with remote workers and simplify workload provisioning to support geographically dispersed customers and employees.

Positioned to meet the demand for continuous operations from consumers and employees, Anywhere Ops provides a foundation for more enhanced IT services and eases the restructure of business processes. In addition to automation, remote IT support and cybersecurity, Anywhere Operations expands hiring possibilities and enables organizations to recruit from anywhere -- geographic location no longer limits an IT employee's operational capabilities.

Challenges of adoption

Startups, digital natives and well-heeled incumbents are best positioned for fluid Anywhere Operations model deployments. But the transition can be more difficult for businesses still undergoing modernization programs. Legacy tools are designed to tackle specific problems and lack the integration and automation capabilities required by Anywhere Operations. Moreover, on-premises single-point tools are inefficient for workforce access and advanced IT operations.

Organizations face high levels of complexity and certain risks when restructuring their processes to enable Anywhere Operations practices. Certain work-from-home (WFH) and remote environments pose challenges to IT-based checks and balances, as well as the periodic audits on which organizations rely.

In addition to diverse supply chain partners, customers and distributors, the fragmented nature of business end-user environments spread across large geographical areas can create scalability and back-end integration problems. For example, customers and employees increasingly expect businesses to deliver high-quality digital experiences that tap into new innovations, from AI-enabled interactions and always-accessible support to IoT-enhanced smart products and tools.

Finally, concerns around corporate process disruption can cause C-suite leaders to hesitate on adoption. Along with fears that Anywhere Operations will add complexity to current IT environments, IT leaders are concerned over deployment costs. And the learning curve that Anywhere Ops can pose for administrators as they try to support greater business continuity is not always a gentle slope.

The Anywhere Operations model offers value across multiple areas, from WFH and remote environments to customer support, business process and product delivery. As a new approach to remote operations, it ensures continuous resource access to match the pace of modern changing work environments.

Anywhere Operations provides tools that not only enable businesses to return to pre-pandemic levels of collaboration and productivity, but also helps organizations create more automated, resilient and distributed data center services. The question for IT leaders is whether employing remote management of their end-to-end environments outweighs the costs and challenges of adoption.

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