At VMware, our Technical Account Managers (TAMs) play a vital role in post-sale services and have been essential to assisting organizations in navigating the challenges that COVID-19 has introduced. As highly skilled advocates and advisors who come to intimately know your organization and its objectives, TAMs have become an even more valuable extension of your team. To celebrate the hard work and dedication our TAMs bring to help our customers maintain business continuity, we are showcasing our FY2020 Canadian TAM of the Year: Matt Crape.
Matt Crape is a VMware TAM with over 15 years of industry experience. Prior to joining VMware, Matt was an IT Manager at a construction & engineering firm where he was responsible for IT infrastructure and operations for a head office and its multiple branch offices across Ontario.
Matt is also a VMware vExpert PRO. He enjoys sharing his expertise in vSphere and end-user computing – and the community loves hearing from him. In 2016, his blog was crowned the “Best New Blog” by the vCommunity!
We recently sat down with Matt to talk about the VMware TAM program and his experience in supporting organizations through the new normal.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about your role! What industries do you work with and how would you describe your day-to-day?
Matt: Currently, I am working with the Financial Services and Utilities sectors. The day to day tasks varies quite widely – some days I am working with leadership to help identify ways that VMware’s partnership can help them achieve their business outcomes. Other days I might be in the trenches assisting operations teams to deploy and configure their solutions.
Q: Your days seem full of variety! How long have you worked with VMware and what drew you to join us?
Matt: I came to both VMware and this role in July of 2018, so I am closing in on that 2-year mark. Some days I feel like it has been a lot longer (in a great way!), while other days I still have a realization of how big this company is and how many insanely smart folks are here. There is always something new to learn or discover; the environment is poised in such a way that not only is it easy to find new skills and technologies to learn, but it is actively encouraged.
Q: I’m sure it must be great to bounce ideas off your colleagues. What VMware service are you most excited about today?
Matt: I’m a big fan of VMware HCX; it comes in a few different offerings, but at the end of the day, I believe in the outcome that it delivers: it gives customers the ability to run their workloads on any cloud – be it private, public, or hybrid. Anyone in the IT industry has heard terms such as vendor lock-in. HCX removes a lot of those concerns by allowing you to use whichever Cloud(s) you want, for how long you want.
Q: Let’s talk a little more about the TAM program. Could you describe it and give your thoughts on what VMware does differently?
Matt: The TAM program from VMware is an interesting one; I’ve interfaced with TAMs from other organizations in the past, and I have to say VMware’s interpretation stands out from the rest. Typically, we are “hands-off keyboard”, that is to say, we aren’t the ones who are actively deploying solutions. However, we are quite often right there with the teams during the process. We can be active in the planning, testing, and deployment stages, and we often find ourselves being liaisons with our GSS team to ensure that we have all our necessary bases covered.
On the flip side, we also do a lot of business-focused work. One of the biggest benefits a TAM brings is being an interface between an organization’s leadership and the operations teams. We work with leadership to help define and understand what the business needs to achieve. We then work with the operations and engineering teams to put the solutions in place to achieve those business outcomes.
Q: You mentioned understanding and defining business goals. Could you expand on how TAMs assist customers throughout their journey?
Matt: Having defined business outcomes is just one part of creating a successful partnership. Being able to help create a roadmap, and measure success is just as important. You can throw all the technological solutions you want at a problem, but if you don’t have a path to get there, and don’t know how you can measure success, it will not be very efficient. TAMs can help with this, whether it is workshops with key staff to understand what is at hand, or being able to collect and analyze tangible metrics, we want to be there with you. Ultimately, TAMs are there to help our customers be as successful as possible.
Q: You must have a unique experience in assisting customers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Could you dive a little deeper into how TAMs are helping customers navigate the “new normal”? What are some of the questions you’re hearing the most from customers today?
Matt: The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown our everyday lives out of alignment in many ways and our customers are no exception. We have heard a lot of questions around EUC (end-user computing) and VDI in light of new work-from-home policies. Most organizations already had platforms in place, however, the majority of them have never had to scale up to this capacity – this quickly – which spelled numerous problems.
Similarly, a lot of large organizations are seeing a large increase in their customer-facing systems. As customers are limited to where they can go, more transactions are being conducted over the internet. This has led to many questions around scaling, infrastructure monitoring, as well as overall proactive health.
Q: What would you say to an organization looking to start or expand their infrastructure? Why is risk mitigation especially important in today’s environment?
Matt: Having a healthy network environment with minimal risk is always important. That said, I think the importance has increased tremendously in the past few weeks. As workloads surge, something as simple as visiting a data centre and swapping out hardware has become more difficult. Whether due to social distancing or dealing with the logistics of getting hardware shipped to a data centre, these additional constraints can rear its head when faced with incidents. Ensuring environments are healthy and happy can greatly reduce the impact of these new restrictions. Virtualization helps alleviate some of those risks, but ultimately, organizations need to understand what those risks are, prioritize, and mitigate them as many as possible.
Q: Thanks for the insight! To close off, tell us one fact about yourself that we might not expect.
Matt: I am a firm believer and lover of pineapple on pizza; let the debate begin 😊
Q: You may encounter some strong positions on that. What’s the best way to reach you and stay up to date on the world of TAMs (and controversial pizza toppings)?
VMware TAMs are a key ingredient in ensuring customers reach their business goals, long after the sale is over. They provide business, technology, and people-focused insights that empower organizations to fully utilize and optimize their SDDC infrastructures to better meet their business priorities. Whether it is creating education plans and knowledge assessments or helping organizations scale up to meet the demands of the new normal, our VMware TAMs are there to help every step of the way.
Learn more about the people that make up VMware Canada by visiting the Community tag on the VMware Canada Blog.