As Head of Technology & Solutions I have a large remit within the business but I am often asked what I and my team 'do'... And sometimes I struggle to explain it to my family and friends too so I thought I'd take some time to explain the pre-sales role in particular. Below is an actual day in the life of a presales consultant!
I start the morning with a conference call with a vendor who is preparing to demo their SD-WAN product to one of our customers. We've been working with the customer for some time on this project so understand their needs and requirements and, perhaps more importantly, what they don't want to see!
Often with such detailed vendor demonstrations the person doing the demonstration is remote and may never have met the customer so it's important we give them the necessary information to make the best use of the customers time during the demo.
I have to leave the call promptly and dash off to the station for the train into town. I've found this 'mobile office' to be the place where I can really crack through my emails and actions - there are plenty of distractions on a train but none I need to worry about!
Today I am consolidating a large amount of information about a cyber security vendors portfolio for a customer who is looking to deploy their technology in Azure. I'm taking, in the most part, freely available information but focusing just on what the customer needs to know - to provide them with an easily digestible document that provides with them the information they seek. Sometimes distilling such information takes longer than just reading the originating material but the time we spend doing that saves our customers time.
As I arrive at my first meeting of the day I have to switch modes as we are meeting the new Head of Security and I need to give a broad overview of our portfolio and experience in cyber security. These days I don't do powerpoint as I find it puts up a barrier. A chat over a coffee whereby we can work out the customers priorities and focus areas is also, I think, a better use of their time than listening to me drone on!
As that meeting concludes I sit down with another member of their team to help deploy a trial of an endpoint solution that will help them to discover their software inventory, endpoint vulnerabilities and deploy URL filtering to their staff.
My stomach starts rumbling which reminds me that we're all off to grab some lunch, this is invaluable time to get to know our customers - we're a friendly bunch and I like a laugh (often at my own jokes) but to my mind close working relationships help both sides and provide a frictionless working environment.
Before I know it we're off to our next customer meeting. Here we are deploying some new equipment in the US for them. We will be doing the complete installation, but it's a long way to go if we forget anything so it's important we sit down and thrash out cable lengths, airflow through devices and what optics are needed.
We have a project manager working on the scheduling but we're given some sage advice about how to proceed through customs - ideally not with tools in your bag!
I'm back on the train and it's time to catch up with the day's emails. First I need to help with the pricing options for a network management platform for a customer then make space in my diary to meet with a vendor VP who will be visiting the UK soon. It's important we stay up to date with vendor products and roadmaps so I'm always willing to shuffle things around to accommodate these sessions.
Finally I alter the Bill of Materials for our US build out to reflect our meeting today and look over some documentation from our PS team who are highly technical but would be the first to admit they're not experts with Word and I am a stickler for proper formatting and keeping to our company documentation standard!
Stuart Bates - 27 March 2019
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Head of Technology and Solutions