Talk of environmental, social, and governance goals (ESG) is everywhere — especially at VMware. End-user computing (EUC) technologies broadly align with and enable these goals.
ESG is a very broad and deep topic, which can range from very technical analyses of power consumption, supply chains, and carbon emissions, to nuanced and passionate discussions of pressing social issues.
This article is intended to provide a wide range of conversation starting points across a wide variety of topics, to supply some directions that you and your organization can begin to explore. In other words, if you work in EUC, there are many ways that you can be part of this conversation — a conversation which is likely happening across your organization.
Why care about ESG?
There isn’t a single person alive who isn’t affected by ESG issues, and the vast majority of us are personally passionate about the environment and promoting an inclusive and equitable society.
But how is this important at work? It turns out that many organizations are adopting formal ESG goals (VMware included!), and many institutional investors are making decisions about which organizations to support based on these goals. This means that ESG is likely being discussed at the board level in your organization, goals are being set, and leaders are looking for practical, real ways to begin implementing them.
As EUC professionals, we have the opportunity to raise our hands and offer solutions. Most of the areas of alignment that I am writing about here are not only practical and achievable, but also inherently part of a modern EUC strategy — a win–win situation. And when you consider the opportunities that elevating the alignment between EUC and ESG brings for your organization and career, along with the benefits of ESG goals themselves, it’s another win–win.
How EUC helps with environmental goals
The first topics that come up in many ESG conversations typically focus on the environment. For example, how working remotely and telecommuting can reduce carbon emissions. Carbon accounting can be incredibly complex, but what’s clear is that work from home eliminates the immense emissions of daily commuting.
As we’ve known for years, having a modern EUC strategy — supporting mobile devices, providing easy remote access, using modern productivity apps and communications tools — broadly enables work from home.
This means that a lot of solutions providers can also tout their alignment, from video conferencing vendors to zero trust network access vendors, to the latest SaaS startup re-imagining productivity apps.
First of all, they’re the glue that holds together all of the collaboration apps, communications services, devices, access controls, and other technologies to make remote work possible. None of these tools could successfully enable remote work on their own.
And more directly, as EUC pros, we’re often directly responsible for remote management, access, and support to make sure all these tools keep working and serving the users.
Also, aside from the day-to-day commute, EUC strategies can reduce travel — and also shipping — in other ways. Out-of-box enrollment means more direct shipping routes for hardware. And remote onboarding and remote support can reduce trips to the office, too.
Saving physical resources
A modern EUC strategy can help save on all the material and energy resources that go into devices themselves, as well as the e-waste concerns at the end of their lifecycles.
For example, by offering BYOD or COPE as an option and using one phone for both personal and work use, all the resources, energy, and e-waste associated with a second phone are eliminated.
Extending device lifespan has a similar effect. For example, VMware has partners that can convert used PCs into thin clients to give them another phase of usefulness before they’re recycled. Or, having more advanced monitoring and management of devices could reduce the need to replace devices pre-emptively.
Lastly, when devices do reach the end of their lifespan, EUC and partners can be responsible for recycling or securely reselling or repurposing devices.
How EUC helps with social goals
Although 2020 had immense challenges, one positive that emerged was a discussion about the benefits of remote work. One set of benefits focuses on the ways that remote work makes career opportunities more equitable, which aligns with the DEI goals many organizations are working toward.
Many workers, for various reasons, don’t find an office environment or traditional work hours to be a good fit. Remote work gives these employees opportunities they may not have had before. And there are compelling arguments that remote work levels the playing field — when everyone is communicating via a messaging platform or video conferencing, everyone is equally close to each other. This is a big difference from scenarios where physical proximity in offices might play a significant role in influence and collaboration.
These particular social effects are a second order result of enabling remote work, but as we’ve acknowledged, EUC pros have a direct impact on making remote work seamless and more secure in the first place.
EUC — and especially the mobile and cloud technologies that make up a significant part of our purview — can also make the benefits of digital transformation more accessible to a wider range of businesses and users. For example, mobile devices and apps promote collaboration and visibility for frontline roles, and mobility and SaaS apps lower the digital barrier to entry for small businesses.
Lastly, an especially important thing that EUC can do for social goals — as well as governance goals — is to help ensure user privacy on BYO and COPE devices.
MDM frameworks like Android Enterprise Work Profiles and Apple User Enrollment mode, as well as productivity apps like Workspace ONE Boxer, can enable privacy on personal devices. And this is backed up by robust role-based access controls and permissions.
Time-based and shift-based access controls can also help enable work–life balance, especially in regions where working hours are strictly regulated.
How EUC helps with governance goals
As mentioned above, privacy controls and time- and shift-based access controls are a key component of enabling good corporate governance over privacy initiatives. Combined with logging and auditing controls, they can help organizations have a way of executing the goals that they set.
Governance is also crucial in environmental goals — carbon accounting can be challenging. While they’re just one part of a solution, EUC monitoring tools can provide visibility into energy consumption and device lifecycles.
Starting on the path to EUC-enabled ESG
Many organizations have ESG goals, and I hope I’ve provided ideas of ways EUC pros can use their knowledge and platforms to actively help achieve these goals.
For more on VMware’s goals and to read our reports, see our environment, social, and governance goals page and read our 2022 ESG Report. For more on how other VMware solutions can help, read about VMware Green Score in Aria Operations (formerly vRealize Operations).