July 24, 2017
There are numerous subtle differences between hiring a third party IT company on retainer and entering into a managed services agreement. Though companies may use them for similar purposes, the reality of how these services operate is quite important. At Mindsight, one of the core differentiators for our managed service agreements, compared to other similar programs across the industry, is the designated technical account manager (TAM). When a crisis occurs, the TAM could mean the difference between a successful resolution and a long night of damage control.
What Is a Technical Account Manager?
The TAM is first and foremost responsible for the client’s satisfaction within the managed services agreement. They learn about the client on a structural and operational level to help facilitate the smooth completion of projects and tasks between the client and Mindsight teams. When working with Mindsight, the TAM ensures that the client never feels like they are partnered with a customer service department. The TAM is ready to listen and ready to help.
In some respects, working with a TAM is similar to working with a salesperson with one key distinction. The incentives between the two parties are completely aligned. A salesperson is compensated based on the amount of product and services they sell or the revenue they generate. Meanwhile, the client has clear goals of creating a better IT environment, growth, increasing efficiency, and so on. There are plenty of opportunities for these two goals and incentives to overlap, but it is not always the case.
A technical account manager at Mindsight, on the other hand, is compensated for positive client reviews. If the client is happy and successful, ergo meeting their goals, the TAM directly benefits. This creates a climate of honesty and transparency in the business relationship. Furthermore, it positions the TAM as a Mindsight representative who is always encouraged to benefit the client in whatever manner they can.
Entering Crisis Mode
The TAM role and their incentives are valuable on a day to day basis in an IT department, but it becomes essential in a crisis. If a disaster strikes, something goes wrong, or the network goes down, a TAM is the person who works with the client until the issue is resolved—however long that takes. They coordinate with our engineers and our team to make sure our resources are deployed quickly and efficiently. Without exaggeration, it’s their job.
Different Services for Different Roles
The core of this distinction between an IT retainer and a managed services agreement is the simple fact that these services are for different purposes. An IT retainer is going to be largely project-oriented. The client has purchased hours of work from a third party, and those hours can be spent as the client sees fit. In that type of agreement, the client needs a project manager and not a TAM. A project manager will coordinate and see that the projects are completed on time and without issue.
A managed services provider is more like an ongoing partnership. Select IT responsibilities are taken up by Mindsight, and together, Mindsight and the client manage and administer an IT environment. This type of day-to-day interaction between two separate, but cooperative teams, needs a liaison. That liaison is the technical account manager.
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Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.