Takeaways from Zensar Analyst and Advisor Meet, August 18, 2020
COVID-19 has brought focus back on collaboration, automation, and security, however this time it centers around employee engagement and customer experience. Owing to the pandemic and resulting shift to an increased demand for digital technology, there is a sudden change in worker’s habits and preferences, specifically the way they operate and interact as they embrace a work-from-home culture. Progressive enterprises are adopting a “cloud-first” strategy and looking for newer digital ways of working and servicing their customers.
Zensar, being cognizant of this trend, has already identified and laid out a digital enterprise priority to enable enterprises to be successful in the Enterprise 4.0 era, that focuses on differentiating with experience; making cloud invisible; and establishing a proactive security posture.
Workplace of the future to be more employee-centric
The concept of “work from anywhere” or the “anywhere office” is picking up steam as it leads to a boost in employee productivity, improved employee retention, and lower operating costs. Flexible workplaces and part-time work are becoming critical factors for Gen Xers and Millennials, who now form most of the working population globally. The future workforce will be the result of complex, changing, and competing forces. Companies need to keep employees and end-users at the center of everything and not just focus on devices, hardware, or service delivery. Many companies and service providers, including Zensar (see below), are embracing this new normal.
As enterprises coped with the pandemic and recession, they realized the need to deploy new digital tools and technologies that equip the workforce to collaborate and enable new ways of working. The figure below illustrates the main areas where enterprises are investing, as they no longer see the digital workplace as merely an IT infrastructure component but rather the core of its IT environment.
Amidst this change, strong partnerships with service providers are one way enterprises can identify their future workplace vision and goals.
Zensar Focuses on Digital Foundation Services
At a recent Zensar virtual analyst and advisor meeting, Zensar executives highlighted several of these aspects and their approach to the workplace of the future designed around what it calls its Digital Foundation Services (DFS).
Zensar’s Harjott Atrii, Executive Vice President and Global Head, Digital Foundation Services, emphasized, “To succeed in Enterprise 4.0, organizations must be able to support millions of digital touchpoints while simultaneously developing, deploying, and delivering superior experiences. The IT reality in most enterprises makes it challenging to meet business aspirations. Zensar’s DFS bridges this gap with a set of five foundations to help organizations differentiate with experience, make cloud invisible, and establish a proactive security posture.” The five foundations are:
- Digital Experience Management: provides visibility and insights across the user, infrastructure, and applications through its WiredExperience solution enabled by a built-in AI engine.
- Digital Workplace Services: enable productivity and collaboration within the enterprise by leveraging technologies including AI, autonomics, cloud, mobility, IoT, analytics, collaboration, and security.
- Digital Infrastructure: includes services such as cloud transformation, hybrid cloud management, and data center modernization, leveraging wired autonomous cloud framework.
- Digital Operations: provides data-driven insights powered by AI/ML and NLP using its marquee AIOps platform, The Vinci™.
- Digital Security: includes services like cloud security, SOC, and attack simulation, and prevention.
This point was further emphasized by Zensar’s Revathipathi (RP) Namballa, VP and Global Head, Solution Design Center. He pointed out three priorities that Zensar as an organization is focused upon, using DFS architecture: customer experience, business agility, and hyper-automation. He highlighted the need to bridge the divide between IT and business teams and work toward developing a digital infrastructure that would entail modernizing applications, consolidating data centers, transforming them to cloud, and establishing a hybrid or multi-cloud environment.
Zensar’s Animesh Pillai, Global Practice Head, HCI, and DC Transformation, talked about how Zensar is on the path of realizing the vision to develop any app, deliver on any cloud, and deploy on any device. As well as how it can be enabled through a coherent and cohesive working model, which requires a cultural shift between IT and business teams.
Zensar’s DFS strategy aligns well with the three fundamental pillars of digitization that any enterprise should focus on: workforce collaboration, process automation, and data security.
Zensar delivers a “user-first” vision through its digital workplace portfolio, which includes services such as virtual desktop and applications, enterprise mobility, unified communication and collaboration, and digital workplace service desk. Zensar’s Satish Sinha, AVP and Global Head, Digital Workplace Practice, emphasized that a digital workplace should not be aligned only with IT, but also with the business and should strive to maintain the right balance between humans and machines. He also highlighted how delivery KPIs or business dynamics had moved away from volume-based to user experience by device or department, whether it’s about on-premises or cloud.
Satish shared how Zensar delivered persona-led workplace design to a leading bank, which involved persona mapping while providing solutions such as VDI, Office 365, ITSM, among others, for more than 12,000 users. This allows enterprise customers to view technology deployment through the lens of user productivity and employee engagement. As a result, this eventually integrates intelligence across various software and tools to prepare a futuristic workplace that fosters seamless collaboration, personalization and brings required agility into systems.
Zensar utilizes an automation-based strategy and continues to enable advanced workplace automation for user experience through its intelligent managed services AIOps platform, The Vinci™. Revathipathi (RP) Namballa explained how Zensar, using The Vinci™ platform, takes an outcome-based approach focused upon the following KPIs: customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and operational efficiency. He mentioned the need to enable digital operations using AI/ML and by delivering AIOps. At the same time, he highlighted the importance of digital security that would be more of a just-in-time kind of security with automated threat-hunting capabilities.
Zensar’s Abhimanyu Bhatnagar, Chief Architect, Digital Foundation Services, emphasized Zensar believes that consumers in the Enterprise 4.0 era expect software to work flawlessly. Digital experience management is powered by the WiredExperience platform and provides complete visibility into user behavior and business insights across the full stack. WiredExperience seamlessly integrates with The VinciTM AI-Ops platform to enable automated root cause analysis and helps move from a reactive to a proactive posture.
This is well-timed as the pandemic has led to an increased enterprise focus on experience centricity and automation solutions to optimize operations, evaluate investments, and reimagine business models. In the post-COVID world, many companies want to leverage intelligent automation and predictive analytics tools to save manual efforts and costs and use chatbots and virtual agents for ticketing triage and other similar solutions.
While technologies such as mobility, virtualization, cloud/SaaS, and collaboration tools are transforming many enterprises, they have also expanded the risk parameter as hackers continue to exploit vulnerabilities due to inadequate configuration and controls.
Zensar’s Sameer Munshi, Global Head Cyber Security Practice, shared how these cyberattacks drastically increased during the pandemic, with a 667% rise in spear-phishing email attacks. According to Sameer, 83% of breaches are because of credential theft, as 73% of passwords are repeated or duplicated.
To develop a resilient enterprise, Zensar has laid out a proactive approach toward measures such as threat hunting, threat deception, threat prevention, and threat intelligence by leveraging the AI/ML capabilities of its The VinciTM platform. The platform drives predictive analytics, accelerates incidence response for L1 requests before moving to L2 and L3 for advanced investigation, and manages new security use cases. Zensar complements this with an adaptive approach by bringing in SOAR capabilities for applying measures such as identity and access management (IAM) and data security controls.
The need to automate incident response processes and integrate disparate security tools using SOAR/SIEM becomes even more critical as many thousands of devices are connected to networks with all the home workers during the pandemic. Over the years, enterprises have realized that security is a moving target, and the right service provider is critical for them to lock things down in today’s dynamic environment.
With the future of work changing, the digital relevance for the workplace and workforce is more important than ever. Enterprises need to establish a baseline to understand their starting point in the journey towards a digital transformation. Digital workplace maturity assessment frameworks can help identify gaps and future workplace goals and metrics based on dimensions like collaboration, mobility, and end-user support.
As part of the transformation strategy, there has to be the right focus on deploying cloud-based tools and technologies to enable remote working, followed by returning to workplaces. This would require reconfiguring their workplaces to maintain social distancing and the health and safety of its employees. It also demands the adoption of persona-based support services and focuses on user experience rather than just traditional SLAs.
In this scenario, the role of service providers becomes essential, as most buyers prefer incumbents to handle the disruptions caused by COVID-19. In the intermediate-term, IT leaders would calibrate their outsourced workplace services to the variation in demand. Long-term will see enterprises accelerating workplace transformation.
As enterprises strive to transition to new operating models, Zensar has set out on the right path by defining those Digital Foundation Services. This framework successfully ties-up all the essential tenets of a digital enterprise and drives focus upon enhancing customer experience, enabling business agility, and fostering innovation.
Analysis by Gaurav Dewan, Research Leader at Avasant.