It was March 17, 2020, when the second case of Covid pandemic surfaced in one of the premier offices of Hi-Tech city in Hyderabad. Till that point, IT companies in the area were only reading about the pandemic across various countries. This event triggered them all to the reality of the Covid coming into their neighbourhood. This was just one snapshot of the same story that happened across various parts of the world.
Once businesses were forced to work from home and run operations remotely, they noticed their systems’ deficiencies. A lot of thought went to how an ideal ‘anywhere operations’ set up should be.
To get to the productivity levels of the pre-Covid days, the first step was to introduce videoconferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting and such. The augmented office was the next level of innovation -this needed integration of 3D replica of the office with video calls and task management tools. Employees were able to see the presence of co-workers, arrange meetings, manage projects and have watercooler talks from the comfort of their home. Managers could still plan space usage and have full control of security and energy consumption.
However, this required a significant upgrade in the IT infrastructure of the companies; remote IT support, reliable security solutions and the apps that blended the real and virtual experiences. This was the right way to take on the new reality of work.
Slowly but surely, the benefits of such upgrades started to accrue in terms of productivity improvement and better problem-solving. Irrespective of the pandemic, the need for a new model of hybrid working, a so-called ‘Anywhere Operations’ in which employees use their office as a business hub and are capable of working from home as efficiently and as productively as from the office took birth in 2020.
A few salient attributes that make the “Anywhere Operations” extremely new age and an emerging trend of the future years are:
XR tools with clients
What would need a visit to a client site is now addressable by communicating with your clients through XR tools, which help you share digital replicas of devices, track analytics in realtime and provide the needed support on time and well.
Cloud and edge infrastructure
Project management and product development tools have all been moved to the cloud from the operations side. CRM tools for the sales and marketing departments were moved to the cloud as well.
Secure remote access
Remote access security to the company for the teams and the clients took the front seat in a lot of ways. Be it VPN channels or cybersecurity mesh around people. Innovations continue to happen in this area. Most of all these happened through cloud-based systems as well.
Automation to support digital Operations
A lot of manual processes were automated to make the system more full-proof and human-independent.
All in all, we can expect to see this hybrid model of working with co-workers and clients from a distance to become a part and parcel of our new of working life. The good side of this trend is it gives employees more freedom to get things done on their terms yet not compromise productivity.
(The author is Chairman and CEO of Hyderabad-based Brightcom Group)