So this is a post that comes on the back of a promise made in Barcelona this year to spread the word about TAM Customer Central, an easy promise to keep given that I think it is such a great resource.
First off, what’s a VMware TAM? Well, he or she is a Technical Account Manager who is dedicated to your Enterprise (this is usually a big company thing) from 1 to 5 days a week, depending on what support level/cost you engage at. Your TAM is your route into VMware and a route for VMware to help and inform you. Your TAM should feed you all the relevant VMware info in a concise form, should be aware of your issues and challenges, get you experts to assist as needed, offer products and services that may address those challenges and so on.
I’ll tell anyone who will listen that my TAM is in America, but I am not. So he doesn’t get to pop in for a coffee to tell me what’s new face to face that often. But we get to chat about things regularly, so it’s not so bad! I do feel a bit at arms length though sometimes from here in England, so when I go to VMworld Europe, I like to avail myself of all the TAM related goodness that I can get, This is another thing that your TAM should be helping you with. They can hook you up with experts in 1-to-1 meetings, get you in to TAM day, the day before VMworld proper and also are a means for you to sign up for TAM sessions, which run out of TAM Customer Central.
This info may be a little outdated now, since we’re seemingly not certain where VMworld Europe will be next year, but whilst I have been going to Barcelona, TAM Customer Central has been in the same place, immediately to the left as you walk into hall 8 through the doors facing the bag drop area, That’s super convenient for those days when you turn up and are looking for a spot of breakfast or need somewhere to retreat to for a seat and a coffee, Handy for a blog post or just to take the weight off your feet for a while, Yep, there’s food in there, like there is in many other places over the course of the week. You need to get scanned in to TCC though, it’s one of those “special” areas that aren’t open for everyone.
As well as the lounge bit though, there’s a whole lot more going on in here. this is where the real goodness is. There are a full set of sessions running over the days of the main conference, just like there are out in the larger hall, generally two tracks. These sessions are a lot smaller than those “normal” sessions though - this year I sat in sessions in groups of between 6 people and about 16. You’re also likely to get a whole posse of VMware dudes show up, In one session this time around, we had about 7 VMware employees and 7 TAM customers, which was fun!
All this means the sessions are a lot more interactive than lecture format. There’s a lot of NDA, there’s a lot of feedback requested and given. You feel like you are able to shape the future of product development somewhat. I got a VMware on AWS session here this year, plus stuff on NSX, vRA, Cloud Foundation, VMware Validated Designs, all the sorts of things you’d expect. None of these sessions are recorded, unlike the standard sessions, so if you want the good stuff, you have to turn up in person. there’s always time to watch those other sessions later, I repeatedly tell myself. (Sessions watched post VMworld 2016 so far = 0)
This year, there was even more going on. There were another whole bunch of “Meet the Expert” talks going on in the lounge itself, so the place was getting pretty full at times. This is a good sign, a couple of years ago, the place was pretty quiet, now it’s often tricky to get a seat.
The folks turning up to run the sessions and the talks are generally pretty well known, too.
Also add Adam Eckerle, GS Khalsa et al to this and you get the idea.
So all in all, this is one of the main reasons that I go to VMworld, Excellent conversations in all of the sessions, meeting fellow TAM customers who are into the same things I am and might face the same issues that I do, as well as getting to chew over products with the guys managing or developing them, I don’t get the chance to do anything like this anywhere else. If you’ve got a TAM and you have not tried TAM Customer Central out, then you should. Sign up for TAM day, pick some normal sessions, wait for the TAM sessions to come out and re-do your schedule completely (well, that’s what I do!) Just make sure that you get in early, as the sessions can fill up fast!
This year, there were even goodies…