• VMware IT - What We’ve Learned as a Digital Responder during COVID-19



    Bask Iyer
    April 16, 2020

     

    As we confront one of the greatest health threats of a generation, our thoughts remain with the individuals and communities, especially healthcare workers and first responders, deeply hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

     

    At VMware, we prioritize the well-being and safety of our employees, customers and partners. Like so many others during these unprecedented times, we’re learning in real-time. As a tech company with hundreds of thousands of customers, we built resiliency plans for hurricanes, data-center failures, cyberattacks, pandemics and other crises. And while we hadn’t envisioned the scale of a pandemic like COVID-19, our business continuity preparation has served us well. It was a reminder that a plan, however imperfect, is better than no plan and that the right time to plan is when there is no crisis.

     

    I am also aware that the opportunity to work from home is available to very few. Many people depend on going to their places of work to be productive, grow their careers, gain new skills and pay their bills to take care of their families. In this time of physical distancing, there are challenges that many in our community face when they go to their place of work. We thank them and are ready to help any way we can. 

     

    As my friend Chris Bedi, CIO at ServiceNow, shared last month, the tremendous work CIOs and technology organizations did over the years make working from home a seamless transition for jobs where it makes sense. Here’s what we’ve learned over the past few months from our internal response, and from our customers. I hope some of our experiences will be useful in helping you support your employees and business during this global situation.

     

    Proactive Response 

     

    VMware is actively monitoring the ongoing situation, and we’ve put many programs and initiatives into action. Most significantly, we’ve enabled more than 30,000 people in our workforce to work from home fairly smoothly. Across Dell Technologies, over 140,000 employees pivoted to a work-from-home posture. 

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    Here are a few examples from our business continuity plan:

     

    • Having a team in place to drive our crisis response. This team is fully empowered to recommend company-wide decisions across the globe, letting our leadership focus on running the business.
    • Implementing significant precautions to address the safety of our colleagues and the business needs of our key customers, vendors and others who are in VMware facilities. For more details, click here.
    • Staying up-to-date on the most recent developments by employing advanced software that constantly combs media outlets, weather reports and announcements from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and similar organizations worldwide.
    • Utilizing internal social media platforms, collaboration tools and two-way multichannel communications to provide and receive real-time information.
    • Harnessing the power of our Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) cloud computing solutions to enable maximum accessibility.

     

    We also leverage VMware technology to empower employees, customers and partners to remain productive. 

     

    • At a basic level, if employees have to evacuate a VMware office, they can take their existing work devices, use personal devices or borrow a laptop from one of our technology vending machines.
    • Our digital workspace platform, VMware Workspace ONE, gives employees complete, more secure access to business-critical apps, including email, collaboration tools, healthcare services, expense reports, office supplies, etc., via any device.
    • VMware Tunnel provides a seamless VPN-like connection to any internal website.
    • Virtual VMware Horizon desktop apps mimic Windows, but don’t require a laptop to operate, further enabling our employees to access all their software.
    • Our “no-touch” laptop provisioning process doesn’t require IT to setup the machines. Laptops, smartphones, tablets and other devices are shipped directly from the factory to the employee.

     

    Multichannel Support for Employees 

     

    • Our employees can access live video assistance from any device.
    • VMware Assist allows remote troubleshooting of devices.
    • Collaboration tools, chatbots and various automated resolution software are all available remotely, offering immediate or near-immediate support.

     

    This stage of preparedness enabled us to activate and adapt in days. For example, we:

     

    • Conducted company-wide meetings, town halls and the annual sales kickoff.
    • Continue acquisition integration plans.
    • Support ongoing customer meetings.

     

    Standing By Our Customers 

     

    My team very enthusiastically shares our learnings with our customers, who continuously reach out for help during this turbulent time. It is a mutually beneficial exercise. We’re learning from them as much as they’re learning from us. If you are interested in speaking with our IT team, please contact vmwonvmw@vmware.com.

     

    Supporting Our Communities

     

    We support a number of employee and community-based initiatives and philanthropic activities. Learn more about what VMware is doing here.

     

    A Continuing Journey

     

    No business continuity and disaster preparedness plan is perfect, and I expect we’ll face more unforeseen situations in the future. However, I’m confident in the ability of my colleagues in our industry. And I’m both impressed and humbled by the tremendous character and capabilities of our employees, the tech community at large and people everywhere, and how they’ve helped communities around the world.  

     

    A shoutout to countless IT teams and others from so many companies, who are doing a remarkable job to keep their businesses running smoothly. We will continue to share our experiences and best practices—and we’ll also continue learning from others.

     

    Thanks to the many unsung heroes. We wish everyone in our global community strength, health and support during these extraordinary times.

    Global Uncertainty and Leadership: Paul Green, CIO of Angel MedFlight and Bask Iyer, CIO of VMware


    The COVID-19 global pandemic has completely changed how we're living our lives. While some organizations were prepared for the dramatic shifts in the needs of the market and their workforce, many were not. The ripple effects that will be felt by these events are impossible to predict, and technology leaders are grappling with problems they cannot even define. We brought together Paul Green, CIO of Angel MedFlight, a medical emergency aviation company, and Bask Iyer, CIO and CDTO of VMware, to discuss their perspectives on the effects that the crisis is having on business from a technology leadership as well as a human perspective.

    Play Podcast

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