In any business model, each role needs to do their job to the best of their ability; this has remained a principle of business since the beginning of capitalism. But how have things changed for everyone throughout the course of the pandemic? The Technology Alignment (TAM) role in particular could be seen as the role that changed the most in our MSP model, but the core of it remains the same.
The core of the TAM role consists of two main sides: math and process. The math of the TAM role shows the TAM and their team the measurable drivers of their role and how it impacts the business as a whole, while the process has action items like steps, tasks, and different priority levels. Before Covid, the TAM already could have had difficulty in finding a way to attach the spirit of their role to the results of the Technology Success process because ‘we’re just answering yes/no questions’. The struggle came even more into focus when we all were forced to move to an entirely remote environment.
What is wrong with doing the TAM process remotely? Well in theory, we can be just as successful doing our assessments remotely as we are in person. But it makes it more difficult to be visible to our clients, to hear valuable feedback that employees often provide off the cuff, and the relationship with the client isn’t as easy to establish. Onsite reviews are ideal to get the best outcome from our alignment process, but we can still put steps into place to make sure we do everything we can to get the most value from our remote visits.
Holding regular meetings at the start and end of a TAM’s day is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy and working technical relationship. While some clients may not want to do this, it is our job to convince them of the value of these meetings. It should be a brief meeting, no longer than 10 minutes, have a measurable agenda, and they should focus on business-oriented value. Meeting with people over video calling functions like Zoom can help make more of a human connection.
In addition to communication with the customer it is vital to continue intra office communication regarding TAM visits. There should be documented expectations of TAMs, a schedule they really stick to, and edges on the relationship they have with the clients. We would rather overcommunicate than under communicate throughout a crisis, and the pandemic is still a crisis event for so many; we need to make sure the abundance of communication extends internally as well as to what we tell our customers.
Standards, alignment, and compliance are essential in today’s technical world. We cannot keep our clients truly secure without the TAM role assessing client environments on a regular basis. We have to be even more vigilant about our processes while working remotely is required, and it also helps to be prepared for a future where remote assessments are the norm. We cannot let a decline in visibility by the client impact our efficiency at any of our roles, but for this one in particular it would be absolutely disastrous; often our compliance practices are the only thing keeping our customers safe from a major hacking event that would make all of our lives miserable. If we make sure the essence of the TAM role is fulfilled, we are one step closer to true Technology Success.