LorenaVMworld 2015 took over San Francisco, and, as expected, the event was full of energy. It seems like the Solutions Exchange keeps growing larger and larger each year, meaning that VMware customers have an increasing number of partners and solutions at their fingertips to complement their VMware investments. On the topic of size, during one of the general sessions, VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger shared some insights and macrotrends around today’s business climate. My favorite dynamic that he discussed was how an organization’s size (and by default, its available resources) continues to contribute less to their competitive edge than ever before. Today’s global market conditions value speed over-size. In other words, organizational agility (particularly as it relates to technology) has the opportunity to trump mammoth resources. Of course, this is great news for the little guys, but it’s also a monumental challenge for incumbents.

This shift is being fueled by the web, mobile, and cloud; and is resulting in startups and smaller companies that aren’t being bogged down by legacy technologies or complex processes and that have a window to get ahead. The ability to grow and expand is easier and more cost-effective than ever before. As a result, they can do more with less, which inevitably trickles down and benefits customers. But as today’s generation of startups grow into their own colossal entities, the ability to sustain that agility and speed will become critical. And it’s certainly not fair to say that large-scale enterprises should wave a flag of defeat.

Agility Made Easy

For the large enterprise, agility comes at a higher cost than startups because it involves change. Change is difficult, whether it’s a change in processes, a change in technology, or even just a change in mindset. RES and our partner VMware know this, and want to help customers on that journey. We talked a lot about this with customers during the event. They have made massive strides in virtualization – both in the data center and on end-points. They are looking to enhance the investments they have made, and want to contribute to their organization’s success in today’s complex business environment.

RES has a relatively simple blueprint for getting IT on track to being more nimble and responsive and to substantially improve overall organizational agility. Here is a snapshot:

  • Invest in technologies that make future changes earlier. While the term “future proof” gets tossed around quite a bit, it’s a powerful concept. Some technologies set you on a vendor specific path, or require so much infrastructure investment that future changes are costly or nearly impossible. Solutions that are agnostic, and actually alleviate the pains of technology changes, upgrades or migrations put organizations in a position where they can select future technologies based on their need at that time – not on what they’ve committed to in the past. And the changes bring limited disruption to workers and the business.
  • This one is a no-brainer, but we are consistently shocked to learn about how many enterprises are still handling routine and tedious tasks manually. This not only impacts an organization’s ability to scale quickly, but eats up the time of valuable resources. One could argue that automation is the cornerstone of agility. All tasks, not matter how simple or complex, can benefit from some form of automation. Ironically, a lot of our customers find time to be the largest obstacle when it comes to implementing automation. But once they start seeing results (on average, they experience a 40% drop in service desk tickets), they wonder how they ever did business without it.
  • Close The Loop In IT. Historically, IT’s strength has been in serving the needs of individual workers or business units. A lot of IT’s SLAs with the business center around delivery time, the quality of service and user satisfaction. But that’s not enough to be agile. Being agile requires IT to serve as a dynamic broker of technology in the enterprise. That also means having the ability to remove unused services or services that individuals no longer qualify for and reallocate those resources to others in the organization as needed. With this model, IT is able to maximize its technology investments. And if automation is in place, this can all happen automatically, within IT’s command.
  • Empower The End User. Organizations big and small are impacted by shifts in how people want to experience technology in the workplace. What started with the desire to use personal or mobile devices in the workplace has turned into a much bigger movement in which workers want a new way of working. They want more flexibility and more choices than ever before. They are self-sufficient, and grow frustrated with cumbersome enterprise technology that feels clunky compared to their experience at home. Because of this, the way IT interacts and engages with the workforce must adapt. Self-service, done right, has the opportunity to introduce consumer-like experience into enterprise. Of course, the automation and service qualification and return are the real power for agility, but without a face to the business, IT will have a harder time showing the business how it is improving. Self-service that is easy to use and fast to deliver add value for workers and is the capstone of agility.

Agility for Everyone

Following that approach, RES believes that agility can be for everyone – companies big or small, old or new. Our partnership with VMware reflects that belief, and we are looking forward to more exciting conversations with customers about their plans for becoming more agile while in Barcelona at the upcoming VMworld EMEA event next month. Hope to see some of you there!