Roland König, Head of Virtualization at Bechtle AG, VMware’s largest German partner, talks about the journey they have gone on from being a server virtualization partner towards supporting full business digital transformations – and why the decentralisation of IT has changed their business model
We began working with VMware as its first EMEA partner – offering server virtualization – in 2002. Our solutions have always been developed in line with VMware’s product roadmap, so it’s been a big journey – one that’s taken us from virtual servers to virtual desktops to software-defined data centers and on to supporting Cross-Cloud.
In fact, when I think about the first project we worked on, I can’t believe how simple it was. With server virtualization, you knew immediately how you could help the customer, because you could see they had too many servers and virtualizing them would reduce that number. But the industry has changed. The solutions we offer now go far beyond just helping the IT team. In fact, I know VMware researched the issue recently and found 64% of business leaders in Germany are seeing technology management move away from IT. With technology decentralized, we have the power to have a real business impact on the company, its staff – and its customers.
For us, that means creating a business model where we provide a consulting service at the outset, with a dedicated team asking customers what the organisation’s challenges are and where they want to be in five years. That’s no longer a question just for the IT team – it’s something we ask all the different business departments individually. It might be a digital transformation being embarked upon, but that doesn’t always mean having technical discussions.
We knew we had to evolve with the decentralization of IT and move to this model after repeatedly finding that the IT team’s view of business challenges and the services they were providing were different to what was needed from them by other departments.
I was recently talking to a customer, a well-known EMEA-wide sporting goods company we’d been speaking to about digital transformation. The needs of different teams meant they were provisioning their own cloud services as they felt they didn’t have the flexibility from IT to support their actual needs. Unbeknownst to IT, over $1 million was being put on credit cards to pay multiple clouds through Amazon Web Services each year. All on top of existing expenditure. After we unearthed this trend, this is where our solutions architects came in. They create a blueprint showing the direct outcomes for each aspect of business transformation. In this case, that meant working with IT to create a software-defined environment that could help them be more agile to the needs of the organisation, but while keeping control on all IT spend. That meant helping them support multiple clouds with the same flexibility they had before, but in one centralized environment, so the IT team can now see usage across the estate – leading to a cost reduction of 30%.
The old proverb says, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ – and that’s something we find with IT deployments now. Gone are the days where one consultant could go in and create a private cloud environment single handedly with the IT team. IT might be at the heart of a digital transformation, but it’s understanding how it can truly help the broader organisation with its challenges that you’ll have the greatest success – and that means having a consultancy team who can go in and speak to the different business stakeholders. VMware’s Cross-Cloud solutions have helped us evolve from one person having one conversation with an IT team for a project to the decentralization of IT leading to a whole team having the conversations that will inform how a digital transformation can support a whole organisation to achieve its goals – and we’d encourage other partners to adopt a similar approach.