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What VMware IT Learned While Enabling its Workforce for Remote Productivity

by: Director, EMEA Colleague Support Srebrina Dimitrova-Ilieva

While we focus on adapting to the new normal for our business, we never lose sight of the reality that individuals and communities continue to be impacted by COVID-19. VMware and its staff actively participate in efforts to assist those in need.

As we navigate the challenges of re-opening our offices when local conditions permit, our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our staff, customers, and partners. Planning and preparation are continuous, along with assessing our progress and adjusting course as necessary.

Many companies prepared for what became a reality in 2020. They established a foundation for business continuity and ran mock scenarios. VMware built resiliency plans to deliver a seamless and secure experience for 30,000 plus colleagues working anywhere.

Equipping colleagues to work remotely

The first and most basic requirement is offering multiple device options to our colleagues and new hires. For existing colleagues, this includes assigned work devices, personal devices, or borrowing a laptop from a VMware vending machine at office locations.

We offer no-touch laptop provisioning for new hires. Suppliers drop-ship laptops and peripherals directly to our colleagues. The laptop sleeve includes basic instructions that guide them to be up and running in less than 30 minutes, plus it adds a bit of the ‘wow’ factor when you open the box.

We have received positive feedback on how easy it is to onboard: “If I compare past onboarding experiences with joining VMware, it has been the best. I remember showing my wife that my MacBook Pro came in a sleeve with what I needed to do printed on the back.”

VMware IT provides secure access to business applications with VMware Workspace ONE®, which is deployed globally. This digital workspace platform allows colleagues to securely access our corporate systems, whether it’s email, collaboration tools, expense reporting, office supplies, and more.

Mobilizing Colleague Support

To prepare for the nearly immediate transition of 30,000 plus colleagues from working in offices to working from home VMware IT addressed several critical areas.

To manage the anticipated increase in volume for remote IT support, we aligned global support teams with the service desk and conducted the necessary training. Transitioning a subset of Colleague Support staff over to the Service Desk increased the percentage of dedicated Service Desk staff from 52% to 74% without needing to hire and train new team members.

Since there was the potential for capacity use of critical services, VMware IT created a dashboard to monitor and manage spikes in usage. We expanded capacity for Horizon Virtual Desktops and Apps and burst capacity in VMware Cloud on AWS to ensure full access to virtual desktops. Providing sufficient VPN capacity required that we introduce additional VPN gateways and increase capacity on existing gateways.

Finally, we identified peripherals necessary for remote working, such as monitors, keyboards, mice, headsets, and docks, that our suppliers could ship directly to our colleagues.

Increasing productivity and delighting our colleagues—no matter where they are—make it possible for VMware to continue innovating and serving our customers and partners.

Intrinsic Security on Multiple Fronts

The Workspace ONE platform has all of the components required to enable Zero Trust for the digital workspace. As a result, VMware maintained its solid security posture once the majority of our colleagues worked from home.

We had already completed micro-segmentation of our network and core applications for increased visibility into our environments and off-network. Deploying VMware Carbon Black provided greater insight into endpoint security, which was crucial with the introduction of untrusted networks and the unknown security state of personal devices.

Having our cybersecurity in this solid position allowed us to focus our efforts where it mattered most by ensuring:

  • our colleagues could connect and operate securely.
  • our applications and development work could continue uninterrupted.
  • new threats could be met and mitigated, as cybercriminals sought to profit from the pandemic.

How Did We Do?

When the quarter ended, our colleagues were already set up to seamlessly close out the financials – remotely.

Mergers and acquisitions didn’t stop with the pandemic. VMware IT continued to onboard colleagues and migrate systems seamlessly to ensure timely integration.

Finally, VMware IT hosted a series of webinar sessions to guide colleagues on working collaboratively while remote and incorporating ergonomic best practices for efficiency and comfort.

VMware IT envisions the future of work

This company-wide initiative includes a focus on exploring what VMware IT support will look like in the future. There are three main areas to address. How will VMware IT adapt to a new workplace with a different working style? How will we further improve the colleague experience of long-term remote working? How can we use technology solutions to enhance the onboarding experience, ensure that apps are readily accessible, enable continuous connectivity, and deliver remote troubleshooting seamlessly and securely? The opportunity to define and equip colleagues for the future of work is here, and we must embrace it.

VMware on VMware blogs are written by IT subject matter experts sharing stories about our digital transformation using VMware products and services in a global production environment. Contact your sales rep or to schedule a briefing on this topic. Visit the VMware on VMware microsite and follow us on Twitter.   


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