Implementation department specialists' workdays: millions of questions and the requirement to know literally everything
27.06.2023Back to blog list
At SearchInform we have an implementation department. Once we’ve understood, that we should have such a department, as its employees can help customers to quickly manage to work with our solutions and benefit as much as possible from the software usage. The question may arise, does the implementation department employees’ job duties differ from those of technical supports specialists? In fact, their job duties differ. In this column we’re going to reveal some details of implementation department employees’ work processes. First of all, it’s important to notice, that implementation managers are real experts in two spheres – psychology and IT technology (they know everything about the software). In fact, implementation managers are those specialists, who support our clients while they work with our software. Clients are provided with the support services during both software testing period and the ongoing period of regular work. Clients address their questions to implementation managers and ask them to share a piece of advice, provide recommendations on how to use software in the most efficient manner.
We’ve conducted an interview with a few employees and created a collective portrait of an implementation manager.
What does an implementation manager do?
My main aim is to explain clients, what is required to do in order to benefit from systems usage right away. Our solutions provide users with a very wide functionality, that’s why sometimes clients often don’t even have an idea, that some specific difficult task may be solved very quickly. I organize a training series, and within six lessons a client gets acknowledged about the capabilities of our products.
We continue to support clients after systems deployment as well. If a user faces any problem or has some questions, I’m the first person to contact.
Our department is also a kind of intermediary between clients and engineers, because sometimes information security officers don’t have experience of work with DLP, SIEM and DCAP class solutions. Some specialists don’t have much hands-on experience of working with protective and multi-functional solutions. If such an employee phones an engineer, he may receive an answer, containing plenty of technical terms and simply get lost. That’s why first of all clients contact me. Only in case I’m unable to solve their problems, I redirect our clients to engineers or analysts.
I think, that our clients understand clearly why do they need us. Clients often tell us, that there is simply no other company, which has such advanced technical support service, as SearchInform has.
Once I had a client, who simultaneously tested five systems by different vendors. Later, when he purchased our software, the customer told, that only specialists of our company has provided him with answers to all his questions, as well as with a complex practical training session. As a result, at the end of the trial term the customer was able to use the whole functionality of the system, just as if he had already purchased it.
The situation with other vendors differed. For instance, there were situations, when clients sent messages to managers, but vendor representatives didn’t know anything and thus weren’t able to help or simply suggested to read the instruction. I can’t imagine, that somebody here at SearchInform ignores a message or delays sending a reply. Our clients also tell us, that employees of some companies made them to wait for a reply for approximately two weeks.
How do you help clients to understand, that SearchInform software fits their requirements?
At the beginning of a test I suggest to configure standard policies, as there is a set of typical cases, which recur in many organizations. Then, we configure personalized rules, which are tailored to the peculiarities of a specific industry and customer's tasks.
During the first 15 minutes of the training, one client told me, that he had just revealed an incident. He decided to take a break in studying, as he had to deal with the obtained incident. Another client during the seminar revealed, that an employee had a file saved on her PC, although she didn’t have rights to interact with it or even simply keep it. It’s really cool, when clients find solutions to their problems literally on the spot.
Which incidents clients detect most often during a test?
During any test clients obtain personal data kept inappropriately. What’s more, very often they find data on companies, set by their employees. Indisputably, such fact doesn’t necessarily mean something negative. There aren’t any problems, if an employee doesn’t waste his/her paid work-time on dealing with tasks in his/her own company, and in case his/her company isn’t a market rival of the employer’s one. Nevertheless, information security officer should be aware of such facts. During the trainings, we always obtain visiting of irrelevant to work duties web sites, facts of job search and dangerous incidents, when employees take documents away on a flash drive, especially when they search for a new job.
Can you name the most memorable case?
A sales manager had been arguing the necessity of a counterparty verification software implementation for a very long time. Finally, the employee was granted with the access to the paid program. During three months, the employee completed checks of just two counterparties with the help of the tool. What’s more, when the check was performed, it was obtained, that the employee checked some third parties legal entities, in terms of employee’s job duties, there was no need to check them. Also it was unclear, for whom he made the checks. However, lately it turned out, that he had requested to install this program in order to check counterparties of the company, which he previously worked for.
Information security department suspected one of the employees in documents forgery. The investigation, aimed at revealing of motives behind employee’s actions was initiated. Suspicious activity of the employee on job vacancies web site attracted information security specialists’ attention. It turned out, that the man didn’t search for job, instead, he published vacancies. As a result, it was found out, that the employee forged documents for his own side company.
One of the most memorable case is the case of a large enterprise procurement department employee. Among the intercepted data information security officer detected a commercial offer, sent to the employee’s private email. Later, the same letter was sent to the corporate email, but that time the price in the commercial offer was 3% higher. The procurement manager was fired and the organization, which the manager collaborated with became our customer's VIP-client. That’s exactly how SearchInform Risk Monitor helped to reveal an insider and raise some money as well.
What is the implementation department employees’ education?
A: There are no any restrictions or limitations for joining our department. The main and only one strict requirement is the willingness to self-educate permanently and work hard. It’s very important to have developed soft skills: potential employee should be ready to explain difficult things in an easy for understanding manner. Everyday we receive troves of requests and questions, which we need to deal with, however, we may not know answers to some of them. That’s why often we need to summon our strength and learn quickly. On the one hand it’s a real difficulty, but on the other hand, it’s a big advantage, because we never get bored of our work. Sometimes I think, that I simply waste a day, in case I don’t learn anything new. Besides, previously I had worked as a teacher.
B: This isn’t about your background, it’s all about personal traits. I used to work in tourism industry, but once I’ve decided to completely change my work sphere. The difficult part of being an implementation manager is to find an approach to any kind of person, establish a contact with him/her, choose the words, which will help the person to understand products’ peculiarities quickly. Besides, an implementation manager should be a responsible person, because it’s practically impossible for an irresponsible person to deal with large amount of tasks, which we have to deal with every day. It’s also extremely important to be curious. We can sometimes redirect our client to an engineer, but we always try to answer any questions ourselves, because the next day another client may ask us the same question.
Usually, former teachers feel comfortable in our department. That’s because our main task is to train clients to work with software efficiently. If you know how to teach, it doesn’t matter, what the exact subject is and who are your students.
For instance, my teaching experience helps me a lot – colleagues often notice, that the way I organize trainings reminds them of how tutors work students. They say it seems, that I always try to sort knowledge through.
What is the most difficult thing for a person, who has a non-technical background to understand in IT-sphere?
A: Personally for me, it was very difficult to understand the instance of protocols. Therefore, I had to tell myself that I just need to accept it as a fact, as my interlocutors will understand, what I’m talking about. But the most difficult part is connected with dealing with “complicated words”, which I’m not acknowledged with.
The time gap between the moment of employment and the moment when you start working with clients is between two weeks and a month. After this period ends, you are able to start working with the software and educating clients on how to work with it. In a half-a-year term a number of questions begins to repeat, thus, you already know answers for many of them.
Do you have a favorite solution?
B: I’ve become a real fan of FileAuditor. However, I didn’t fall in love with it instantly. Firstly, I simply couldn’t understand why would anyone need it. However, everything changed when I examined it’s functionality and understood, how many tasks clients can solve with the help of this tool.
Our DLP system is absolutely fantastic as well. It provides information security staff with nearly limitless possibilities. Once I’ve dealt with an interesting case. An employee of a company, who was in charge of holding tenders, set up corporate email notifications for bank card statement. A bit later he received a letter about refilling the balance of his card by $134.000. He read the letter and immediately deleted it. Nevertheless, our DLP system intercepted the letter. Information security specialists initiated an investigation and found out, that the employee received kickbacks.
If you discuss questions and problems with clients, does it necessarily mean, that conflicts will happen?
Indeed, from time to time we have to deal with negative. However, it doesn’t necessarily apply to us personally. If I understand that the person on the phone is not in a very positive mood, then I try to make a joke or talk to him/her in a more formal manner.
Even if a client tries to press me with negativity, I, in turn, press him with positivity. We probably annoy each other, but what can you do:) In fact, I don't come across negativity that often, I’d even say quite rarely. And I used to work in tourism sphere, and I can say, that I’ve faced much more stress and negativity than I do now.
What was the most positive client’s comment about your work?
A: Some clients make nice remarks like thank you very much, you’re my savior. It’s also nice when after helping a client with some refinements, you receive something like thank you, everything is fine, you helped us a lot in reply, it’s really warming. It's also very cool when after the first training clients say that they have learned a lot.