While it’s important for all roles in an MSP to communicate well with each other, the Technology Alignment Manager (TAM) and Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) need to have very clear communication. They should be having meetings at regular intervals to discuss the Technology Success process regarding their shared clients for a variety of reasons.
For one thing, if the TAM sees a question that is out of alignment, answers it as ‘no’, and then sees it out of alignment again and again, they could make the assumption that the vCIO is not doing their job. This can create a feeling of helplessness and animosity in the TAM. After all, if no one is going to listen to what they say and fix what needs to be fixed, what is the point of them doing their job? In reality, the most likely reason for this is that the client has declined the recommendation that would fix the issue. If the TAM and vCIO have regular communication, this fact will be known.
Additionally, when the TAM is on-site, sometimes the client will ask what the recommendation will be to fix a particular thing. If the TAM makes a suggestion based on their educated opinion and it turns out to be a different suggestion than the vCIO is making, this can put them and the client in quite a pickle. We want to make sure the message is consistent across the Technology Success process to the client.
Information sharing also just makes for a better workflow. Everyone works better when they know everything that pertains to their role. The TruMethods framework has proven time and time again that having the vCIO and TAM know what the other is doing (on a relatively high level) is very helpful.
Another thing to consider is that moving from the TAM role to the vCIO role can be a natural progression for many people. If the TAM is involved appropriately in the vCIO’s workflow, this will facilitate moving from one role to the other. The TAM also gets to see their hard work pay off, which is always very rewarding. Finally, the TAM can share information they learned during their alignment visit that isn’t tracked by doing the review, like so and so is leaving this client’s company, or they hired a new marketing person, or they heard the client mention possibly moving buildings.
So how does one go about facilitating this communication? Meetings need to be set up at a regular interval. Over time, your specific team will figure out the cadence that is best for them but we often see meetings occur monthly. The meetings also need to have a rigid structure and stick to the client’s information at hand. The TAM should bring any notes they have from discussing things with the client, or things that they believe are super important to be addressed. The vCIO should bring a summary of the latest technology steering meeting with the client. Note: This meeting should NOT be used to talk about changes to the Standards Library. Those changes should be discussed in the Standards Committee meeting.
When the TAM and vCIO have very clear communication, all of the pieces of the Technology Success process will come together and be consistent for the customer.