VMware 2020 discussion focuses on “Design Principles of Modern Apps”

On Tuesday, VMware kicked off its annual conference, VMworld. The first day of the virtual event featured a “Design Principles of Modern Apps” session with insights from IDEO and VMware representatives.


Image: VMware

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, VMware kicked off its annual conference VMworld virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first day of VMworld 2020 featured numerous announcements, including the company’s intent to acquire SaltStack. 

Tuesday’s kickoff was filled with virtual question-and-answer sessions, “Quick Talks,” fireside chats, and more. The afternoon schedule featured a session titled “Design Principles of Modern Apps” including a discussion with Iain Roberts, COO at IDEO, Andrew Nusca, digital editor at Fortune, and Edward Hieatt, SVP services and support at VMware. Below, we’ve detailed the highlights from this specific session.

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VMware 2020: Design Principles of Modern Apps

On Tuesday, VMware announced expansions to accelerate infrastructure and app modernization efforts for customers including a partnership with GitLab as well as Tanzu support updates spanning VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure VMware Solution, and Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. Tanzu is VMware’s Kubernetes platform. During the discussion, Hieatt detailed how Tanzu had enabled organizations to adapt to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

As an example, Hieatt noted VMware’s work with retailer, Dick’s Sporting Goods. The adoption of Tanzu prior to the onset of COVID-19 enabled Dick’s to readily react as lockdown measures took hold and consumer retail shopping habits shifted, Hieatt said. In less than two weeks, Dick’s was able to offer a curbside pick-up app.

Roberts also detailed how the coronavirus pandemic is shifting the way organizations view legacy systems and operations. Roberts explained that a thorough understanding of the systems a company is built on has historically been part of the CTO’s role, however, it now needs to be central to the “reign of the CEO.”

Nusca posed a question to Roberts about whether organizations with poor design culture can change. Interestingly, Roberts emphasized that organizations are an assortment of subcultures rather than existing as an organizational monoculture. If an organization hopes to change its approach and culture, it must embrace one of the other subcultures, Roberts said. Although, Roberts said that it is difficult for companies to shed this prevailing culture.

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Modern apps and VMware’s global study

Modern applications are enabling organizations to address the myriad challenges presented by COVID-19 while accelerating digital transformation efforts, according to a recent VMware survey. The report titled “Successful Digital Transformation: Apps At The Ready” details VMware’s key findings.

The top digital transformation efforts organizations reported prioritized were improving business efficiency, enhancing customer experience, and upgrading existing platforms, per VMware. More than half of respondents (54%) believe the main benefit of cloud-native apps amid the coronavirus pandemic is the ability to enable remote teams. About four-in-10 (42%) said the main benefit was “pushing quick updates in response to changing landscape” and 41% said these apps help maintain reliable uptime.

“VMware’s recent study — Successful Digital Transformation: Applications At The Ready — proved that COVID-19 has accelerated digital-transformation efforts, and that modern applications are playing a big role,” said Hieatt via email.

“Specifically our research found that modern, cloud-native applications have enabled organizations to set up remote workforces, push updates in response to the changing landscape, and maintain reliable uptime and continued revenue – allowing their business to not only survive, but also have the potential to thrive during the pandemic,” Hieatt continued.

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