When I lead the eBusiness technology efforts at my former employer, Oracle and IBM assigned "Account Managers" to our business unit. I would hear from these people (there were multiple over the course of a year because no one really stayed in that position for very long) about twice a year. They would visit our team and primarily try to sell us on additional product add-ons, services, servers, etc. Very rarely did they ever work with us to understand how we were using Oracle products or what we could be doing to derive more value out of our investments in PeopleSoft, Oracle RDBMS, JDeveloper, Websphere AS etc.
A year and a half ago, we embarked on a journey to take a more proactive stance in ensuring our customers are successful with their Liferay Enterprise Edition and Social Office Enterprise Edition projects and began building our Customer Experience Management team. Our Support team is nothing short of phenomenal and do a wonderful job of helping our customers when things break, but relying on Support is very reactive in nature.
The role of a Customer Experience Manager is to work closely with our Enterprise Edition customers and understand the nuances of their projects. By understaning things like project lifecycles, development team strengths and weaknesses, architectural constraints, the Customer Experience Manager can make recommendations on go-forward strategies for our customers. They work to ensure that our customers are getting the most out of their Liferay investment and also make customers aware of upcoming product updates by doing periodic roadmap reviews. If a critical patch is made available, the Customer Experience Manager gets on the phone and alerts their accounts. If a customer is experiencing issues that can only be solved via consulting, they make introductions to our channels or Liferay's Global Services team.
In short, their role is to ensure that our customers have a positive relationship with Liferay and are continually deriving value from their investment. Being a different type of company, we don't envision every interaction as an opportunity to extract money from our customers. It's a simple equation -- the more we invest in our customers' success and developing that relationship, the more successful we will be. From a Sales perspective, the Customer Experience Manager is a strategic differentiator for Liferay vs. other vendors because, frankly, no one executes on this concept as well as we do. Other vendors tie the measurement of "Account Manager" roles to revenue while we tie this concept to a positive customer experience. The differences in philosophy are not subtle in how customers are impacted, and ultimately, we believe that relationships are more important than short-term revenue.
What does a Liferay Customer Experience Manager look like? Some are former Liferay consultants. Some are former Liferay business development people who got tired of the Sales life. Some are fundamentally astounding people who have a passion for Liferay and understand that people are implementing Liferay projects and not simply corporations.
To that end, I would like to introduce the newest member of our Customer Experience Management team, Sang Baek. Sang used to lead business development for our Asia-Pacific region and is now responsible for assisting customers in our Western region. At a very deep level, Sang understands what it takes for our customers to be successful with their Liferay projects and brings a wealth of knowledge to his new role with Liferay. Please join me in welcoming Sang to the CEM team.