The normalization of the virtual workplace has ignited the collective need for new technologies to support remote collaboration and communication.
Last year, mobility and daily commutes were restricted and reshaped our idea of “remote life”. Businesses all over the world that adopted work-from-home policies have extended these policies through 2021 and beyond. They are beginning to consider a wider shift toward an “anywhere operations” model as a way to reduce overhead expenditures while supporting worker efficiency and welfare.
In this blog, we look at what the anywhere operations model is and how challenging is its implementation. Plus, we explore its benefits and the role of Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) in achieving truly location-independent operations.
What Is Anywhere Operations?
However, from a practical standpoint, anywhere operations is much more than just empowering work-from-home, remote user support, or virtual deployment of products/services. It offers exceptional new value across areas like collaboration and productivity while securing remote access, improving automation, usage of cloud and edge infrastructure, and much more.
In a nutshell, anywhere operations can:
- Support virtual working (not just work-from-home) via secure remote access to proprietary business data and systems
- Support virtual deployment of products/services across a distributed infrastructure
- Empower business associates, employees, and consumers with flexible support
Challenges to Implementing Anywhere Operations
Although anywhere operations seems to be an encouraging and even exhilarating opportunity, many companies across the globe are still struggling to adopt this model in everyday functions. Why? For two major reasons:
Use of legacy tools
Many businesses are still using legacy tools that have a very limited scope. These legacy tools are fragmentary solutions to particular problems and are restricted to just that in everyday operations.
Even patching together many legacy tools cannot match the level of integrated working experience that anywhere operations promises to provide.
Now, consider the complexity of handling hundreds or thousands of physically distributed employees, suppliers, consumers, and stakeholders and you start getting a sense of the scale of the problem.
Unfortunately, no legacy tool provides an integrated solution for virtually handling both employees and operations delivery
Complexity, expenditure, and disruption
The thought of implementing anywhere operations often frightens companies because of the level of complexity, expenditure, and disruption possibly involved in restructuring their processes and procedures.
Despite the difficulty that companies experience, the forceful demand for continuous operations — both from consumers and employees — is likely to propel anywhere operations forward.
Many companies will have to implement technological solutions that can handle a decentralized enterprise network along with enabling safe access to confidential corporate information and systems to a range of users, including workers, suppliers, consumers, and more. These solutions must be both location and device agnostic to eventually support highly flexible, robust business operations.
Benefits of the Anywhere Operations Model
According to a recent Gartner report, 40% of businesses will have implemented anywhere operations to provide optimized and unified virtual and physical consumer and worker experiences by the end of 2023.
Identifying anywhere operations as one of the top strategic technology trends for 2021, Gartner highlights the following key benefits of this model:
- Seamless customer support
Anywhere operations ensures seamless customer support all year long with no physical limitations. Companies can easily schedule 24/7 support by employing personnel in different time zones or with different work-hour preferences. You no longer have to worry about when employees will be in the workplace, or who is coming in late. As a result, smooth support improves customer experience and boosts brand loyalty.
- Employee empowerment
It empowers employees to work from anywhere, giving them the ability to pave their pathway, manage their schedule, and become decision-makers rather than order-takers. At the same time, it extends your talent pool as you no longer have to limit yourself to geographical boundaries. By using remote technologies, you can employ the most competitive and capable staff worldwide. You no longer have to worry about not being able to find a specific skill set in your vicinity.
- Automated deployment
It also manages and automates the deployment of business products and services across distributed infrastructures. Automation is indispensable to decrease the risk of production deployments. It is also important for providing quick feedback on the quality of your product by allowing teams to do rigorous testing as soon as possible after variations.
- Better collaboration and productivity
By providing 24/7 access to company data and systems, the anywhere operations model boosts collaboration and team productivity. As per Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, the ideal engagement boost happens when workers spend around 3 to 4 days working off-site. Anywhere operations ensures that your employees can work from anywhere in the world without compromising on efficiency and output.
- Secure remote access
It ensures safe and secure remote access by implementing strict security protocols. A major benefit of secure remote access is the ability to troubleshoot from across the globe, or just across a desk. For example, help desk specialists can field calls from customers and swiftly address issues thanks to remote solutions that give them access to a customer’s device. Solving problems quickly and competently is not only imperative for the company’s workflow and efficiency but may be necessary for service level agreements (SLAs). Having secure remote access will assist businesses and their vendors to fulfill those agreements and maintain partnerships.
Anywhere operations helps you save costs both in the long- and short-term. You have to pay less up-front costs and it also reduces costs associated with maintaining and upgrading on-premises architecture. With fewer hardware requirements up-front and on-premises, your initial investment is reduced, and you can manage your infrastructure directly from the cloud, anytime, anywhere.
Using ACaaS to Operate Anywhere, Anytime
When it comes to supporting secure anywhere operations, it’s important to talk about ACaaS and cloud technology. Remote access is a fundamental aspect of anywhere operations.
ACaaS combines the advantages of Software as a Service (SaaS) with onsite access control devices. It is a cloud-based solution that controls access remotely and backs up and stores data safely, offering perpetual records of who entered controlled areas or applications.
Even though all the access control hardware remains on-premises, software and servers are detached from an organization’s location and are stored at robust data centers. Entities providing security as a service charge their customers a regular fee based on per-door or per-user.
In comparison with conventional access control, ACaaS offers several benefits that support anywhere operations, including:
- As all the data is stored at remote servers, and you do not have to install one at your location, ACaaS is much cheaper than legacy access control.
- It is possible to manage access control from any part of the world as long as you have Internet access.
- ACaaS is an exceptional centralized tool for monitoring several offices. Data received from all the branches and all the departments are stored at a single location with round-the-clock remote access.
- System accessibility is supported 24/7 by engineering teams whereas barely any small business can claim 24-hour onsite support in cases of conventional access control.
- You get a scalable and flexible solution by employing cloud-based security as a service. You can include more doors and assign different access levels to cardholders without having to change hardware or obtain additional software.
- ACaaS uses secure encryptions so you do not have to worry about your data security.
Embrace Anywhere Operations Today with Identiv
With anywhere operations gradually becoming the norm, many businesses are struggling with how to maintain business continuity, boost teamwork, and maintain their culture in a distributed work environment. Some companies have even started to push back the idea of large-scale remote working by quoting problems such as lack of professional training and development, loss of spontaneity, and attrition of business values.
Unquestionably, companies are expected to re-engineer, restructure, and identify what has the potential to transform them for the new normal. This means changing business policies, letting go of some employees that cannot keep pace with the development, and embracing new technologies like ACaaS.
Identiv’s Freedom Cloud is a cost-effective, cloud-based ACaaS that offers a subscription-based solution. It allows users to control, manage, and maintain their physical access control systems (PACS) through its intuitive, always updated, browser-based web administration. It gives you and your team peace of mind, knowing that your system is always maintained and up-to-date with the latest features and software. Plus, the software is patched, upgraded, and maintained effortlessly and automatically, with no disruption to your everyday operations.
The pay-as-you-go model preserves your funds and adds to the perks of ACaaS without difficulties or risks. It is a perfect solution for the ambiguity of the pandemic and post-pandemic period.
To learn more about Identiv’s Freedom Cloud, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.888.809.8880.