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.