2020 has been a paradoxical year. We’ve had both astoundingly negative disruptions and opportunities for unprecedented positive transformation. Although we are accustomed to constant change in our industry, we could not have predicted the impact of COVID-19.
Many businesses were forced to quickly pivot and adapt due to unexpected circumstances. Organizations will continue to respond to this crisis by finding ways to operate and drive growth.
In March, tens of millions of U.S. workers – mostly in white-collar industries such as tech, finance, and media – were thrust into suddenly working from home. At first, it felt like some kind of chaotic experiment. For many, this test run is looking more like a long-run transition.
Working From Home Becomes Location Independence
COVID-19 caused the physical separation of managers, employees, customers and suppliers, forging a dramatic shift in entire business ecosystems – physically, culturally and logistically. This Location Independence requires a technology shift to support this new version of business.
Embracing the Cloud
The adoption of cloud services was gaining momentum before 2020. Now, moving to and optimizing cloud computing is an urgent business priority. The cloud enables organizations to improve application performance, reduce latency issues and maintain privacy regulations across different physical locations.
Before the pandemic, only a small minority of companies—the top 10 percent—had mastered systems resilience. It’s now imperative that the companies that went into the crisis with significant gaps embrace the promise of the cloud now. If they do, they can mitigate business risk, emerge stronger and be prepared to thrive amidst uncertainty in the future.
Moving from Cloud to Anywhere
Many companies used short-term fixes, such as implementing VPNs and SaaS apps, to handle the unexpected move to working from home. However, long-term, they’ll need an overall infrastructure to sustain a complete shift of efficiently managing a large remote workforce.
Recently, Gartner presented the concept of Anywhere Operations. They define Anywhere Operations as an IT operating model designed to support customers everywhere, enable employees everywhere and manage the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructure. The model for anywhere operations is “digital first, remote first.”
This concept captures the vision of delivering seamless, scalable, digital, blended virtual and physical customer and employee experiences. Companies will need changes in technology infrastructure, management practices, security and governance policies and employee and customer engagement models to achieve this vision.
The path to full Location Independence may be complex, but businesses and society will continue to adjust. These new solutions will facilitate business sustainability well into the future.