(To mark the end of the year we are posting every day through January 1 with lighter vSphere and VMware topics. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. See them all via the “2019 Wrap Up” tag!)
From time to time we are asked about the roles inside VMware. This sometimes happens when we use a lot of jargon, like “need to open an SR with GSS, ask your TAM!” As part of our year-end wrapup we thought it might be interesting to list some of the many roles people have inside VMware. To keep a product like vSphere moving forward it takes an army of people of all types and specialties. Here’s what we call them and what they do for you, as well as some other tidbits that might help someone new to the VMware ecosystem.
Account Executives (AE): These folks are probably the most familiar to customers, as they’re the “sales people” assigned to each account. They’re assigned to certain regions (Asia/Pacific/Japan or APJ, Europe/Middle East/Africa or EMEA, Latin America or LATAM, and so on), and to certain types of customers such as Commercial, Enterprise, State & Local government & Education (SLED), etc. They manage the relationship between VMware and customers and are often the main point of contact for many of our customers. By design, AEs tend to be less technical and more business-oriented, because they are teamed up with…
Sales Engineers (SE): These folks are the technical side of the sales teams, focusing less on the business aspects and more on the technology itself. SEs have a wide range of technical knowledge and often come from backgrounds where they were designing, building, and operating these technologies as part of corporate teams. SEs are the starting point for technology-oriented conversations and have access to other, deep technical resources if a customer needs them. Like Account Executives, Sales Engineers are regional and belong to a certain customer segment.
If you’re a customer you should always know who your AE and SE is. Let us know if that isn’t the case!
Specialist Teams: Many VMware products have teams of SEs that, instead of being assigned to a customer, are assigned to a product like NSX or vSAN instead. These folks can talk at length (and in depth), both technically and non-technically, and will lend a hand when a customer needs to know more about that particular product. These folks tend to be regional as well. Want to go deep about a potential vSAN or NSX deployment? Ask your AE, SE, or TAM to arrange a specialist for you.
Solution Architects: As you might guess, Solution Architects design solutions! They bridge the business and technical sides of IT together to help customers design and build world-class infrastructures and product deployments. They spend time with a customer to learn about their environment and then design something that really meets their needs.
Professional Services (PSO): Going hand in hand with folks like Solutions Architects are folks in the PSO, or Professional Services Organization. Many VMware folks are great at designing solutions, but PSO is filled with folks that excel and building and running them. They are the people to call when you need a hand getting something off the ground.
Technical Account Managers (TAM): Some customers that have Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs) with VMware also have a Technical Account Manager. These folks are part of our professional services organization and assigned specifically to a customer. They become the customer’s single point of contact with VMware. Have a question about a product? Your TAM can help. Need a support case followed up on? Your TAM can do that. Want to know what kind of license you need for a product? How to implement vSAN? What the difference is between the VMware Certificate Authority modes? No problem, these folks will help. They’re a wonderful resource and often become trusted advisors.
Global Support Services (GSS): Sometimes VMware mentions “GSS” and when we do we mean our support organization. These folks around the world are the front line for questions of all types, from licensing to troubleshooting, and they often know more about trending issues than any other part of the company because they get to hear it first. VMware is also guilty at times of referring to how GSS documents support cases as “SRs” which is short for Service Request. When you open a case with VMware you’ll get an SR number, which can be used to track the case through the online portals, with a TAM, or over the phone.
User Experience (UX): VMware has a small army of designers that focus on the human side of our products. Does the way a customer uses a product make sense? Is the interface clear? Is the interface accessible? Will something in the way a user experiences our product cause them to make a mistake or do something unintended and dangerous? These folks think about that all the time, and you can see it if you use things like the HTML5 vSphere Client, which is a very visible example of how they streamlined tasks so that vSphere admins’ lives are easier. They write about their work over at vmware.design and are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Information Experience (IX): No software company would survive without documentation experts. VMware has wonderful people that develop our documentation, making it easy for everyone to know how to use a feature. These folks also do a TON of videos around vSphere features, too, which are worth the time to watch if you’re interested in a feature they cover. Like UX people, IX folks are unsung heroes inside any software company.
Product Managers (PM): Product managers are the people inside VMware that steer the ship when it comes to the products themselves. They manage the roadmaps for products, figure out what customers want and need, and help guide the organization to building amazing products. These folks have an enormous and tough job, being forced to simultaneously see the future but react to present issues, too. PMs tie everything together and manage features and products from beginning to end.
Engineers: VMware engineers are the folks that develop and maintain the product, from a software development perspective. They share the tough job PMs have because they also must deal with both the present and the future. The future is working with product managers to implement what’s on the roadmap, and to change the roadmap if it’s discovered that something needs to change. The “present” comes in the form of escalations from GSS. GSS will escalate to our engineering teams when a customer has a problem that looks like a bug (a purely theoretical exercise, of course, since there’s no such thing as a bug in VMware software. *grin*), as well as performing continuous testing of our products, release management, etc. Engineering is a large and multifaceted organization inside VMware and a single paragraph here cannot do it justice!
Product Marketing (PMM): Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) develop the materials and programs that promote VMware and vSphere. Their work is everywhere, too much to link to everything. Did you catch VMware at Tech Field Day? If so, that was set up by product marketing. When you download an eBook, like the one on Upgrading to VMware vSphere 6.7, it was developed by PMMs in conjunction with…
Technical Marketing (TMM): Technical Marketing Management (TMM) is the technical side of Product Marketing. For vSphere, it’s a small group of intensely technical people that generate content like white papers, videos, documentation, code samples and examples, and blog posts such as this one! TMM talks to customers & give presentations at VMUG meetings, helps with beta programs, works with PMs and Engineers for ideas on new and improved features, and generally helps vSphere admins and VMware understand one another in order to use vSphere and other products most effectively.
There are hundreds of other roles at VMware, but hopefully this gives you some idea of who does what from a vSphere perspective. If you’re ever thinking about joining us please visit the VMware Careers site to see the wide range of opportunities that are open.
(Come back tomorrow for a look into the charitable giving and service work that VMware employees do! For more posts in this series visit the “2019 Wrap Up” tag.)