Vision and Innovation

Four Questions That Set the Digital Transformation Agenda for VMware’s IT Team: Highlights From the VMware IT Performance Annual Report 2019

IT innovation is a key enabler of achieving digital transformation agendas that equip companies for the future. Businesses that provide dynamic workplaces, are agile enough to change course as they observe market trends, and build out infrastructure that supports transformation, will lead the way. As long as their IT teams are in sync with those agendas.

One of the initiatives VMware IT focused on, and achieved, in 2019 was increasing business agility through digital transformation, which helped the company reach many milestones that touched people, process, and technology throughout the year.

The first step toward making those significant strides was to ask and answer four insightful questions that helped set the stage for the year. The answers aligned with VMware’s core philosophy around people and process first, followed by technology as the enabler.

  • How can we accelerate and enable an internal transformation with staff, while delivering continuous innovation to customers? Embrace new ways of operating.
  • How can we transform our business to accommodate marketplace changes and shifting customer, partner, and colleague demand? Create an agile enterprise through App modernization.
  • How can we enable an infrastructure to support our journey of becoming a true SaaS company? Build on an infrastructure primed for transformation.
  • How can we provide innovative product offerings that deliver tangible results? Transform business through IT innovation.

The answers to these questions became the main initiatives that guided the VMware IT team to make significant progress with its digital transformation goals. As a group, and in smaller teams, IT embraced the vision for digital transformation and met its deliverables, while continuing to ensure ongoing support of the business.

In this first article of the series, we take a closer look at VMware IT’s digital transformation achievements for embracing new ways of operating and creating an agile enterprise through app modernization.

Embrace new ways of operating

This initiative, which touches people and technology, began with VMware IT shaping a “workplace of the future” by enhancing the colleague experience. It started with onboarding on Day Zero—prior to a colleague’s actual start date. New staff, including direct hires and those joining from mergers and acquisitions can now be up and running on their laptops within 25 minutes. Ready access to multichannel IT support is now available through Oasis, with its service desks, Oasis online support, real-time chats, and walk-up tech bars. There’s even a productivity app with a Genie that responds to simple voice and text commands. The IT Performance Annual Report 2019 has additional examples.

“VMware IT has a short-term goal of reducing reactive human support work by 40 percent by eliminating problems at the root.”

In 2019, we made significant upgrades to our infrastructure. Redefining incident management and resolving problems before they occur—through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is just one example. We saved 400 hours per quarter through auto-assignment of incidents and another 240 hours through auto-resolution of incidents.

“With a strong partnership and a shared vision, Sales and VMware IT strive for digital transformation, such as reworking our Configure Price Quote tool to provide a more streamlined experience for customers, partners, and sales.”

Our people-related initiatives touched sales, marketing, customers, and partners. Refreshing the customer experience with the My VMware portal and re-envisioning partnerships with the launch of Partner Connect are two examples. And, in addition to focusing on our own talent, several strategic moves preemptively addressed risks with agile teams, improved sustainability efforts at VMware, and helped do good through the IT for Good giving network.

Create an agile enterprise through app modernization

App modernization plays a central role in helping VMware IT become more agile, and there are many supporting actions required to arrive at a steady state of agility. Transforming how VMware works by adopting a DevOps culture was a crucial first step that required changes to colleague mindsets and the team structures, as well as to tools and processes. The right leadership and culture were also vital to capitalizing on a DevOps approach. Finally, a focus on resolving incidents with code led to significantly increasing automation of Day O and Day 2 activities. As a result, VMware IT increased code check-in by 300 percent.

VMware IT is accelerating its journey to cloud-native ecosystems to meet the increasing demands of our global business. By using VMware Enterprise PKS, we optimize cloud-native deployments and deliver new features faster.

As part of this journey, the VMware IT team addressed three critical components:

  • moving applications to the Kubernetes platform
  • enabling high-speed data caching
  • conducting platform maintenance without affecting service availability.

Increasing operational efficiency as part of our digital transformation meant advancing the use of smart operational technology and Internet of Things technologies. A number of comprehensive initiatives were implemented with notable results:

  • employees use their mobile devices for seamless authentication and unlocking facility doors
  • occupancy sensors and advanced analytics improve space utilization
  • intelligent facilities surveillance solution improves security, cost efficiency, and scalability.

With the company activating all these enterprise-wide initiatives, keeping everything safe everywhere—with cloud and SaaS security—is more mission critical than ever. VMware IT approached security from a holistic, 360-degree view. As the company’s consumption of cloud resources increases, the volume of security-focused work grows in lockstep. Work that covered a wide range of VMware business initiatives, including CloudOps, DevOps, edge and Telco, end-user computing (EUC), hybrid cloud, support and other functions.

Pushing physical security into a new era required the VMware Physical Security team to go digital. The team now keeps bandwidth local and stores data on a Tier 2 cloud solution, while deploying computing and other resources at the edge.

Staying productive under any condition is what drives our Enterprise Resiliency program, which has two interrelated business continuity goals:

  • ensuring VMware is prepared to cope with major operational disruptions
  • integrating that resilience into our digital DNA to sustain resiliency going forward

Achieving these two goals required a tremendous amount of complex work, including:

  • providing tools and resources, such as mobile-friendly resiliency action plans
  • conducting periodic exercises and drills with various groups
  • partnering with site leaders around the globe and special event teams to integrate resiliency into their site operations and major events.

In the next article, we’ll address two additional initiatives: building on an infrastructure primed for transformation and transforming business through IT innovation.

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