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The Invisible Hand Driving Business Transformation Today

In his book ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” published in 1776, Adam Smith offered the concept of an “Invisible hand” which is a metaphor for a collection of forces that operate successfully through a system of mutual interdependence.

I thought about it over the past year, observing how some companies were able to meet the new demands from their customers and grow their businesses. They include DoorDash, Target, Home Depot, Panera Bread, Beyond Meat, Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, DBS Bank, Zoom, Square, DocuSign, and many more. It became a matter of business survival while also responding to the needs of a population with limited mobility and healthcare concerns. In many cases what drove their successful growth was the ability to interact with their customers online, through cloud-based mobile apps or curbside pickup.  From a technology perspective, the main drivers were apps and cloud which I had also acknowledged in my post – My Top 10 Predictions for 2021.

People often scoff at ‘digital transformation’ as the latest fad. However, what we saw from these companies was the true impact of “going digital”. Every business is now defined by the digital services built to better serve their customers, markets and workforce. Accelerated digitalization is the key outcome of this pandemic-led disruption and I consider it to be the “invisible hand” of our times driving business transformation today.

According to McKinsey, the value of cloud transcends IT and is estimated at more than $1 trillion to companies worldwide.

Innovative cloud services, AI/ML capabilities, data streaming, and quantum computing will define a generation of applications. And the demands of these new and modernized applications will drive infrastructure strategies from the data center to the cloud to the edge.

Now is the time for the strong enterprises to become stronger by making the changes now, that were planned for the future. Companies that want to digitally transform are looking to apps and cloud. This is happening across the board in healthcare and life sciences, retail, financial services, manufacturing and public sector. Increasingly, they are looking to VMware to counsel them on this journey.

For example:

  • Fiserv helped thousands of financial institutions process $4.1 billion in PPP loans for tens of thousands of small businesses, working with VMware to deliver 430 releases into production in 28 days as program requirements were refined.
  • OSRAM Continental a manufacturer of automotive lighting systems was able to quickly set up an entirely new, ready-to-run multi-cloud IT infrastructure based on VMware Cloud on AWS.
  • SK hynix, a leading global semiconductor manufacturer, used cloud migration and automation solutions from VMware to speed up the time to develop or launch applications.

In fact, 70% of those we surveyed in Spring 2020[1] were prioritizing app modernization as the key strategy for their entire app portfolio. But nearly half believed that they had made no progress in the prior 12 months because of operational complexity across different clouds and types of apps.

In conversations with customers we continue to see a massive demand for app modernization: it’s the most effective way to shed the legacy of monolithic applications while freeing IT and developers from rigid environments. App modernization makes every service, every team and every business more agile.

To lead modernization of the enterprise, CIOs must be able to:

  • Deliver modern apps at the speed the business demands 
  • Operate across any cloud, with the flexibility to run apps in the datacenter, at the edge or in any cloud, with minimal complexity
  • Drive rapid business transformation while delivering enterprise level resiliency, security and operations


The invisible hand of apps and cloud has become exponentially more prominent for enterprises than ever before, making a decade’s worth of progress in just a few months. To learn more, I invite you to join us on March 31st or April 1st to learn how you can make the invisible hand of apps and cloud work for you.








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[1] “Successful Digital Transformation: Apps At The Ready” is a VMware report based on a survey conducted by Vanson Bourne in March and April 2020.