5 Essential Technologies to get your Distributed Enterprise Future Ready

The global pandemic of 2020 permanently changed our working dynamics.  What is easily missed is how much the workplace has changed too.  Whether and how much work will return to the workplace (versus work from home) is a matter for a different blog.  Here, we want to talk about how the workplace has changed forever: especially the distributed enterprise. 

To be fair, the distributed enterprise is not a new concept at all.  From an IT/networking perspective, distributed enterprises always moved away from a centralized IT infrastructure to connected islands to maximize convenience, networking and efficiency, faster access, and localized control. 

In a borderless economy, where businesses fiercely compete for resources and market share, it is fair to expect re-architecting systems and networks to maximize customer benefits and increase employee flexibility.

How will you make the Distributed Enterprise future-ready? 

Here are our top 5 tech picks: 

Computing is moving to an Edge near you!

Powered by a significant increase in computing power and ubiquitous bandwidth, suddenly, it is possible to move the computing power to where it needs to be, rather than where it always was.  Be it in a user’s hands, PoS (Point of Sale) at a retail counter, manufacturing assembly line, or CSP (cellular service provider), the edge has moved closest to the point where it needs to be.  This comes with advantages such as faster response times, localized approvals saving a round trip to the central server, increased privacy, security, and reduced cloud costs.

Daihen, a Japanese manufacturer of industrial electronics equipment, realized that their Osaka plant could not handle data from dozens of sensors.  The data was being processed remotely by a cloud server, and response time was slow.  The solution came in the form of an Intelligent Edge solution from FogHorn that makes complex machine learning modules run on highly constrained devices.  The results were almost immediate: improved speed, higher accuracy, drop-in defect count, all of which encouraged them to increase investment in the Edge in the following year.

The Cloud is going hybrid

While the transition from an on-premises server to the cloud has been a work in progress, the cloud itself has metamorphosed entirely.  The distributed enterprise can now have a mix of premise, public and private cloud, as required based on business needs. 

The enterprise must be careful not to get locked into a hyper-scaler vendor’s vision of the future but keep options open to realize their own.  Since many of these paths are evolving, the enterprise needs to engage deeply and tread carefully while committing to future road maps. 

The CSP (cellular service provider) is also evolving and is now a major cloud provider with advanced capabilities in Service Edge and SD-WAN (software-defined Wide Area Network).  CSPs have blurred the line between enterprise and carrier cloud with their offerings.  With upcoming 5G rollouts, massive IoT networks, mmWave, and network slicing requirements, their cloud and edge capabilities will be of an entirely different scale.  Enterprises will need to understand how to best harness offerings from each vendor without compromising their requirements.

Enterprise software also has disaggregated from a monolithic form split into microservices (via containers) where code, debugger, utilities, and algorithms may be contained within the container and control routed appropriately to the parent code block as required.  Containers make decoupling of applications convenient by abstracting them from the runtime environment.  This way, they are deployed agnostic to the target environment.  These smaller services can be highly efficient and lend themselves to high scalability, but not without loading DevOps teams with the additional pressure of housekeeping. 

When Ducati, a global automotive giant, undertook a data center modernization project, they expected gains, but that was not how it turned out.  The hybrid cloud dramatically changed their perspective of what is possible.  The data awareness, speed, and minimal footprint across departments brought a new level of productivity that was not planned.

Hyper Automation

Currently, an emerging trend but likely will become mainstream as many of the required elements are already falling in place.  Hyper Automation refers to the coming together of systems, processes, software, and networking to automate most known processes with zero-touch human intervention resulting in ‘robotic process automation’ sequences. 

This advanced state of automation will require stable AI, ML modules, and integrating IT and OT (operation technologies in the IIoT world), where machines will make decisions and keep routine systems running.  Real-time monitoring and analytics are logged for a supervisor to check and intervene if necessary. 

Understanding documents through OCR (optical character recognition), emails using NLP (natural language processing), and enhancing automation using AI / ML data flows are increasingly common.  Banking and healthcare have seen successful deployments of OCR and NLP.

Data will soon be everywhere, but how about Security?

Security will become such an essential parameter for business success that the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) might well, if not already, be the most important executive in the economy.  With billions of IoT devices from airplane tires to connected cars and heating systems at offices and production lines going online, the opportunities for a security breach just went up a notch.  And every incident will only dilute human trust delaying further progress and slowing down growth. 

With geopolitical scenarios going worse, cyber warfare being a reality, there is no telling when some of these will start impacting enterprise system security.  This is an ongoing new reality – almost as real as the pandemic. 

Quantum computing, the emerging innovation in high-speed computing, will be a threat too.  It is believed that current-day data breaches are being tapped and data being stored for analysis and targeting after quantum computing power becomes available (because current computing could take years to decipher this data).  Some cyber experts believe the advanced planning and methods of cybercriminals are years ahead of the capabilities of corporate IT security teams.  And that can be a cause for worry.

AIOps

When Gartner coined the term AIOps, it meant Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (or Algorithmic IT operations).  They referred to a “method of combining big data and machine learning to automate IT operations and processes, including event correlation, anomaly detection, and causality determination.”

AIOps is a set of methods or practices that makes rapid data processing possible for vast volumes of data, which then feed into an ML engine to predict issues.  AIOps will be very much a requirement for the DevOps teams.  They try catching up with data and problems across hybrid environments to support agile processes in ever-changing platforms and networked silos. 

US infrastructure provider Ensono provides infrastructure support to mission-critical processes of many top enterprises.  As its volumes started growing, it became important for Ensono to invest in AIops to ensure its ability to monitor client hardware and software would not be compromised.  Investing in TrueSight AIops helped Ensono decrease its trouble ticket numbers from over 10,000 to a few hundred per month.  This is the power of AI ops.

In conclusion, remember no one has a crystal ball into the future.  But going by current technology trends in the distributed enterprise, some things are clear: growth, chaos, and churn are predicted.  It helps to have a trusted consulting team of experts on your side to learn from, seek advice from, and leverage from experience.

At Trigent, our domain experts have delivered solutions, charted digitization route maps, and provided distributed enterprise workflow design and architecture for future growth to global leaders in every sector. 

We are happy to share our learnings.  Do give us a call.  Drop us a line.  We are listening.

Understanding the Concept of Anywhere Operations and Its Scope

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on many things including the way we work. We have all transitioned into the digital world for virtually everything. The massive shift has posed infrastructure challenges to organizations urging them to re-examine traditional methods of working and enable a ‘work from anywhere’ culture. It has also become important for enterprises to use their resources wisely both during and after the pandemic. They are now pulling up their socks to prepare for the evolving needs of hybrid workspaces in the New Normal.

What they truly need is Anywhere Operations – an IT operating model Gartner believes 40% of organizations would have applied already by the end of 2023 to offer a blended virtual and physical experience to employees as well as customers. It is garnering a lot of attention since the time it has come into being.

So what is Anywhere Operations after all and how does it impact enterprises? Let’s find out.

The concept

Remote working has become a reality that will continue even in the future. In a recent survey by Gartner, 47% of the respondents said they intended to allow employees to work remotely full time. Explains Elisabeth Joyce, Vice President of advisory in the Gartner HR practice, “The question now facing many organizations is not how to manage a remote workforce, but how to manage a more complex, hybrid workforce. While remote work isn’t new, the degree of remote work moving forward will change how people work together to get their job done.”

As boundaries between real and virtual environments continue to blur, enterprises need to ensure ubiquitous access to corporate resources. There is greater dependability on digital tools and the resilience of enterprises will largely depend on how well they deploy them. Enterprises will have to adopt a more serious approach towards the transformation of their IT infrastructure – be it devices & apps or remote IT support and cybersecurity.

It is imperative that businesses deploy management solutions that allow teams to work in tandem and continue to enjoy the same accessibility irrespective of the location they log on from. Anytime Operations, clearly, is inevitable and the need to match pace with the fluid working style of today will push it towards mass adoption. Remote work however is more about the workforce whereas Anywhere Operations includes customers into the mix so that customers are also able to connect and interact for all their needs any time from wherever they are.

When implemented correctly, Anywhere Operations will serve as the perfect model for building resilience and flexibility.

Anywhere Operations supports:

  • Remote work
  • Remote deployment of products/services
  • Business partners, stakeholders, and customers

It encompasses productive business operations and its core objective is to ensure that these operations can be managed effectively from literally ‘anywhere’.

Anywhere Operations is not just an enabler of work from home, online customer support, or remote deployment of products/services but an organizational paradigm that offers value across multiple areas. These include:

Collaboration and Productivity

The need to attain the pre-pandemic level of collaboration and productivity has led to the emergence of virtual offices replete with task management tools, meeting solutions, club office suites, digital whiteboards, and video conferencing platforms. This enables employees to see each other, interact, conduct meetings, assign tasks, share ideas in real time, review space occupancy and usage, etc.

Remote assistance is crucial to enable sharing of digital replicas of devices and maintain real-time analytics. While it was easier to visit the client’s office in the past, the need to implement XR tools is being felt today to facilitate better collaboration around tangible objects and help clients in this period of social distancing.

Secure Remote Access

Development teams and clients are provided secure remote access via cloud solutions powered by firewalls to ensure safe access to the virtual environment. In order to fortify the security measures, ways and means are being explored to replace traditional VPN for users operating in multiple time zones.

Identity & Access Management (IAM) solutions that enable multi-factor authentication, passwordless authentication, Zero Trust models, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are now being applied to ensure secure access to data and applications, anywhere, any time. Cybersecurity mesh is also being considered by modern enterprises. While ensuring timely responses and a more modular security approach, it makes identity the security perimeter.

Cloud and edge infrastructure

Organizations had already started discovering the power of automation and how certain tasks that were being performed manually needed immediate automation. In order to ensure 24/7 secure access, ubiquitous cloud migration was important.

Distributed cloud now has become the future of cloud computing and provides edge cloud for a nimble environment. Edge computing provides an opportunity for enterprises to collect a huge amount of data from various locations separated by distance and time zones to create efficiencies and bring down operating costs. It ensures that cloud computing resources are closer to the location where data and business activity is.

Project management and product development tools along with CRM tools used by sales and marketing departments are therefore being moved to the cloud. Enterprises are shifting infrastructure to cloud to ensure governance and accessibility for business continuity. Apart from flexibility and security, cloud solutions offer cost benefits with respect to smart repository usage.

Enterprises are looking at integrating IoT and 5G technologies to catalyze connectivity beyond imagination. The ability of IoT to allow back and forth flow of data makes it critical for dynamic business environments of today and will continue to drive edge-computing systems. Cloud and edge infrastructure will help avoid latency and gain real-time insights. Cloud and edge architectures will minimize time lags in data processing to help industries perform computing tasks closer to where data is gathered quickly.

AI edge processing is now being leveraged extensively for applications that have sub-millisecond (ms) latency requirements and helps circumvent bandwidth, privacy, and cost concerns. Enterprises are now critically evaluating their API platforms that serve as the essential building block on the road to successful digital transformations.
Google’s recently rolled out Apigee X is a case in point.

Says James Fairweather, chief innovation officer at Pitney Bowes, “During these uncertain times, organizations worldwide are doubling-down on their API strategies to operate anywhere, automate processes, and deliver new digital experiences quickly and securely,”
Automation to support remote operations

Automation will be at the helm of operations in a bid to minimize human intervention. Enterprises are now keen on automating tasks that can help make better business decisions.

Enterprises are increasingly using AIOps platforms that connect ITSM and ITOM to deliver high-value insights that can predict outages, prioritize events, and get to the root of event patterns to fix them. The modern AIOps platforms help a great deal for discovery, endpoint automation, and self-enablement. Zero-touch is also being deployed for automatic provisioning and configuration of devices without manual involvement.

Quantification of the digital experience

Dubbed as ‘total experience’, digital experiences are a culmination of customer experience, employee experience, and user experience that can be tracked by mapping the EX and CX journeys. Quantification concerns the entire interaction from the time the first contact was made up to the present day. As interactions get more virtual, distributed, and mobile, total experience will give enterprises the edge to reach new frontiers of growth and make technological leaps.

Enterprises need to offer better technology to support the hybrid workforce while supporting the buying behaviors of customers. Just offering a great customer experience is not enough, and effort must be made to monitor and respond to experiences in real time to strengthen the relationship with employees as well as customers.

Achieve Anywhere Operations with Trigent

With decades of experience in turning insights into strategies and a sophisticated suite of products to drive your business, we can help your organization usher in a much-needed technology transformation for achieving Anywhere Operations seamlessly. We can be your trusted partner in delivering Enterprise IT solutions.

Talk to our experts for a business consultation.

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