I was invited to join VMware on their annual analyst event in London. It was supposed to take place at the Mandarin hotel. I just arrived in Heathrow, when I got the news that we were relocated to safety, as a major fire had broken out at the premise. The analyst relations team arranged everyone and everything to be moved to another hotel and go ahead with a slightly shortened agenda. Executives, who could not access the equipment left in the rooms, were given fresh tablets. Using their own unified endpoint client “WorkspaceOne”, the presentational material was fully available. As we were lucky and no one was hurt, that is a great case for contingency. Enabled by human courage to go ahead and supported by the digital workplace.
Off course, the fire was a topic on the day. But not the only one. The decision to go ahead was right. VMware had a lot to show and say compared to where they stood one year ago. Here is my take:
- End user computing is concentrating on an integrated fixed/mobile administration. A lot of work has gone into smooth onboarding of employees accessing devices and applications needed for work. VMware specifically emphasized ease of use as well as the look and feel as critical factors for acquiring and retaining top talent. The integration of wearables and connected devices is firmly on the agenda.
- VMware is serious in moving higher up the value chain. The provider making first strides towards improving functional workflows for sales or medical staff through distribution of data and applications. Identity and Access Management is enhanced beyond secure access for active distributing to authenticated users.
- VMware presented a well formulated value proposition based on breaking down silos and delivering a strong end user experience resound well in the market. The end user business is growing above the market rate. In particular, VMware shows increased momentum on virtual desktop services, a segment which developed rather slow in recent years.
- VMware presented a highly differentiated portfolio to competitors. Their abilities on instant cloning of a desktop profile and micro segmentation of the user profiles set them apart. An area of key focus is enhanced intelligence and automation to increase the efficiency of helpdesk support. That opens much cost saving potential with clients, whilst at the same time, increasing the end user experience.
VMware showed a strong mix of a focused strategic direction, portfolio execution and growth. Some of the more strategic initiatives are in an early phase. Thus far, workflow applications are not fully linked into established backend systems like SAP. VMware could also benefit from partnerships with integrators and established forces in self-service automation such as ServiceNow.
But, on the whole, the company executes on the right path. Moving away from mere infrastructure is vital to sustain differentiation, not only from Amazon or Google, but also from players like Microsoft. The software giant bundles solutions into its core Office package, which, like Intune, compete with the more basic propositions of VMware. VMware does a lot, and many things right, to stay relevant in this market.