It’s 2021, my 15 year anniversary in operational IT. I decide to make a bold move – a complete change career wise. I step away from the customer world, away from the day-to-day severity one calls, away from leading a team, and away from pretty much everything I’ve learnt – or have I?

So, if you are one of those LinkedIn or Twitter folks, you will know I have made the move to work for VMware. This may not be a shock to some of you, I have posted numerous times about their products, talked at their conferences, even been for a cheeky pre-covid beer with a few of their team – but this wasn’t some well-concocted plan to get a job there – not at all. On a very basic level, it was down to a few simple reasons, their products are excellent – thats why I championed them, much like I have with Okta, Fortinet, Terraform, etc, but on a human level – everyone I’ve come across has been helpful, friendly and knowledgable.

Before I carry on, I want to take a minute to thank everyone at Stagecoach, for what was an incredible 7 years. I was very fortunate to oversee an almost complete transformation in not just the technology, but the attitude and culture of the business. Much like the leaders there, who firmly believe that technology will re-invest public transport, I believe what the team at Stagecoach are doing is superb – even more impressive given the restrictions in place in the UK.

I was able to sit down in my final week and think about what I had achieved whilst there, its quite a list:

  • Virtualising entire physical estate onto vSphere
  • Numerous SAN refreshes
  • Design, build and migration of primary datacenter
  • Migration of entire user base from IBM Notes to Office 365
  • Adoption of Microsoft Teams and Collaboration platform
  • Implmentation of Okta IDaaS platform
  • Migration of all end user devices to Workspace One UEM
  • 230+ site SD-WAN implmentation

Those are the technology implementations, but weirdly, those aren’t what I’m most proud about. People who read my blogs will know I’m a firm believer in people first – and the culture that I’ve left behind will be what I will miss the most. I’m not for a second claiming I’m the reason for the positive culture, but I hope everyone who I’ve worked with will say its been fun, hard work – but my word we’ve delivered and laughed and joked along the way.

So, why VMware and what am I going to do now?

I am aware moving from a customer to vendor role is quite a transition, so if I was going to do it, it had to be firstly a company I believed in, one whose products I knew well and knew delivered. Secondly, I have been fortunate to be invited out to a few social events with the VMware team, and have always felt supported as a customer. Most importantly though, I always felt they were fun, didn’t take themselves too seriously as a vendor or as people, and I feel that would be a good fit for my personality and how I’ve always portrayed myself.

So what am I doing at VMware? I’m a Core SE, or in lay man terms – I sit across all of the VMware product portfolio, listening to our customers, building relationships and helping them choose a product that hits their business goals. I’m fortunate (I think) that I’ve sat on the other side of that table, and hopefully my experience will allow me to grasp the challenges that the business and tech teams are on the end of.

Having said that, there is an awful lot to learn, not just the product side of things, but the processes, and how a business such as VMware can operate at such a scale and so successfully. And thats before I get used to presenting far more regularly than I have in the past. It’s going to be a challenge that for sure, but up to now, I’m really enjoying it.

How’s it going?

Well day #1 was awesome. I had my VMware provided iPhone and MBP delivered to me in advance, onboarding was easy, literally followed some simple instructions sent to my email. I was up and running within a couple of hours and most of that was waiting for the apps to download on my awful Internet connection. This was Workspace One at its best, and although I’ve had the pleasure of being on the admin side of it – it was great to see it from a user perspective too.

At the time of writing this I’m in week 4. I’ve already presented to my colleagues, and been part of a panel on our all-hands call for the UK and Ireland, which has been fun and a really good experience for me. Most importantly though, I’ve had the chance to speak to some customers who have some really interesting challenges – all completely different and its so interesting

I’ve had so many people reach out to me internally offering help which believe me, I will be taking them up on those offers! It’s so interesting to see how much preparation is done internally to ensure that customer engagements are so productive and that we make use of the precious time that people have nowadays.

Over the next few months, I’ll try and keep the blogs up – although I’m sure there will be a slowdown as I try and focus on learning how to do my job to a decent standard but anything that I can share, I will do!

As always, thanks for reading.