by: VMware Senior Director, Strategic Operations Michelle McNeil
As a global enterprise with a far-reaching vendor and partner revenue/bookings operations, ensuring consistent uptime and anticipating potential crises is a mission-critical endeavor. This is where the Crisis Management Team (CMT) comes into play. A combined effort involving IT, order management, finance, and other relevant departments, CMT employed Bask Iyer’s (former GM Edge/IoT, Dell Technologies & CIO, VMware) philosophy of the things we learn everyday about the operations (of a company) are important to guiding the transformation. In this case, maintaining VMware’s credibility with external parties.
CMT’s goal is to ensure successful revenue and bookings close each quarter and at year-end by ensuring the systems and business processes required always run as designed. Challenges include resource capacity issues, system outages, single point of failures (people, process, technology), data issues and worse linearity than anticipated, back maintenance, and deals currently in the pipeline that may be vulnerable.
Over the past year, key activities of CMT involved provisioning loaner laptops, completing performance tuning of top jobs and defect management for priority bug issues, validating our top vendor list and confirming all escalation points of contacts (POCs) internally and externally, reviewing plans with vendors, adding any new apps and jobs to the critical watch list, identifying any new or refreshed training required in advance of a quarter’s end, reviewing/addressing lessons learned and recommendations from the prior quarter’s end, reminding all employees to update their mobile contact details, and conducting a quarterly SAP disaster recovery test (failover/failback).
- AirWatch End State Phase 2 has been successfully deployed. Its focus is on transitioning VMware Workspace ONE® offerings into our software-as-a-service (SaaS) order-to-cash operating model. This move enables a unified customer experience (via My VMware), improved effectiveness via free-trial and lead management automation, billing enhancements, added flexibility for SaaS renewals, and the addition of a new API architecture/API catalog to support new routes to market. All of which significantly increased our ability to scale and further secure the infrastructure.
- Many customers requested the ability to be invoiced for their service, rather than paying via credit cards or credits. We implemented a Pay by Invoice (PBI) on our Cloud Services Platform (CSB) that enables customers to take advantage of this method simply by filling out a PBI program form. Once approved by accounts receivable, their PBI capabilities are automatic. Similarly, the new Sales-led Ordering program offers a pay-now option for VMware Cloud Services commitments, in addition to being able to use credits.
- The CMT engaged in quarterly refreshes to ensure various enterprise resiliency proactive measures were successfully carried out. These include a refresh of our on-demand alerting and response services for both emergency and routine communication, that enables our colleagues to receive instant notifications anywhere/anytime, in the manner they wish to be contacted. The addition of more alternative physical sites to our Palo Alto headquarters, Bangalore, Cork, and Costa Rica locations—plus physical operation room support for each location. And updated business continuity plans for order fulfillment and strategic sourcing, including simulation testing.
- Finally, we further expanded our mitigation plans for identified risks. Our team schedules weekly meetings to track the progress of open and work-in-progress (WIP) risk, and aggressively follows up with the applicable teams to ensure the requisite mitigation steps are being taken. In conjunction with these meetings, we have implemented enhanced monitoring/alerting to capture the relevant issues proactively, plus preemptive maintenance to ensure the readiness of all technical tracks. And we have developed standard operating procedures to quickly and effectively recover from any issue that has ‘gone rogue’ in the interim. These procedures include an increased dependency on network and SaaS applications, many of which are automated, and the introduction of 24/7/365 availability via a human-based network monitoring team.
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