Some organizations need advanced analytics that are customized, configured and managed off-site. That’s where the SAS Cloud comes in. Ever wondered what it takes to get a managed application services (MAS) project implemented and supported on an ongoing basis?
That’s where Jenny Welsh comes in. She’s the Senior Director of Project Management, Technical Account Management Services and MAS Enablement. Jenny and her teams are responsible for driving rapid time to value along with providing an optimal customer experience. Jenny’s three teams touch every phase of the customer journey -- from presales right through to continuous renewals. When Jenny’s not focused on work, she loves to practice yoga, boxing, and spend time outdoors with her husband, two children and two dogs -- a busy household, indeed.
This is the second post in our series introducing the faces behind the SAS Cloud and SAS Managed Application Services.
Driving time to value
So, let’s look at exactly what value each of these three teams are delivering.
- First up, Project Management (PM). With 20+ years experience in delivering managed application service offerings, the PM team has extensive SAS solution and cloud delivery expertise. They're the key drivers delivering value from your managed application services as quickly as possible, ensuring the delivery train stays on the tracks and removing any project obstacles. The PMs act as the point person during the project phase and ensure that the right SAS resources are available at the right time, making sure your project delivers value quickly.Since the PMs are involved from the beginning, they understand the project's critical success factors and can manage and mitigate risk at the micro level, ensuring all contractual requirements are met. The PMs also know when you may need more attention, based on lessons learned from previous similar projects and solution deployments.
- While the PM Team handles the tactical details, the Technical Account Management (TAM) team is the primary point of contact for all managed application service engagements and operates at a strategic level. The TAMs don’t just look at the critical success factors of delivering projects, but also understand your overall objectives, and look at the holistic value you're looking to achieve. With a more intimate knowledge of cloud architectures and cloud services, the TAMs are your advocate when it comes to SAS product and service strategies. They look at your portfolio and help you realize optimal performance and growth, and are the voice of the customer with the supporting SAS teams, keeping them well informed of your wants and needs, as well as any nuances.
As you would expect, the TAMs use data to understand the health of the solution and the supporting services, applying improvements proactively and consistently. The TAMs are always working to improve the operational services delivered, continually reviewing the environment and working with their SAS network of experts to optimize system performance. They also provide guidance on best practices and focus on preventing issues by identifying and addressing potential problems before they occur.
- The Enablement Services team help drive time to value by onboarding you and your projects seamlessly and efficiently. This includes support documentation for projects, whether that’s collateral and project or operational support documentation, as well as customer specific training and content as required. The Enablement Services team also ensures our MAS employees across the globe are provided with the best-in-class tools and training they need to successfully support our customers.
A single thread for customers to pull
Since Jenny’s teams cover the entire lifecycle of customer engagements with SAS Managed Application Services, these three teams are involved in all customer initiatives and team priorities are 100% driven by your needs and experiences. "Even if these teams are not always the hands on the keyboards, we are the leaders and drivers of all the work. We are the single thread for you to pull," says Jenny.
With accountability for the entire Managed Application Services experience, our teams support a wide variety of areas, whether that’s pre-sales, sales, project delivery and strategic planning for growth and optimization. That variety requires the Project Management, Technical Account Management and Enablement teams to continuously build and strengthen their SAS network to best support you. Intimate knowledge of all initiatives around the SAS enterprise is a must, because it help us understand the impact on you, our customers.
Expertise built up over 20 years
Whether it’s through the PMs or TAMs, Jenny’s teams are the main points of contact that drive the customer experience, and she loves that her team provides customers the expertise that they need. "What’s different is that we’ve executed those projects, gone through all those phases for 20 + years, and have learned so much about optimal management of SAS solutions," says Jenny. "Other vendors may not bring that level of experience to the table, but we’ve been able to improve all of our services along the way, allowing our customers to be more successful, have smoother running projects -- and realize a strong return on investment much more quickly."
While the teams have considerable expertise gained from similar customer projects, there will always be new situations that come up, letting our team apply their expertise on something new. "The 'what ifs' drive SAS teams to continually develop expertise and innovate, ensuring we're prepared for all potential scenarios," Jenny explains. These teams are fabulous examples of the SAS values of being curious thinkers. It’s that level of critical thinking that helps us stay in front of what might happen tomorrow.
"To ensure the MAS teams continue to provide a premium service, there are several ways in which we measure success. At the outset of every project, we agree with the customer what success looks like and what their expectations are. We look at the timeline for the project's critical paths and milestones to be achieved. We also look at more qualitative measurements, such as making sure we understand what the customer relationship looks like, analyzing how our customers feel daily about the project, as well as how often we are checking in with them," says Jenny.
All customer relationships need open communication and all Project Managers are encouraged to be fully transparent, and talking to customers and partnering with them to reach resolution when needed. "That way our customers leave feeling good about the service they received. It’s rare that a project doesn’t include risk, but if we build a relationship of trust we can openly collaborate on project improvements.
"Our TAM team has a customer experience dashboard to ensure that we're achieving your objectives. Targets may also be operational, looking at service uptime, support metrics and environment health. In addition, the TAM team also looks at the customer experience to determine the health of the customer relationship. Most service teams measure customer satisfaction; we want to measure customer pride. We want our customers to be proud of their partnership with the SAS Managed Application Service team.
"Customers need to know they're important, and at SAS we always ensure the right people are involved, even at the leadership level, so all customers are heard and receive the appropriate level of service and support to achieve their goals," says Jenny.
Thanks, Jenny, for spending time with us to help us understand more about your teams and how they're helping our customers drive faster time to value from the SAS Cloud.