Dec 14 2020

CDW Tech Talk: With Shift to Software as Service, Customer Experiences Improve

VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger linked a greater reliance on cloud computing during the pandemic to enhanced business opportunities.

The pandemic has provided VMware with an opportunity to deepen its relationships with its customers, company CEO Pat Gelsinger said in an online CDW Tech Talk session Monday.

Speaking in a session titled “Leading the Organization with Technology as a Core Capability,” Gelsinger observed that the massive shift to working from home to thwart the spread of the coronavirus accelerated digital transformation through an increased reliance on cloud computing and cloud services.

The digital innovation required to support remote work involved a historic reliance on applications, scaling of cloud resources and deployment of internet-connected devices, Gelsinger said. VMware went from about 20 percent of its employees working from home to 97 percent in the early days of the pandemic. The company’s new normal likely will have 10 to 20 percent of employees in the office, 30 percent in a hybrid configuration and 50 percent fully working from home going forward.

“It’s amazing what we have been able to accomplish, and I believe we will never work the same again,” Gelsinger said.

Remote Work Offers Opportunities to Strengthen Customer Outreach

“Since the pandemic hit, I have been so much more connected to customers than ever before, all across the globe,” Gelsinger said, estimating that he personally will have visited 500 customers virtually by the end of the year.

VMware’s enhanced online presence has provided it with more customer touchpoints than ever before, and Gelsinger sees that as an opportunity to continue to work more closely with customers. “We deliver the digital foundation for an increasingly unpredictable world,” he said.

Gelsinger specified five critical building blocks aligned with the core purchasing priorities of customer CIOs: app modernization, multicloud portfolios, digital workspace, virtual cloud networks and intrinsic security.

VMware’s tech offerings truly center on app modernization and multicloud, where the company is really able to enhance organizations through virtualization, he added. With a sustained focus on Software as a Service, VMware will move its focus from “selling products and supporting them to a broader focus on the full lifecycle of customer experience.”

As more customers turn to SaaS, VMware and other IT companies more closely align themselves to customer objectives and business outcomes. SaaS’ dependence on rich data, data analytics and AI deepens VMware’s engagement with customers and transforms relationships from a series of transactions to a full lifecycle journey.

“Retention becomes even more important than ever before,” Gelsinger said.

Pandemic Accelerates Digital Transformation for Better Business

On Feb. 28, VMware “flipped a switch” and moved from a physical workspace to a virtual workspace and never looked back, Gelsinger said.

That enabled a rapid transformation of the digital ecosystem, where the company has become closer to its customers but also closer to some competitors. Companies able to work together with VMware have become “coopetitors” rather than competitors, Gelsinger said, to the benefit of customers.

“We need to dramatically reshape the technology ecosystem in the name of the customer experience,” Gelsinger said.

As organizations pivot in service to customers, Gelsinger said, companies should focus on digital transformation, speed of delivery, transparency and understanding, and urgency to support an “anywhere workforce.”

“It’s been a fabulous year for acceleration of digital transformation,” he said.

In his session, Gelsinger fielded questions from CDW COO Christina Corley, who offered her own thoughts on supporting the transformation of the technology ecosystem: continue to keep focus on the customer, simplify the complex and remain agile.

“If we have learned nothing in this pandemic, it’s that we need to pivot sometimes. The more agile you are, the more you can pivot to where your customers need to go,” Corley said.

Follow BizTech’s full coverage of CDW Tech Talks here. Insiders can register for the event here.

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