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Case Study

Beam provides VMware with improved integration, greater community engagement

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VMware, Inc., with headquarters in Palo Alto, CA, is a subsidiary of Dell Technologies that supports enterprise customers with cloud computing and platform visualization software and solutions. With 500,000 customers worldwide, the company is a global leader in cloud and business mobility, offering companies modern data and innovative apps to facilitate their efforts to respond rapidly to emerging opportunities.

Reflecting a commitment to customer outreach, VMware’s digital marketing department maintains a robust social media community comprising 3–4 million members, along with 2000 advocacy experts and 1,000 bloggers, and engages 100,000 unique visitors per day for issues including tech support and other web properties.

Promoting Effective Telecommuting

Despite the obvious advantages for a technology leader such as VMware, maintaining company headquarters in Silicon Valley creates certain challenges. A spiraling housing crisis, along with worsening commute traffic, makes telecommuting an increasingly attractive option. Acting on an enthusiastic recommendation from a partner organization, VMware decided to purchase several Beams. It offered its employees the opportunity to work from home 2–3 days a week, providing each with a Beam to optimize visibility and effectiveness at the corporate office.

These remote employees adopted Beam enthusiastically, valuing its role in sustaining collaborations while permitting them to maintain a day-to-day presence at headquarters. In particular, they recognized the Beam App’s role in optimizing personal autonomy by allowing them to “beam in” and circulate freely without scheduling or setup challenges. Both remote “pilots” and on-site personnel comment on the product’s superior audio and video, reporting approvingly that it creates the sense that the pilot is in the room.

Moreover, Beam has allowed VMware to retain corporate office employees who opt to move out of the Bay Area. When the company relied on technologies such as Skype, FaceTime or email, these arrangements frequently resulted in job losses, since virtual relationships with other team members eroded or failed to develop. In contrast, Beam’s technology goes far beyond transmission of faces and dialogue, supporting new and continued partnerships by conveying personality and promoting familiarity across distances.

VMware’s remote employees can utilize Beam to maintain a daylong presence at their desks or take advantage of its reliable mobility to navigate throughout the office and visit or meet local personnel. As they experience rewarding interactions and develop genuine relationships via the device, their willingness to use it grows accordingly. In fact, VMware’s adoption of Beam has been so successful that the company modified the office layout, removing numerous cubicles to create space for a Beam meet-up area, allowing both pilots and local personnel to break away from their desks and collaborate in a less restrictive setting.

"When we are having meetings, our remote workers on Beam can drive right up to conference table and see everything. We feel like they are in the room."

Integrating a Global Workforce

VMware’s international marketing division includes three primary groups located in Singapore, France and the UK. Employees in these overseas geo-marketing groups have discovered that “beaming in” allows them to participate more fully in meetings in the corporate office, increasing their attendance, enjoyment and productivity. An unexpected benefit of these office visits has been random meetings between two or more remote employees, producing opportunities for cross-pollination across international marketing groups.

Additionally, the company has placed Beams in all three locations, allowing marketing staff at the corporate office to “drop in” whenever necessary. Beyond improving global integration, these interactions often foster long-distance friendships that create future potential for working partnerships. Beam’s positive impact on global integration has allowed VMware to reduce its reliance on air travel; the company estimates that the telepresence device replaces approximately 20 flights annually.


Improving Community Engagement

VMware has successfully employed Beam to improve integration across its diverse, geographically dispersed community, while increasing engagement between community members and the company. For example, since VMware’s online community relies heavily on the know-how of global advocacy experts, the company has begun inviting these experts to “beam in” to podcasted community roundtables, fostering dynamic interactions that provide relevant solutions and ideas to audiences upwards of 10,000 listeners.

Moreover, VMware has deployed several Beams at its annual VMworld conference, seeking to provide community members with a genuine experience of the event at no cost. The device’s Beam Manager app simplifies scheduling, allowing community members to engage with other users while experiencing the brand more fully.

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