Moving to a vendor – Part 1

As many are aware I moved to a vendor recently. That vendor was VMware. I look to give some insights into moving to a vendor. I think some updates throughout the year as I settle in will be appropriate.

My role is technical pre-sales and the role has me working in the Network Security Business Unit. This BU has made quite a splash for many reasons. What I can say is that there is not a short of smart people or a wealth of information to consume. I am empowered to consume as much information as I want to. If I feel the requirement is there to read the engineer documentation of how the Logical Distributed Router updates LIF information into the hypervisor kernel I can. If I need to sync up with the sales directors and feed back information into the marketing team they are only a webex away. I am still on my path to finish off my CCIE RS before I look to expand my skill set else where and my colleagues and management support me. I share this knowledge via internal training, videos or bulletins to local, regional and global co-workers. This in turn is reciprocated. You are actively encouraged to be the best you can be.

In a customer facing role I am expected to present. I am expected to be agile and have to respond quickly to a changing environment. Having a flexible and dynamic workforce, workflow and the tools to do this is critical. VMware allows a choice of platform, a seed investment in software and all the remote collaboration and communication tools to do your work from anywhere. I can be on a plane, train, airport terminal or at home and perform the same calibre of work that I do in a traditional office. This is a massive paradigm shift from the traditional government roles I was in before. With everything provided there is nothing getting in my way of optimising my workflow for the better and being the most efficient worker I can be. It is actually quite gratifying.

With a customer facing roles comes a different role. I am the vendor. I am the person who a company comes to for help, understanding, education, insight into industry trends, technology or business problems. I’ve been on the other side and sometimes we feel funny about the vendor. We feel they have a goal just to up sell or push something you don’t need. Whilst I always believed in individual integrity, it is sometimes lost when a person walks into vendor land. What was great was that although I vowed to maintain my integrity, it was great to be welcomed into an environment that I know will never compromise it. It is great to know that I don’t need to see a solution using something that will become shelf ware. Seeing people deliver on what they say, do what they say and perform on the actions was great.

If you have considered moving to a vendor know it isn’t the dark side. There is SO much that happens in vendor land that never makes it public. The people and the culture is great. There is a real passion on being there and being the best because they people who come to vendor land aren’t the traditional 9-5 IT. I am finding more and more career IT people who are excited to share and who are so passionate in sharing our technology.

I think there will be a time to talk more about the differences and maybe some of the perks on offer when moving to a vendor such as shares, health, gym, which weigh into it all but that could be for another post. For now as I am 35,000 ft above the ground heading home to my pregnant wife. I have power points open building customer presentations, roadmaps, and technical updates. I feel like I am home. I am a network guy living in the software defined world. Maybe a vendor is like a Tardis or Alice’s rabbit hole. Bigger on the inside! With that, I leave you. Enjoy the weekend.

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