Monthly Archives: August 2014

Gen Y’s Perspective on Microsoft Services




As many of you may already know, Microsoft has a very ‘cool’ program named MACH—Microsoft Academy for College Hire—which mainly focuses on identifying top talent among young graduates and equip them with knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences required in professional life.


Those who have participated in the MACH program tend to land in senior roles at Microsoft.


Haddy El-Haggan and Sean Wasonga are two of these top young talents, who were spotted among thousands of applicants. Now as part of their “on-the-job training” they are working for Microsoft Services. We wanted to take this chance to benefit from their fresh perspectives and Generation Y’s point of view by asking them couple of questions about their life at Microsoft Services.



What’s your role at Microsoft?



I am an associate TAM in Services for South Africa


I am an associate TAM in Services for Microsoft Gulf and based in Dubai.




What are the top 3 things you like (or don’t like) about your role in Services, or about services in general?



First of all, the role en visions both the Business element and the Technical Side, which is presenting value of Microsoft Solutions in Technology and business for our customers.

This makes Technical Account Manager a trusted advisor to the customer and a sales resource to the business.


As we move into being a Devices and Services company, Services will play a pivotal aspect in the transformation of the organization. Having a role in Services, will give me the privilege to be a key element for this transformation.


The other thing I like, is the ‘tools’ we have. There are a variety of tools that can be used in Services , they are used for several reasons, such as easing of communication for customers, providing deliveries for them in a proper structure such as Unicorn, Axis, SDP and more…



First thing I like about my role is the opportunity of having a direct relationships with customers. It gives you the experience in both technical and relationship management side of the business. 


My role also encourages me to follow latest trends in the market, which is an ongoing learning process. And seeing the way we are embracing these trends to our daily business makes me more eager about my job.

The last thing is; the future is all about services. For example, we don’t measure success by just sales numbers, we want our services to be used and make our customer lives easier.


How much of your time you end up spending with customers, and how much for internal activities?



So far, interactions with customers have been quite a few, as the team is focusing on new financial year planning, but normally the interactions with customers is about 60-70 % of my time and 30-40 % for internal activities.

The customer interactions are mostly through proactive services (Trainings, workshops, Risk assessment).

But Microsoft Services has also reactive engines such as 24/7 Critical situations operations, Problem Resolution Services. The ones who are working for these groups spend their entire time with customers.



It really depends, there are days where we spend our entire time with our customers. Either in their office or having back to back calls to be able to understand their needs. And sometimes we focus on internal activities. Technology is changing everyday so we need to be up to date with relevant trainings and learning opportunities.



How important is CPE (Customer and Partner Experience) for services?


CPE is very important in the services, especially for the Technical Account Manager role. Customer and Partner Experience score is a key metric for a TAM. There are surveys to get customer feedback and based on these surveys we are able to see if we could deliver what was expected form us.



It is not important, it is actually the nature of the business itself. It’s all about customer satisfaction. Our core commitment is enabling our customer through Microsoft technologies, making their lives easier, making their businesses more productive. If they are not happy, it means that our job is not done yet.




What role Services plays in the company transformation?



Microsoft is transforming to a devices and services company. For a successful transformation, Services has the key element of presenting value of our products/Solutions to our customers.



Microsoft Services is a strategic segment for Microsoft. The way I see, Microsoft Services’ success enables all other segments in Microsoft. And it’s the same for the company’s transformation. With all organizational and people capabilities, Services is the key engine for a successful transformation to a Devices and Services company.


What’s the most difficult (funny) situation you have faced in your role?



I attended a chalk and talk session on Configuration Manager at ABSA group, it was being delivered by the Premier Field Engineer of configuration manager. We walked into the presentation room with the PFE and sat at different parts of the room, as I was a visitor and I was given a Barclays Tag.

When the Client came in, he asked where I was from, I said “Kenya”. His assumption was that, I was a representative of Barclays Kenya (Because of the Tag).

Throughout the session he kept explaining banking IT concepts to me, and how they can be influenced to help both ABSA and Barclays, people I should reach out to in the organization.

In the end he realized that I was Microsoft and we all had a good laugh.


How is your collaboration with other groups in Microsoft? (EPG, SMSP, Marketing… etc.)



Technical Account Manager is a Trusted Advisor and a Sales Resource. The most successful renewals take place when the TAM and the assigned seller are agreed on what actions each will do through the sales process.

The guidance services provides, is a best practice and more often result in better outcomes.

However, real success only comes with PARTNERSHIP between the Technical Account Manager and the Seller. (In either EPG – Enterprise and Partners Group or SMS&P – Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners)



I am very new to the job, to be able to give a clear answer on this one, but EPG and Services have strong ties as two business groups. They are ultimately aiming for the same outcome. EPG sells Microsoft products and solutions and Services makes sure that customer has the best experience with these products and solutions. Services job is basically making customers’ live easier with capable technical people strong know-how such as in deployment to risk assessment, trainings or relevant business solutions scenarios etc. And it’s all about enabling customers through Microsoft Solutions.



Where and when do you see your next role (move) within Microsoft?



Coming from a specialist Technical background (Computer Security), the Opportunities to grow in services are immense, for now the TAM role will give me a defined understanding of the business element in Services, as my next role I would like to move into the Premier Field Engineer role specialism in either Security or application development management, in 1- 2 year period.



Need more time to come-up with an answer for this one 🙂



We wish good luck to Sean and Haddy for their unique journey at Microsoft and especially at Microsoft Services.



Learn more about MACH Program

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wondering if making a change is right for you? Laila, a TAM in Saudi says: “Go for it! Don’t be afraid!”

Laila Bukhari, a passionate believer in technology and a great example of a female TAM in Services, started her journey at MS as a MACH. Since she joined MS, she experienced how the company appreciates talent while working with inspirational people. A little bit about herself, Laila studied Computer Science and worked in several organizations including MIT in the US before moving to her current role at MS. Let’s meet our talent and explore her journey further.

Laila Bukhari

So how did your journey start with MS?

Officially in 2012, I was hired as a MACH under the Services TAM track. I was pleasantly surprised of how welcoming and supportive the environment was, given I had an accelerated start as I covered a fellow-MACH while she was on maternity leave. As such, I started managing my colleagues’ commercial accounts during my third week at Microsoft!

I was a back-up TAM for 3 months for customer based in the Western region (Jeddah), and I can honestly say it was an incredibly valuable learning experience. Since being in a customer facing role, you are expected to manage your customer during the good and the bad times, but still quite valuable. The best achievement I recall was helping to position the first Premier Mission Critical (PMC) offering in Saudi Arabia and the third in MEA. Credit to my wonderful TAM colleague for closing that opportunity and delivering it, so it was really special to have my name included in the announcement for PMC, it is a great example of being part of a company and a team who knows when to say ‘thank you’ and ‘good job’!

I then relocated to the Eastern region (Al-Khobar) to manage accounts. There were no female TAMs in the East, so I was the first female TAM. I worked closely with a great peer mentor on the account handover, and during that time (Ramadan), a massive cyber-security attack hit my customer, causing a huge crisis for them and some of their affiliates. As an immediate call to action, my colleague and I mobilized the remediation efforts, I cancelled my vacation plans and worked very closely, around the clock, to ensure we had the best resources onsite and offsite available for the customer. Eventually, and with the great support of our army of PFE’s, consultants, CTS and GTSC engineers we were able to rebuild the customer’s IT infrastructure.

Looking back at this experience, I can say it wasn’t the best situation for my customer, but nevertheless, it was a rewarding learning experience, and as a result, my relationship with my customer grew stronger, positioning me as a trusted advisor.


“Come as you are, do what you love” – so from this inspiration, could you please let us know your experience so far as a female Technical Account Manager based in Saudi? What is the best part of your job and what do you like best about working at MS as a female employee?

I am quite an extrovert, I like getting into interesting discussions (technically and philosophically) about what I’m reading, what I’m doing (inside and outside of work) and what I intend to do. I am also a risk taker, I like to challenge the status quo, and this has worked well with my customers, and has paved a way for me to position critical services in a timely manner and capitalize on them, which strengthened Microsoft’s footprint in my accounts in general and my advisory status with my customer in specific. As such, as a TAM, the best part of my job is making an impact on our customers and helping them solve real-life issues as well as optimizing what already exists. As a female working at Microsoft, the best part of my job is working in a female-friendly and supportive environment with talented and inspiring people, especially our female colleagues (shout out to the PHENOMENAL ladies of MS Arabia)! I learn a lot from the great people I work with and I draw inspiration from them.


What advice would you give to other females from your country/area, potentially considering joining Microsoft?

I would say “Go for it & Don’t be afraid!” Our region and country is rapidly changing and there is great potential, so challenge yourself and be part of the change. Know that this company has many areas you can explore, so this is your chance, don’t shy away!

If you are considering to work for Microsoft, you’re in the right direction! Keep in mind that this is a company that challenges you and it is worth it!


Thanks Laila!  If you’re interested in seeing what careers are available for you, you can do that here!



Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at