In my previous post I wanted to talk about the project I am working on at VMware and why I am about to hit the road and go listen to a number of customers. I ended up rambling about how to listen to customers, what to listen for and so on and never got to describe the project. So here it goes.
VMware has a huge number of deployed customers that have virtualized all kinds of workloads (a term we use to describe what runs within a virtual machine). As it often happens, customers are using our technology in ways that we may not have anticipated.
Also, some customers have been more aggressive than others about their use of virtualization technology and have virtualized most of their infrastructure, while others have virtualized 1000’s of servers but mostly within the realm of a given type of workload (say web servers).
The main question we are trying to answer is: what is the typical virtualization journey?
Is there a typical journey in the first place? Is there one by industry? Company size? Workload type?
In my first month here at VMware, I talked to many smart people (primarily people close to the customers such as in professional service, system engineers, sales etc) and I got some good answers to the above questions. What I want to do now is to go directly to the source and find out from our customers and from their perspective how they achieved high level of virtualization and why.
A Different type of Listening
If you read my previous post on listening to customers, it was inspired by years of working in either a product management or product development capacity. In that context, I was typically meeting customers to validate a new product idea or gather input for a new release of an existing product. This time is different.
I don’t have an idea to validate or requirements to gather. I don’t really have a preconceived notion of what I am going to find out. I am just going out there, listen and learn what our customers have done with VMware technology.
This is not going to be a quantitative type of research. It is going to be qualitative. We want to find out
- When – the project started and finished
- Why – the project got started
- What – was virtualized
- What – products were used
- How – it was done
- Who – drove the project
- Who – helped
- Who – sponsored it
- What – were the technical and business results
- What – processes and organizations changed as a result
- How/When/Why – the project influenced the next one
This last point is critical. We really want to understand the relationship between multiple virtualization projects and how they come together in an overall journey (when they do).
We selected a number of customers in different geographies and in different stages of virtualization adoption. Cant’ wait to meet them.
Let the learning begin!!