What’s it like to be a Technical Relationship Manager
There’s never a dull day
When I joined the Technical Relationship Management (TRM) team around two years ago, I asked our now tech lead Justin Moses what he enjoys most about the job. His reply: "Helping our customers achieve their objectives and the sense of satisfaction in being part of getting them there."
A TRM is a unique capability and as such requires a unique person in the tech world. On the one hand they are a very capable techie, but on the other they also have business awareness and the ability to communicate at all levels both internally and externally. We work within the interest of our customer accounts and are a trusted advisor.
My first experience as an external working at HPe of a TRM was (a now friend) Darren Chapman aka ‘Chappers’. My attitude at the time was, ‘what can this guy tell me’ and ‘he’s going to waste my time’, etc..- oh, how wrong I was. Darren became a very valuable resource in being an advisor to myself and colleagues. He’d be asking questions and considering things I hadn’t. The end result was a very smooth and confident delivery, he was never a hinderance and recognized I was up against tight timelines and adjusted accordingly. I looked forward to seeing him, catching up and sharing all my latest questions/thoughts. Then came along Peter Jones aka ‘Jonesey’, again he became a friend and an extremely dependable resource. To the point that when I left HPe to join AppSense (now Ivanti) he stepped into my shoes, as the account recognized his skills.
I believe the accounts we have that renew year on year not because it’s a ‘nice to have’ and can be ‘useful sometimes’, but because they see a good return on their investment. Chuck anything at a TRM and you will get a reliably good response. Why? They have seen a lot and know a lot inside and outside of the Ivanti arena. If not, they have many strong resources they can pull on - previous support cases, known issues, reference designs, product management, we will even discuss the issue with a developer. We know individuals personally within each team and can help make sure you get a detailed response, providing you with the best options and advise on the best course forward.
What I like about being a TRM is building a strong relationship to the point where I’m considered part of the team and have been a key part in them meeting their business objectives. Getting invited out on team nights out and business events with the business I am working with, when I walk in and everyone welcomes me as a colleague and asks how my family are etc.. I know I’ve achieved my goal. I genuinely care about the success of my customer accounts and if something is wrong, I will work tirelessly to get them back on track. My colleagues are the same, and we all know about the challenges being faced across the team. Customer accounts and any issues is pretty much the first topic all TRMs talk about when catching up.
What can my day look like- some days I’ll wake up and think I’ve got a fairly quiet day ahead but then a colleague will reach out with an issue and I’ll spend some time assisting them. You learn to switch modes very quickly from doing a review, arranging engagement days, helping with an incident, performing a health check, answering a few queries, working with product management on a new feature…
UWM is such an interesting product suite to work with, it touches so many parts of the organization and interacts with other software, meaning that I’m always learning something. We also see the way that various organisations work, and for this reason the TRMs are some of the smartest guys I work with, they understand not only the product but also have a very broad view of the entire landscape.
Due to the unique position a TRM holds we can achieve things in a shorter space of time and provide reassurance along the way, essentially vendor led consultancy. A TRM will have an in-depth knowledge of a customer’s infrastructure and should an issue occur will have a good head start in getting to the root cause, we’re also likely to have seen it before and even more likely a colleague has seen it. If not, we can pull on many strings and resources to get the issue resolved.
Now before this starts sounding like a job spec or worse a sales pitch this is genuinely how it works, my approach with a new customer account is to understand firstly their infrastructure and then the current UWM setup. I then work with them to understand their long term and short-term objectives. Following this I will then take a detailed look at their current UWM infrastructure aligning it to best practice and business requirements/objectives. I’ll then detail a TRM engagement plan which is regularly reviewed to ensure we are hitting business objectives.
The day I’m writing this I’m sat on the runway at Manchester about to travel to a large bank in the Netherlands. Other days I travel from my home in Lancashire over the Pennines to Yorkshire via the Snake Pass to another large bank, or down to London for the day on the train to an insurance group. It’s fun, never the same, never dull and always interesting.
What I like about the job is meeting people and establishing a good working relationship, a reassurance that if they have a question or an issue, I’m always on hand to help. I enjoy understanding the challenges my customers are facing and helping them get to where they want to be.
What exemplifies the TRM spirit is our closeness as a team despite the fact that we are spread out. We bounce issues off one another daily and work to help one another. If another TRM is having a tough time, others will step in and assist. That’s what I like most about being a TRM – the team I work with.