What is most valuable?
Having a Technical Account Manager gives us someone who I can email about any of my questions or concerns about products, roadmaps, configuration and scalability options, etc. If I have an idea for something I want to do he might say "that’s a terrible idea", or "you might want to try it this way instead", because he has a depth of internal knowledge and context which most end users are unable to attain. This internal advocacy, contacts, and ease of communication are each tremendously helpful.
What needs improvement?
Collaboration on open action items and active ongoing projects. I spoke with my TAM about this issue and he completely agrees. There is no one system on which TAMs and their customers can collaborate on action items, ongoing projects, meeting notes, etc.
For how long have I used the solution?
Began using Technical Account Management (TAM) in Nov 2014.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
Yes. We were having an issue where we have to take one of their products offline to do a backup every night. I was certain there was a better way that it could be done, but on Atlassian Answers, other users were giving vague, hand-wavy responses. Our TAM was able to give us a couple different options, each of which will be able to save a department of 300 roughly 4 hours a night.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We are just in the process of dealing with future scalability issues and having the TAM in place now puts us in a good place to address those concerns.
How are customer service and technical support?
Very high. Technical Support
Well above average. Their response time is good, and we are able to escalate what we need to escalate.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Yes, we have used several throughout the growth of our part of our organization. Most recently we moved off of Rational Team Concert from IBM. There is not enough time to tell you why I hate that product! It is one of the worst products I have ever used for ALM. It is not set up to encourage self-directed teams, despite its name. It says it can do whatever it wants, but it is not designed as a product to make people happy, just to make IBM's consulting organizations more money. Atlassian products are the exact opposite. A new team can be brought on and be working efficiently within minutes – with Team Concert could be hours or even days, if ever, before a team can be working well together.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was very straightforward. The only complexities had to do with our own infrastructure. With Atlassian, either you can run the programs open to the world or behind the firewall. The default state for our systems is locked down, but Atlassian works best when their tools are able to connect to one another. This isn't a problem with the products, just an issue with our own infrastructure. I run local development versions of the tools on my laptop with no issues.
What about the implementation team?
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We did not look at any other complete suites of tools. We evaluated Rally Enterprise and VersionOne for project/defect tracking. Both of those options had decent levels of integration with our CI tools. Ultimately the value that the Atlassian suite gave us as a total package of discrete, but connected, components was above and beyond the piecemeal approach we would have had to take otherwise.
What other advice do I have?
As an Enterprise customer, evaluate what you really need. If it's tech support above/beyond what comes with the subscription, go with the Enterprise tech support instead.
TAM is when you really need/want an advocate within Atlassian. For instance, our program and product management groups set up an on-site meeting with our TAM to discuss JIRA Portfolio, and they were able to ask questions of the Portfolio product manager as well as the TAM after a solid demo. Without a TAM in place, this type of thing would have been impossible short of sending everyone to the Atlassian Summit (User Conference) every year. That’s invaluable.
Another recent example is that we had a problem with a plug-in owned by Atlassian, but because we have our TAM in place he was able to get us in touch with the plugin developer directly and we've skipped weeks of struggle.
It's all about advocacy, insight into product roadmaps, best practices, etc.