Home, office, or even a vacation rental — anywhere can now be a workplace. But as the leader of an organization, how can you ensure that your employees are having a great experience with the company technology, thriving wherever they are working, and still staying safe from security threats? A range of end-user computing (EUC) technologies are providing the solutions to those worries, and a lot of companies are implementing EUC projects every day.
But with every new technology integrated into the organization, there are concerns and challenges that come up, from deploying it to scale to training employees on use cases. To find out more about these challenges, I sat down with Renu Upadhyay, VP of Product Marketing for End-User Computing, to find out the top trends in EUC and how VMware is positioned to keep up with them.
Renu has been a leader in the EUC product and technical marketing departments for nearly six years. She constantly interacts with customers, which has given her a good pulse on their needs and market trends. Here’s our Q&A.
Priyanka Mandhyan: What are the top three questions you have been asked by customers in the past six months? Based on those conversations, what do you think are the top concerns or needs for CIOs and IT departments?
Renu Upadhyay: The IT organizations are more aligned than ever with business, especially in terms of the business strategy. Technology was the enabler for the hybrid workforce, and a lot of organizations that were slow to digital transformation have now started to take a serious look at it. They found that it was the only way they could survive through the pandemic. Now that we are in year three, we continue to hear some common themes from customers across the world.
The first is that most organizations are challenged with hiring and retaining the best talent. The attrition rates are very high, so they are asking us to help them with delivering compelling employee experiences right from the time employees onboard and beyond. From an IT perspective, their help desk costs go down and companies have more satisfied and engaged employees.
The second concern companies are asking us to help with is the attrition happening in IT departments while complexity continues to rise. They are asking us to simplify and automate many of the legacy mundane processes so IT can focus on the higher-order tasks. There is a lot of demand for simplification of the toolset and automation since organizations need to do more with less.
The third big concern is ensuring compliance with security policies while delivering great experiences. They want to see how we think about addressing security challenges because that continues to be top of mind given the environment that we are living in and the rise in cyber threats.
In fact, when we talk to customers, we realize that as a hybrid workplace, we at VMware are in the same boat. We empathize with these concerns and challenges and the desire to do more with less while delivering great employee experiences.
Priyanka: Companies now also are focusing more on employee experience given the hybrid and distributed nature of the workforce and the need for productivity. But there is a notion that if there is a focus on employee experience, the focus on security goes down. Can you speak to this opinion?
Renu: It’s a valid opinion because in the early days, companies didn’t trust employees so much. Hence the security controls were very rigid. Many times, it was felt that the weakest link is the employee and so the security policies were so rigid that companies believed they would rather not allow the employee to do anything that compromises security. For example, companies would not allow employees to take their device home under any circumstances or give access to a particular application when they are not inside of the office premises and connected to the firewall.
Now all those ways of operating are thrown out of the window. Everyone is remote and companies have no choice but to allow employees to access their corporate applications from company-owned devices or even the employee’s own device. Companies had to enable their employees to work anywhere and, hence, security was pulled back.
What we saw was that employee productivity was high, business was successful, and people continued to work wherever they were. Now that we have passed that initial phase, and this is the way work will be, with the rise in security threats there is an opportunity to look at a happy medium. While not going back to the rigid ways, there is a need to establish a security baseline. There are a lot of unknowns. That’s why zero trust is an approach that has taken off with so many organizations.
We at VMware do believe that there’s a way to do both — great security and experience. This challenge is what we are optimizing in our End-User Computing solutions.
Priyanka: VMware provides very advanced capabilities, but we know that not all customers are ready to take advantage of them. What can IT departments do to advance their strategy to include things like modern management, unified workspaces, or automation, and fully utilize VMware EUC products? How can we help?
Renu: The one thing that we recognize is that every customer’s situation is different, and they are all at different points in their journey. The good news is that we have really been thinking about the hybrid workforce and what it means from an employee experience, security, and automation perspective. All of that is built into our platform.
To help customers take advantage of these features, I would recommend companies first identify the use cases you are looking to solve. It might be onboarding employees because you are going through a growth spurt, or integrating employees and processes from an acquired company, enabling BYO laptops or updating your security policies from traditional network-based VPN to cloud-based VPN. Depending upon what that problem is, you could implement a solution and use it as a win before trying to solve the next problem.
Our platform is designed to scale up and down so that you can take advantage of all or a few capabilities while also interoperating with the solutions you already have implemented in your organization. The goal is to meet you where you are in your implementation journey.
Another challenge IT departments face is making employees aware of the technologies and applications that companies have purchased on behalf of their employees. We also have adoption kits that IT can leverage to talk about their implementation with Workspace ONE and get them educated, sort of like an internal marketing campaign.
Priyanka: What are the most interesting success stories you have heard recently?
Renu: One of the best things that I like about my role is that I get to speak to the customers and hear from them how they are implementing our technology. The fascinating thing is that the challenges around enabling hybrid work are felt whether you are a customer in India or a customer in the Americas or Europe.
In the Americas, we have two customers. One of them is one of the largest logistics companies and the second one is one of the largest retailers. Both industries are characterized by high attrition. Both organizations have relied on our solutions to not only hire the best but also to make sure that they are keeping the employees engaged and retaining them with the right digital tools. It’s fascinating to see these companies from a challenge, scale of deployment, and complexity standpoint, and the ROI they are driving from reducing attrition.
In EMEA, we have a very popular F1 racing automotive company that relies on our technology. By nature, they are a remote or distributed organization. I met this client recently and it was interesting to hear about the logistical challenges they have in setting up and tearing down their IT infrastructure as they move from location to location. And there’s the precision of the access of information that is needed across a diverse set of employees — not all tech savvy but all relying heavily on technology to make the organization successful. This is another use case where VMware’s solutions, Horizon and Workspace ONE, are mission-critical to their operations.
I recently came back from the Hybrid Work Summit in India. There were many companies that had gone 100% distributed and were using our solutions to manage devices securely, and with the best experience. In all these cases, the challenges around embracing hybrid work as the new norm and delivering the best experience with uncompromised security are prevalent. These are some of the reasons the companies chose to go with VMware.
Priyanka: What is the one thing that you want everybody to know about VMware EUC?
Renu: We are a team of people who are passionate about the EUC space and truly believe in the value of focusing on employee experience. If employees don’t use the technology, there is no business outcome. If there is a problem out there, we can solve it because our talented team always tries to do the right thing for customers.