The future is here, and if you missed the End-User Computing (EUC) Digital Workspace Keynote on Monday, you’re already living in a bygone age—one in which service desk tickets reign supreme and humans live in fear of crashing laptops, poor productivity and ominous outages.

Dramatic? Okay, maybe a little, but after hosting yesterday’s Keynote with EUC GM Shankar Iyer, please forgive my excitement about the latest EUC innovations rolled out in support of an excellent employee experience.

For those who missed it or simply couldn’t keep pace with so many important announcements, this year’s Digital Workspace Keynote began by stating an obvious but still critical point. EUC is having its moment as companies compete for the right talent to confront a world reshaped by emerging technologies. And increasingly, they’re realizing this talent craves an excellent employee experience. In fact, 73 percent of organizations believe that digital employee experience is a major influencer in attracting and retaining top talent—the reason why EUC has grown into a strategic business priority and a belief we’ve experienced first-hand at VMware. In the past year, Workspace ONE customers have grown 90 percent while year-over-year growth in Horizon Cloud subscriptions has hit 98 percent.

Digital Workspace Keynote

Workspace ONE Driven by Artificial Intelligence

Although companies recognize that employee experience matters, many have yet to build a “hire to retire” employee experience that acts as a legitimate competitive differentiator. When we talk to customers around the world, we hear about “silos of complexity” in their digital workspaces that prevent them from jumping in fully on day one, using the apps and devices they want and completing work remotely as they would from the office. That’s where the Workspace ONE platform comes in, facilitating productivity through seamless access to resources when, where and how an employee wants.

That’s always been our mission, but yesterday we announced updates to both our platform and vision to better achieve that goal.

First, we formally introduced our new virtual assistant powered by IBM Watson for the Workspace ONE digital workspace platform. The virtual assistant is designed to introduce context into self-service requests, providing employees a single interface through which to interact with information systems in HR, IT and their individual line of business apps. Just like a virtual assistant at home, the virtual assistant for the digital workspace uses machine learning to map an employee’s actions, providing context for intent and turning intent into action. This is an evolution of the Intelligent Hub and Hub Services that already meet so many employee needs. As such, it supports employees from onboarding through retirement—all while decreasing the service desk ticket burden for both IT and HR.

There’s been much excitement from our customer advisors about our vision for an AI-augmented Intelligent Hub, and rightfully so. But employee experience is about more than just cutting-edge technologies. At its core, it’s about “making things work” in the digital workspace, and that requires measuring employee experience in order to constantly improve it.

That’s why we showed Keynote attendees a demo of the newly-announced Digital Employee Experience Management built-in to the Workspace ONE platform. With the Digital Employee Experience Management capability, Workspace ONE can leverage analytics to predict and prevent the issues that most impact employees and contribute to poor digital employee experiences—problems like slow logins, failing equipment and conflicting applications. The service includes a black box-like “flight recorder” to help IT troubleshoot issues after-the-fact and a dashboard centered around a “user experience score” to help IT more efficiently and effectively direct resources.

Modern Management and the Importance of Partners

If the first part of our EUC vision is the introduction of new AI-driven Workspace ONE capabilities, then the second is about disseminating those capabilities across device and OS platforms. Workspace ONE is the leader in modern management, a distinction made possible by our broad ecosystem of partnerships and relationships. With Apple, Microsoft, Google and Okta, we leverage the latest device innovations and support updates on Day One.

To date, our platform has delivered more than 30,000 unique apps to employees and supports a new Windows 10 device activation in Workspace ONE cloud services every 16 seconds.

We were also lucky enough to be joined by our partner: Sam Burd, president of the Client Solutions Group at Dell. He explained how Dell Unified Workspace integrates Workspace ONE across all Dell devices and services before diving into new updates regarding Workspace ONE UEM and the deployment of apps and policies to Dell Chromebooks.

Horizon Hybrid and Multi-Cloud

Though much of the discussion centered on device platforms, we also examined our industry-leading multi-cloud and hybrid VDI services with Horizon. Demand for both continues to increase as customers grow weary of grappling with a growing number of modern and legacy applications on a daily basis. VMware is helping simplify and streamline how these apps are managed, secured and accessed. VDI continues to enable organizations to achieve Zero Trust security. Aligned with our ongoing goal of securing the Digital Workspace, we announced several new innovations yesterday. Perhaps most significant is the new VMware Horizon Services for Multi-Cloud that enables IT admins to automate brokering and management across multi-site environments. These updates improve performance, lower costs and support a wide range of use cases.

Zero Trust Strategy and Alert Fatigue

These announcements should be welcome news for employees looking for a truly excellent employee experience and a call to arms for employers who take employee experience seriously and wish to retain their top talent. However, the flexibility that comes with having access to all your devices anytime, anywhere also yields increased security risks that necessitate a Zero Trust Security approach. In the context of mobility and the cloud, this is the only strategy that makes sense and one that contributed to our recent announcement of machine learning-driven User and Device risk scores from Workspace ONE Intelligence. IT admins now have the ability to gather a risk score using behavioral risk analytics at a user level to see a much more accurate picture of risk. In doing so, we avoid unnecessary security alerts and wasteful remediation efforts that contribute to “alert fatigue.”

Going even further, we’ve also automated the remediation of many security threats without human intervention and without the need for drastic actions that would otherwise kill employee productivity. These announcements uniquely position Workspace ONE as the only digital workspace platform that gathers context across an employee’s apps and devices.

Like the rest of our updates and announcements, this innovative security approach is all in pursuit of one goal: a better employee experience from hire to retire and everywhere in between. I look forward to chatting further about our EUC vision the rest of this week at VMworld.