Plenty of confidence to go around at VMWorld

Pat Gelsinger
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. (Image: VMware)

Even VMware's enemies are impressed them



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15 September 2017 | 0

Billy MacInnesWhat’s the best vote of confidence someone can get in what they’re doing? For politicans, it’s lining up fellow members of their party to give speeches in their support and vote for them in any vote of confidence called by opposition parties. For embattled leaders of organisations, it’s a vote of support from the board. For football managers, it’s the message of support from the chairman (although this can often be followed fairly swiftly by their sacking).

Now they’re all fine and well in their own way, but the confidence being expressed in all of those instances comes from people interested in protecting the leaders under fire. For instance, if the football manager goes, who takes the blame for his initial appointment and the failure that follows? Once the football manager has left, where do the fans direct their ire? Yes, you’ve guessed it, the chairman.

Similarly, for political parties, if a leader is under fire and the party doesn’t unite behind him or her, what message does that convey to voters? And how does that embolden and strengthen the opposition?

But if the people taking the vote of confidence or offering strong messages of support are people with a vested interest in preserving the employment of the person they are supporting so publicly, what value does that endorsement really have in terms of the true competency of the person being supported?

So, when you stop think about it, the most effective vote of confidence and the most powerful endorsement is one that comes not from the people you expect but from those you don’t: the competition.

Earned respect
Imagine if politicians on the other side of the divide spoke up in support of the beleaguered figure opposite them. How effective would that be? True, some cynics might argue they were doing it to try and keep the person in place because that would be more damaging to the party than forcing him or her to resign. But I’m sure a lot of ordinary people would pause and reflect on how and why a person could garner support from rival parties and it would make them think more favourably about that person.

I’m not sure how effective this would be in a football setting because any support from opposing managers or fans would be viewed with great suspicion. It would be hard for fans of the club with a struggling manager not to suspect rival fans were urging them to keep the boss because it would make them easier to beat.

Anyway, the reason for this discussion is a comment made at VMWorld Europe by vice president and general manager for Northern Europe David Parry-Jones. Discussing VMware’s Workspace One digital workspace platform, he noted that HP Inc had just announced it was going to add the VMware unified endpoint management solution to its Device-as-a-Service technology platform.

“Who is the last company in the world HP would want to invest in?,” he asked. Dell was his reply. And the ultimate owner of VMware and the Workspace One technology is Dell. So the fact HP had invested in the technology, Parry-Jones argued, was a ringing endorsement of its effectiveness.

The interesting thing here is not that the relationship is new because it isn’t. HP originally announced a deal to use Airwatch (which is the product that powers Workspace ONE), for mobile application and device management back in October 2014.

So HP was already happy with the technology although you could argue that was a different HP because the deal was made before it split into two separate companies. Anyway, the point is that after Dell announced plans to acquire EMC and, by extension, VMware, in October 2015 (plans which were completed in September 2016), HP has now reiterated its confidence in the technology, despite the fact it is ultimately owned by its biggest competitor.

It also provides a vote of confidence in Pat Gelsinger’s insistence at a press briefing at VMWorld Europe that independence was an important part of VMware’s relationship with Dell. “I don’t work for Michael Dell, I work for a board of directors,” he said. You could argue that HP Inc publicly endorsed Gelsinger’s view on VMware’s independence when it adopted the company’s Workspace One technology.

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