by Avon Puri, VP, Business IT, VMware
Rapid technology innovation is affecting the way VMware is addressing the business issues related to its workforce, customers, and partners. Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, natural language patterns, and IoT present extraordinary opportunities for VMware to create new, intelligence-driven experiences that improve productivity and responsiveness and deliver real business value. They are a vital part of IT’s digital transformation.
A prime example is IoT, which we are using to create digital experiences that combine mobile and sensors, such as electric car charger notification apps and campus navigators that provide step by step directions and travel time. IoT lies at the core of a smart workplace initiative where our people can access the real-time availability of colleagues, workstations, and meeting rooms on their cellphones.
Our application support system, Auto-Support, is a good illustration of how emerging tech can have a real impact on business operations. By combining a variety of emerging technologies, we streamlined our application-related ticketing process and improved response time without impacting service quality. Natural language pattern (NLP) and machine learning extract knowledge and patterns to improve the app’s intelligence while chat bots help analysts to understand issues and find relevant information. App-related tickets dropped from more than 20% to a consistent 15%, despite a release rate averaging 125 new features per week last year.
Emerging tech is also bringing cognitive experiences such as facial recognition software into our apps for security. Augmented and virtual reality technologies are being explored as part of a strategy to bring remote customers to onsite briefings and provide virtual campus navigation to both visitors and employees.
Moving beyond apps, we are currently creating a prototype of a voice-enabled adviser and virtual assistant that will deliver a complete digital experience service. Called vAssist, it will integrate voice, IoT, bots, and applications to deliver user-specific information, whether it’s transactional, business-related, intelligence, or predictive. This includes real-time updates on projects, calendars, quotes, locations, and parking; predictive insights on products, markets, and the competition; and the ability to perform tasks as simple as booking a hotel. Bots will help vAssist learn and improve the user experience over time.
VMware IT uses an innovation framework and Workspace ONE (blog) to ensure focus remains on the business value of emerging technologies while minimizing the internal risk and investment. The four phases in the framework include:
- Curiosities. We quickly evaluate various emerging technologies, using a proof of concept (POC) to demystify the technology so we can form a point of view for our customers. The fail-fast nature of this phase helps us quickly embrace technologies and ahead of customers. Blockchain and serverless are on our short list of technologies we are curious about.
- Labs. We closely examine the technology and its applicability to specific uses cases. Does the technology have a proven business value? How easily can it be integrated with other technologies? Our labs are actively assessing IoT, AI, and augmented/virtual reality among others.
- Center of Excellence (COE). Technologies that reach this point have proven their value to solve a business problem. We build a platform and adopt standards and best practices to ensure a predictable delivery model. By the time a technology reaches the COE, we have begun translating it into a solid deliverable for widespread business use.
- Mainstream. At this stage, we are confident the technology is scalable at the enterprise level and ready to share its value with the business. Mobility, which focuses on systems of engagement, was one of the first technologies to move to mainstream. So far, we have developed 30+ user and business productivity apps. Only about 10% of the technologies that enter as curiosities make it this far.
Emerging technologies give VMware IT the intelligence to rapidly adapt to change—something that traditional rule-based models can’t do. By using the innovation framework as a guide, we can exploit the technologies’ full potential to solve business issues for our customers and users without incurring a high level of investment or risk. Emerging technologies are an important factor in our quest to improve the agility of VMware to lead in its markets. Watch for more blogs on the business IT agility journey in the future.
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