Sep 30 2020

VMworld 2020: Partnering Up in Times of Crisis

Strong strategic relationships outside of your organization can go a long way to ensuring success.

When disaster strikes, those affected often come together to get through it. Communities rebuild themselves after one-time incidents such as hurricanes or tornadoes, and they continue to support each other during more prolonged periods of struggle, like a recession.

That has also been true during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s businesses pivoting to make hand sanitizer and masks or customers making a point to shop at local small businesses, organizations across industries have been doing their part to help the public through challenging times. That often means partnering up.

“Different customers across different industries, they’re all dealing with different pain points and business challenges right now,” said Tom Cahill, vice president for product and partner management at CDW. “During these challenging times, this economic environment, the circumstances surrounding things like COVID, the social unrest, all the different things that our customers are facing today, it’s more important than ever that we help our customers through those challenges.”

During a session at VMworld 2020, Cahill and Todd King, a VMware software-defined data center architect at CDW, discussed how important it has been for customers to have a partner to guide them through today’s IT challenges. The pair highlighted CDW’s partnership with VMware as a golden example of what that teamwork can accomplish.

“In the beginning with COVID, we were dealing more with just enabling workers to work from home and enabling those IT staffs to be able to support all that,” King said. “Now, as we start to settle into this work-from-home idea, we’re actually starting to help customers understand security for working from home, understand data center infrastructure, and expanding on demand to address all these dynamic workforces and the needs of the business.” 

Having a partner can make businesses feel less alone as they move through uncertain times.

What Businesses Get with an Additional Partnership

All businesses work with vendors, but having a true partner delivers more value than just providing products, Cahill said.

“Whether it’s stabilizing the business, whether it’s ensuring that the utility of IT is up and running, we build resilience,” Cahill said. “We future-proof and help their infrastructure so it’s durable and is there for the long haul, especially as we think about this new normal.”

The right partnership can also mean more access to resources, King said. Customers can get help from to solution architects, subject matter experts, executive technology strategists, emerging technologies, consultative practices and specialized engineering groups, all at their disposal.

“CDW has evolved into more of a consulted solution provider,” King continued. “That aligns perfectly with VMware’s any-cloud strategy, where we’re focusing now not on the traditional data center, but the ever-evolving software-defined data center, allowing us to focus on applications, not just virtual machines, and to provide customers with dynamic lifecycle management for their data centers both on-premises and in the cloud.”

That partnership can make transitions smoother and can provide peace of mind for teams that are responsible for an organization’s digital transformation.

DISCOVER: Learn more about how your organization can be guided through digital transformation. 

How a Partnership Helped One Hospital Upgrade Its Environment

Several years ago, Health New England was looking to refresh its VMware environment. The organization needed a lot of products, and it had fixed resources to work with.

“We basically had a flat budget for the past handful of years,” said Brian Gay, one of Health New England’s LAN administrators. “So we were looking for some new hardware that could really excel and take us into that next generation, keep us within budget if at all possible.” 

Mike Chabot, another LAN administrator for the group, said having a representative to go to with questions made the process much smoother.

“All aspects of pretty much anything we’ve needed, from hardware, software, any kind of random thing like budgeting systems, it’s always been: Call George. He’ll get you a guy to talk to. He’ll get you a specialist,” he said.

“He was definitely the glue in this entire project to bring all the resources,” Chabot continued.  

He said it was clear that CDW was on Health New England’s side, particularly once the project was finished.

“They sent out a couple of people to sit in the room with us as we did bring-up,” Chabot said. “They wanted to see our success.”

“That made us feel really good,” he said.

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