There are many discussion about the pre-sale vs post-sale role of a SE.
As a 10+ years pre-sale SE at SUN, I have a few observations
pre-sale vs post-sale
10 years ago, when I was hire as a pre-sale SE, my manager told me that, even through you are pre-sale SE but 80 % of your work will be post-sale.
- We help customers to setup jumpstart server to JS x00+ machines
- We give Solaris training for SA that had Other UNIX OS experiences
- We and SSE setup Autoclient for 400+ WS connecting to 2 S6000 Server
- we burn many mid night oil with the back-end eng for autoclient problem
- We have full access to the datacenter and root access to the servers
- We are always at customer site to answer questions and solve problems and architect for new project
As a pre-sale SE, we donot charge our service , but IMHO our pay out is in the form
of the next big order
As I moved to a different city and cover different market and different customer,
- We have an office at customer site
- We regularly give talks on new subject
- We answer questions and help solve problems
- We help customer architect the new system for new project
- Intsallation are most done by our SSE now
- We are always involved in the escalation process
We have build a very strong relatioship with our customers, we work together to architect the system and quote the HW/SW for their need and we are always soft sale SUN's HW/SW.
Since Sun's product are more comlex now, we will need to pick and choose the area that we learn and just a setp ahead of the customers' need.
This approach seems to work but not very scalable, there just no time to do this for every customer that I am suppose to cover.
What can be done better?
- Better document what we propose for what application and why
- Better document what we develop for customer
- Better environment for us to tryout new ideas