Garry is a Senior Technical Account Manager based in Amsterdam. He joined AWS in May, 2017.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Garry: When I joined AWS, I was fortunate enough to have had a wide variety of customer-facing engagements with previous employers in Netherlands. I started my career performing IT implementations with a strong focus on Infrastructure, Local Area Networking, Storage and Databases. As I matured, I often found myself in the role of a Service Matter Expert in projects and operations that were seeing issues, which helped me develop my interpersonal skills.
I tried my hand at running my own consulting business which was fun and successful, but when the opportunity arose, I could not resist applying for AWS. What I loved about having that small business was the independence and the responsibilities. I have that same sense in my work at AWS today, because being a self-starter in this role helps me grow trust with my customers and with AWS teams.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Garry: As a Senior Technical Account Manager (TAM) I have a role that covers Technology as well as Business. This means that I can be talking to my customer about how an AWS service might help them with their business problem and what best practices to follow, while in a later conversation we might be talking about how the customer can reduce their cost.
I am also a voice for the customer in AWS, by bringing back customer feedback to internal teams. The Technical Account Manager is a part of the AWS Support organization. We focus on the operational side of IT and help our customers use the services in a cost-efficient manner, and will pro-actively discuss this with the customer.
Being in AWS Support, we also help if our customers need additional help from the larger AWS Organization by being their primary escalation contact.
I currently work with three customers in different business sectors. Having only a few customers to manage, I can build close relationships with them and understand what their business goals are.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Garry: For a TAM, the most important soft skill to have is to build trust. I do this by being open and honest and making sure that the customer gets the best answer we can give them. If the customer trusts you, they will be more open in their communications to you.
On the technical side, it is important to be strong in Compute and Networking, as well as some other more application-centric areas such as Databases, Development or Architecture.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Garry: What is great about working at AWS is that you will learn something new every day. However, I had not had any exposure to technologies such as Big Data, Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. I have a customer that is currently building their Big Data and Machine Learning workloads, so that is where I am now putting my learning efforts.
HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?
Garry: I have a customer that runs an application that is directly related to the national train service, which millions of people use every day. Being able to support that application with my customer allows these people to reliably travel to their place of work and home.
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Garry: Outside my regular duties for my customers, I am active in a program around the AWS Culture, which is based on our Leadership Principles. This program is put in place to make sure everyone in AWS Support is part of this culture and embraces it daily.
I also engage with other customers at the request of fellow TAMs, providing a Cost Optimization Workshop. The goal of this is to give the customer an insight and practical training of how they can reduce the cost on AWS by changing the way they use the platform or run their applications.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Garry: The most exciting part of my job is that I am free to shape a very large part of what the job looks like. In my case I love to see what my customers think of doing with our services and how they challenge me to think with them on their journey.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Garry: Ask questions! We are more than happy to help anyone out with a question. Not everyone will know everything, just because there is so much going on, so ask questions!
HereAtAWS:What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Garry: Fun, fast-paced and impactful.
HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?
Garry: As a family where both parents work, it is important that I can take a little time during the day to provide for our child. AWS really helps me here because I have the flexibility to schedule a break to do that and then finish up on what is needed at a time that works for me.