Check out the first blog in this series – What’s a TAM?
Many of you may know the name Tim Wong from one of the 2,441 support cases he tackled during his time as a Confluence senior support engineer. Internally, Tim is known for his vast knowledge of Confluence, ability to create an analogy for anything technical in nature, and his kick &$$ yearly Mojito Love party (this year will make VII). It’s been a little over a year since moving over to the Technical Account Management Team and he’s already created a plethora of strategic and technical resources for our largest enterprise customers. It seemed only right for me to sit down with Tim to pick his brain!
Q1. What motivated you to make the move over to Technical Account Manager (TAM) from Confluence senior support engineer?
A1. In support, you only get to see one facet of a problem: management of the problem, testing, and the execution of a fix. One of the things that attracted me to the TAM position was the ability to have a candid conversation with the customer about the desired end state. Being able to engage in conversations like these allows for the prevention of any sort of issues as opposed to fixing the issue after the fact. As a TAM, I really enjoy the opportunity to plan the avoidance of any issues, and to come to understand where customers intend on going overall as a company.
Q2. Can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do as a TAM?
A2. As a TAM, I spend a large amount of time listening and asking questions. In order to fully understand a customer’s needs, it’s extremely important to first fully define those needs. Once this has been achieved, I work on providing a clear viewpoint, assessment of any possible challenges, and ways to successfully tackle those challenges. My years of experience with Atlassian’s software and as a Confluence senior support engineer provide me with a unique standpoint that I can pass along to our customers.
Q3. What would you say most motivates you as a TAM?
A3. What motivates me most as a TAM is working with customers on finding solutions, learning new features, and further streamlining the scalability process. The fact of the matter is that I’m working with customers who are extremely knowledgable about our software, love a good challenge, and are constantly looking to push the bounds of what has been previously implemented.
One of the things I count most fortunate about being a TAM for Atlassian is that I don’t have to sugarcoat information about our products or our vision. As many of our customers know, the products speak for themselves. I have the ability to be completely genuine about what is reasonable and what’s not.
Q4. What do you find most challenging about being a TAM?
A4. The most challenging aspect is trying to keep a handle on all of the areas that our products touch. As a TAM, I’m representing a class of products where I might be talking to a developer, people leader, development manager, lawyer, operational lead, designer, architect, and/or a CIO all in the same day. The way that a developer tackles a requirement or a need may be different than the way an architect would. This requires me to be multifaceted when it comes to speaking about our software.
Q5. What’s one of the most challenging projects you’ve had in the last year as a TAM?
A5. Earlier this year I worked on designing a standardization game plan for our software that worked with multiple geographic regions. This was all done while managing a large-scale, enterprise-wide, and multiple product upgrade simultaneously. It was a challenging project in that it required the coordination of over 30 systems with a maximum upgrade window of four hours.
Q6. Are there specific goals you have in mind that you’re looking to achieve with each of your customers?
A6. My mission statement is pretty small: “Help you get the most out of your products.” That might mean showing you how best to milk every bit of value from a JIRA installation, or it could mean helping you integrate all of your tools together so that you can see your JIRA report in Confluence or your build status in Stash. Often times this means helping plan out a multi-week effort, and to link up resources to help just in case.
Q7: What are some of the common customer business challenges you encounter?
A7. The majority of large scale enterprise companies are geographically distributed. This means there’s no such thing as quiet or down time. Due to this, there are strict regulations and very specific constraints on deployment/upgrade patterns.
Q8: Is there a common pattern that you see successful enterprise customers following?
A8. Every company is different and as such, it’s hard to come up with a hard and fast trend. The most successful companies are the ones who can trust their employees to make decisions and in doing so, move at a much faster pace. I find that these companies also invest a significant amount of their time into planning and documenting their processes.
Q9. Which one of Atlassian’s values do you resonate with the most?
A9. When I first started with Atlassian, I thought the values were the absolute best thing about the company. Over the last 7 years, I still think so! All five of our values are equally important – you can’t choose just one you have to live and embrace them all to be an Atlassian.
- Open company, no bullshit
- Build with heart and balance
- Don’t #@!% the customer
- Play, as a team
- Be the change you seek
If I had to choose just one I’d say my favorite one of the pack is Be the change you seek. It’s pretty darn instructive – if you don’t like the situation, do something about it! I love that the value encourages you to take action, and that the rest of your team will be there to back you up when you do.
Q10. Have anything special planned for Mojito Love VII?
A10. Nice try. You’ll find out about Mojito Love VII at the same time that everyone else does. This year, it’s gonna be big.
To learn more about the TAM program, get in contact with our Enterprise Advocates.