Digital is the New Default - Gartner's Report on Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021: Anywhere Operations

You live and you learn, and the past year was chock full of life lessons. As 2021 takes shape, it’s critical to put this newfound knowledge to work. We’ve delivered tips and tricks for the return to the office, and in a recent report, Gartner highlighted how a digital-first, access from anywhere approach is the baseline for modern organizations.

“A digital-first, location-independent mindset is a prerequisite to anywhere operations. Providing a seamless and scalable digital experience requires changes in the technology infrastructure, management practices, security and governance policies, and employee and customer engagement models,” the analyst group explained.

Digital must be the default experience. As you exit analog operations, this digital-first mindset will assist in ensuring the remote workforce has the required support. Gartner places a premium on the technology driving collaboration and productivity, secure access, quantifying the digital experience, cloud and edge infrastructure as well as automating endpoints to achieve this goal.

Think Gestalt theory, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and put the puzzle together. Innovation in areas like edge AI, event-driven architecture and distributed cloud, for example, create an aggregate impact and allow leadership to shape revenue and growth strategy around the transformation taking place. Put the building blocks in place to position for long-term prosperity.

Developing a coherent digital strategy delivers a seamless digital experience. Empower location independent workflows. For the virtual workforce ensure access and security protocols pair with end-user experience expectations. For physical locations, Gartner suggests the use of contactless interfaces, AR/VR, and passwordless authentication to improve user experience.

Descending from 30,000 feet, first, we find the cloud, distributed cloud infrastructure, the expansion of IoT (Internet of Things), AI at the edge and edge processing are several arenas auguring a work from anywhere reality.

As future-forward networking and applications come to fruition, efforts are fruitless without the appropriate security and access processes, protocols, and solutions in place. Zero trust is the keystone of modern security, regardless of how SASE you see your network. Identity is the new perimeter, period full stop. So, employing MFA (multifactor authentication), for instance, goes a long way in delivering secure remote access.

For IT, automation is a record on repeat, as automating functionality like threat monitoring or endpoint discovery assists a great deal. AIOps is no longer just a buzzword; it is quickly becoming a favored option from the IT toolbox. Those properly managing endpoints, leveraging zero-touch provisioning and self-service options, for instance, are headed in the right direction to support remote operations.

Now that our feet are firmly planted on the ground, we see connected experiences and smart workspaces in the office. We experience cloud-powered solutions underpinning bottom-line results – from the contact center to the C-suite – regardless of what we call our workspace.

How do we minimize risk in digital investment, and see expected results from transformation initiatives? A few simple ways include workplace analytics, remote support and digital experience monitoring. The quantification of the digital experience is key.

Digital transformation is not a one-size-fits-all situation but, per Gartner, the checklist remains the same for every organization: Digital-first, remote-first; digitally enhanced physical spaces; and distributed business capabilities.

Where are you in your digital transformation exploration?

Read the full report: Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021: Anywhere Operations

About the Author
Kendra Luciano
Managing Editor, Content Marketing

Kendra is the Managing Editor of the Extreme Networks blog and resource center. She was previously a Vertical Solutions Marketing Co-Op while pursuing her degree in Communications with a minor in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire.

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