April 16, 2020
Last month I shared a perspective on COVID-19 and this extraordinary time when ‘business as usual’ is not an option. In the weeks since, the crisis has evolved rapidly, with some areas seeing their infection rates decrease, while other regions approach the peak of the pandemic.
Regardless of your location, the truth is that we are all living through a stressful and traumatic period. Many of us are mourning the loss of loved ones, and together we’re working through the challenge of how best to care for children, elderly parents, friends, neighbors and the health of our communities.
It’s clear that this is a marathon and not a sprint. We will be forever changed by this collective experience, and I believe we will emerge with a different perspective in critical areas, including how we work, learn, care for the sick and sustain community.
As I see it, we’re moving through three phases. The first phase is triage: the immediate response when time is of the essence and it’s all about urgent action to help those most in need. The second phase is embracing our new normal, where we’re challenging old assumptions and adopting more efficient and empathetic ways of operating. The third phase is about new opportunities, where we drive systemic and structural changes for the better in areas like health, education and work.
In the midst of the crisis, I am more convinced than ever that we have the resilience, the grit and the resourcefulness to get through this together. I am heartened by the many stories, big and small, of how people are doing everything in their power to address urgent needs and find solutions that work. I am inspired by the VMware employees around the world who are taking the initiative to help people on the front lines of the crisis.
Case in point: over the last few weeks a global group of VMware employees created a solution making it dramatically easier for businesses and individuals around the world to contribute their idle GPU and CPU cycles to fuel the Folding@Home Project – a critical initiative that helps researchers understand the protein misfolding that marks diseases like COVID-19.
Also inspiring to me is Resource19, a brand-new nonprofit initiative founded by a VMware employee that connects a global network of personal-protective equipment (PPE) suppliers with hospitals in need. Since launching just 2 weeks ago, this network has already served 2,000 users who have shipped 50,000 masks and 4,000 face shields, along with 40 open-source designs for medical devices and parts. In a similar vein, a team from VMware India supplied 10,000 protective masks to the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital of Chest Diseases in Bangalore, delivering a higher level of protection to hospital staff working long shifts to treat COVID-19 patients.
Equally powerful are the stories of customers who are innovating in creative ways to make a difference. Vanderbilt University Medical Center recently transformed an empty parking garage into a much-needed COVID-19 screening area for their adult hospital, and the VMware team was thrilled to support that effort. In Ohio, one of the largest state healthcare systems built pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics throughout remote parts of the state, using VMware wide-area networking (SD-WAN) services to rapidly scale and deliver. Government agencies around the world are using our digital workspace solutions to empower their mobile teams, ensuring uninterrupted delivery of critical services like health, public safety, water, electricity, refuse collection, and the list goes on. At VMware we’ve been delivering business continuity solutions for many years, and it’s gratifying to see the foundational role they’re playing now, when we’re relying on technology more than ever.
What I love about these stories is what they say about our collective response in a time of crisis. As a global community, we are smart, compassionate and resourceful. Our instinct is to reach out across boundaries to make things happen. We overcome hurdles and we look for ways to deliver a solution directly into the hands of those most in need.
These are the qualities that will help us push through this incredibly challenging chapter. And they are the values that will propel us forward when we emerge on the other side of this crisis.