Partners4 min read

How VMware Co-Innovates with Customers and Partners

As a technology leader that has delivered disruptive innovation for the last 25 years, it’s no wonder VMware continues to discover and cultivate solutions that aim to drive meaningful change. And who better to team with than those on a similar journey: successful VMware customers and ecosystem partners.

VMware embraces a collaborative approach to innovation known as co-innovation. Through efforts such as the Accelerated Co-innovation Engineering Program—focused on building customer-led solutions that help accelerate the path of innovation for businesses—and the Zero-Carbon Committed Cloud Partner Initiative, VMware nurtures an innovation culture worldwide.

Co-Innovation is Foundational to Success

At VMware, innovation is central to serving customers, and this mindset requires employees to think about innovation differently. Notably, they must embrace a concept of co-innovation that leads to business impact.

“It’s important to view innovation through a broader lens,” explains Kit Colbert, VMware’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). “It’s not only about delivering core technology, but also about how you ensure adoptability by making that technology consumable.”

Richard Munro, Director of Evangelism for the Office of the CTO, adds, “Everyone wants cool new features. But the reality is that if you can't trust the solution that's giving you those features—its privacy, security, compliance…that it's a sustainable solution—and if you have to throw everything you have away and start again in order to adopt it, that's not an innovation you can take advantage of.”

Innovation Grounded in Partnership and Impact

Impact is an important part of VMware’s concept of innovation, Munro says, and it’s a differentiator underlying co-innovation with customers.

“We have to understand the problems customers are seeing that we think we've got an answer to,” he says. “Sometimes we'll actually go in a completely different direction through that process of co-innovation with customers, but in nearly all cases, we'll come up with something even better than what we were working on in the first place.”

Partnership is another valued concept when it comes to innovation across VMware.

“You can't innovate in a vacuum,” says Joe Bagley, VMware’s EMEA field CTO. Although some in the technology industry may lead by telling customers what they want, VMware asks them. “You've got to work in partnership with customers. Some of the best things that we've done over the years have been where we've worked together.”

Guru Venkatachalam, VMware field CTO in APJ agrees the magic happens only when there is innovation with collaboration. “You can see the passion here to co-innovate with customers and partners, which is what we endeavour to do in the field day-in, day-out. Because if you just innovate in a vacuum, you might have an okay product, but you should have an iterative type of cycle to know whether it's really satisfying customer demand.”

That view and approach is evident across the programs VMware operates and the partnerships it strikes. While it has long fostered a culture of innovation internally, the company also values exploring the art of the possible with customers and its ecosystem of tens of thousands of partners. It is positioned to do so effectively through its Advanced Technology Group (ATG), under which key projects, including the xLabs program, help to drive meaningful co-innovation initiatives forward.

A Collaborative Mindset Furthers Invention

Bringing together the brightest ideas, diverse perspectives and communities from across its wide customer base and partner ecosystem is how VMware co-creates the future. A key element of its success has been connecting a variety of component parts in solutions to achieve business goals.

The output and impact of VMware collaboration with customers and partners is impressive. Virtualisation alone has enabled companies to save 2.4 billion megawatt hours and avoid 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon1. Multi-cloud innovations have boosted speed and agility for development and operations teams alike at leading organisations across industries including Fiserv, East London NHS Foundation Trust, Lexmark, SoftBank, and more.

Partnership in research—looking into evolving tech, business and industry trends and issues—is part of VMware’s successful formula.

“Generally, when we invent something, we get rigorously evaluated in the external peer community on the idea itself, our methodology, and the promise and motivation for that work,” explains VMware vice president of Research, Sujata Banerjee.

Commitment to the Multi-Cloud Future

To advance long-term relationships, VMware keeps reimagining its partner ecosystem and experience just as it continually invents and reinvents to bring technology innovations to market. The catalyst for its latest partner program evolution is preparing for a strong multi-cloud future.

“To try to do something brand new in the way the world works today, in complete isolation, doesn't make sense,” says Munro. “The only way that you can build an innovation that is properly impactful is by working with the people who understand that space, so you all bring your relevant expertise and ability to take these innovations to market,” adds Munro.

For VMware, “Working with a partner ecosystem is absolutely essential as is actually working with customers,” he concludes.

A prime example of this strategic co-innovation was on display in August at VMware Explore Las Vegas when VMware and NVIDIA debuted a joint offering for customers to unlock the power of generative AI. VMware Private AI Foundation with NVIDIA enables enterprises to customise models and run generative AI applications, including intelligent chatbots, assistants, search and summarisation.

Also announced at the show was how VMware, NVIDIA, and Domino Data Lab are working together to bring digital transformation to the financial services industry. Financial institutions must carefully balance innovation, risk management, and regulatory compliance to adapt to changing market conditions, find new revenue streams, model risk, engage customers, and automate business processes. This multi-partner collaboration helps provide an optimised, validated, and unified data science and infrastructure platform — enabling organisations to concentrate on deriving more business value from the increased focus.

Thinking about the many more VMware co-innovation success stories, Munro says, “Innovation is really about people standing on the shoulders of brilliant things that have been done before.” And this approach continues to deliver results as VMware furthers its collaboration and co-innovation with customers and partners to keep building the multi-cloud future.

Learn more about VMware innovation here.

1-“The Next Normal: Our 2030 Agenda”, VMware ESG Report 2021