pe-sale vs post -sale function of a SE

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
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