Late August into early September—my favorite time of the year. Why? Because it’s time for VMworld, which means it’s also time for TAM Customer Day and TAM Customer Central.
I know people laugh when I call this my favorite time of year, but it’s true. TAM events at VMworld are some of the most rewarding things I work on, and have been ever since I joined VMware over nine years ago.
The reason I find it so rewarding is that it’s a great opportunity our TAM customers cannot get anywhere else. They gain so much value in such a short time. They get to have in-depth conversations with VMware business leaders, interact with their peers, and network with people within their industry or who have similar challenges and use cases in their business. It’s a time when our customers feel like they are really being heard.
The other reason why I love this time of year so much is that I get to see the value and the joy that it provides my fellow TAMs. They work so hard all year to advocate for our TAM customers, this is the time it all comes together. VMworld is our most important annual event and it gives us the chance to meet face to face with our customers. We get to talk about issues, and line up meetings and discussions for our customers with the people who can listen and help. This one week drives much of what we do all year long.
What’s planned for this year?
VMworld begins Sunday, August 28 and runs through Thursday, September 1. The event is at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Conference Center in Las Vegas. If you haven’t already planned to attend VMworld, you should register now. TAM Customer Day will be held August 28. The day starts with an invitation-only VIP breakfast for our full-time TAM customers. Every year we feature industry expert speakers on a variety of topics addressing our customers’ top priorities.
The General Session will start in the main conference hall and will include a welcome by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell. Next, there will be five breakout sessions centered on discussing key customer challenges. There is a lunch and award session, during which we award customers who have done creative, unique things with our solutions and provided incredible value to their companies.
We then have “Ask the Experts” breakout sessions. In these sessions, over 100 VMware subject matter experts make themselves available to answer the specific concerns of our customers.
The final session of the day is a CTO panel, during which customers can participate in Q&A. After this, there will be a session close and reception.
What has changed since last year?
After last year’s event, we received feedback that our customers wanted more technical-level sessions, as well as smaller groups for more focused attention. In response to that, we’ve focused breakout sessions around some of our key customer challenges such as management automation, the vSphere platform, and mobility. These sessions are hosted by product teams, business unit leaders, and technical marketers. We’ve increased the time set aside for these sessions so our customers can make the most of them.
We’ve also expanded our “Ask the Experts” sessions because these sessions have been the most popular amongst our customers. There will be over 100 tables at this event and more time set aside for participation in these sessions, as well. During “Ask the Experts”, customers can focus on very specific technical aspects of VMware products and tools.
The CTO panel is a new addition to TAM Customer Day and is also in response to our customers’ desire to include more technical content in the event. At the end of the panel, customers will be able to ask questions of our CTOs and thought leaders. They’ll get a peek into what they can look forward to from VMware, and provide input to the people who actually drive VMware’s vision and strategy.
Beyond TAM Customer Day, what other TAM activities are happening at VMworld?
TAM Customer Day became so large that we decided to extend this exclusive experience throughout the entire week of VMworld. Five years ago, we started TAM Customer Central, which quickly became popular. In our first year, we had a couple hundred attendees. Last year, there were 1,700 customer visits.
TAM Customer Central runs Monday through Thursday, and provides a great experience to TAM customers. During these sessions, you participate in intimate, highly interactive discussions that pertain specifically to your business. If you are unable to attend TAM Customer Day, work with your TAM to make use of Customer Central. Your TAM can help you plan the week to be sure you engage in activities that are the most critical and most important to you and your business.
What should I do now to get ready for VMworld and TAM Customer Central?
First, if you haven’t already, you should register. Next, work with your TAM to plan your time at VMworld. This is your chance to discuss your challenges, ask questions, and gain insight into VMware strategy and future solutions. These opportunities are simply not available anywhere else but VMworld. During our exclusive TAM events, you get to provide input, discuss your specific needs, and speak in person with people who can take your input and influence future VMware products.
The VMworld Schedule Builder opens July 19, and only TAM customers will be able to register for the deep dive sessions available through TAM Customer Central. If you need more information or want to confirm your registration, talk to your TAM Keep in mind these sessions fill quickly.
I hope to see you at VMworld, and I especially hope to see you at our various TAM events during the week. Like me, maybe you, too, will come to think of this as the most wonderful time of year.
Cheryl Eagan is a Principal Technical Account Manager for VMware based in Georgia.