Some organizations need advanced analytics that is customized, configured and managed off-site. That’s where the SAS-managed offerings come in. Ever wondered what it takes to get a SAS managed application services (MAS) project implemented and supported continuously?
That’s where Jenny Welsh comes in. She’s the Senior Director of Cloud Customer Experience. Jenny and her teams are responsible for driving rapid time to value and providing an optimal customer experience. Jenny’s three teams touch every phase of the customer journey, from presales 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.
Driving time to value
So, let’s look at exactly what value these three teams deliver.
- First up is Project Management (PM). With 20+ years of experience in delivering managed service offerings, the PM team has extensive SAS solution and cloud delivery expertise. They're the key drivers delivering value from your managed 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, ensuring 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 Cloud Service Managers are the primary point of contact for all managed application service engagements and operate at a strategic level. The CSDMs don’t just look at the critical success factors of delivering projects but also understand your overall objectives and the holistic value you're looking to achieve. With a more intimate knowledge of cloud architectures and cloud services, the CDSMs are your advocate for 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 and any nuances. As you would expect, the CDSMs use data to understand the health of the solution and the supporting services, applying improvements proactively and consistently. The CDSMs always work 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 cloud employees across the globe are provided with the best-in-class tools and training they need to support our customers successfully.
A single thread for customers to pull
Since Jenny’s teams cover the entire lifecycle of customer engagements with SAS Managed 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 Services experience, our teams support a wide variety of areas, whether that’s pre-sales, sales, project delivery, or strategic planning for growth and optimization. That variety requires the Project Management, Cloud Service Delivery 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 helps us understand the impact on you, our customers.
Expertise built up over 20 years
Whether it’s through the PMs or CDSMs, Jenny’s teams are the main points of contact that drive the cloud 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 SAS-managed services 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 about success and their expectations. 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, and how often we check in with them," says Jenny.
All customer relationships need open communication, and all Project Managers are encouraged to be fully transparent, talk to customers and partner 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 CDSM team has a customer experience dashboard to ensure we achieve your objectives. Targets may also be operational, looking at service uptime, support metrics, and environmental health. In addition, the CDSM 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 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 running SAS in the cloud.