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In The Boardroom With...

Jeff LeBlanc
Vice President Professional Services

AMAG Technology

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Jeff LeBlanc Vice President Professional Services AMAG Thank you for joining us today, Jeff. We understand that you lead AMAG’s Professional Services Team. Before discussing that subject in greater detail, please tell us about your background and your role at AMAG.

Jeff LeBlanc: I’ve worked in the security industry for 30 years starting out as a security officer and progressing through several customer-focused roles that focused on technology and customer service. When promoted to project manager, I was involved with the designing, sourcing and overseeing of the deployment of retail and commercial security projects that included access control, video, alarms and vaults. After the company I worked for merged with one of the largest banks in the world, I led the technical security team which created, managed and implemented security standards across the global enterprise. This work included building one of the largest enterprise access control systems in the world, controlled by an internal physical identity and access management system. AMAG hired me in 2010 as an operations manager which involved managing all large customer software and hardware deployment projects, and then promoted me to vice president of client services which included hosted product management and platinum SSA account management. My product management role included designing Symmetry GUEST visitor management and Symmetry CONNECT identity management, which are both current applications sold and deployed to customers. In 2017, I took over AMAG Professional Services and hosted product support which meant every software and hardware deployment falls under my client services team. Please give us an overview of your Professional Services Team and tell us about the journey that clients take with you.

Jeff LeBlanc: Symmetry Professional Services is an elite team of technical experts that provides specialized expertise for complex installations across all of AMAG’s Symmetry Security Management applications. The department fosters a teamwork approach that brings together various resources to carefully plan large system deployments for our customers. We follow a project management methodology that puts the emphasis on design and planning, which helps reduce the stress of deployments and puts our customers at ease. The team performs work ranging from small to large, complex Symmetry upgrades, integrations with 3rd party products, complex system and database conversions, elevator destination dispatch, Active Directory integrations, and deployment of all AMAG’s hosted Symmetry products.  We also offer Custom Solutions to our customers which includes software applications specifically developed that enhance existing features within our Symmetry product line and integrate with a customer’s external processes and systems. Our engineers have extensive IT experience that allows them to consult on customer IT design and infrastructure needs. One will read on, “When you invest in a Symmetry System know that AMAG has everything you need to support your business and help your customers.” Care to elaborate on AMAG’s “customer first” focus?

Jeff LeBlanc: Our customer is at the heart of everything we do. My Professional Services team and I view ourselves as a special forces unit that serves as a consultant to our customers for our applications and the customer’s IT infrastructure. From the moment we get a new job, we invest our time in the discovery and planning phase of their project to ensure we come to the table prepared when meeting with the customer for the first time. We try to understand the business and technical requirements so we can fulfill our role as the subject matter expert. Consistent communication is of the utmost importance throughout every project and we work hard to ensure we understand our customer’s requirements and expectations. For example, we recently worked with ACI Worldwide, a global real-time payment company. We understand that “Since 1971, AMAG has delivered best-in-class access control software and hardware, pioneering the magnetic stripe card reader in the mid-90s and growing into an enterprise-class security system provider.” What is your perspective Jeff, on the unique value proposition that AMAG delivers?  In other words, “why AMAG?”

Jeff LeBlanc: When customers invest in AMAG Professional Services, they are adding a subject matter expert level resource to their project team. This resource is backed by additional resources that can be brought in depending on the specific customer project. These resources include development, technical support, QA, design engineers, product managers, project managers and senior management. AMAG Professional Services also leverages relationships with 3rd party vendors and will bring them into the project when needed as well. My department stays with all customer deployments until the job is complete and the customer is satisfied with the deployment.

One of the things that help AMAG Professional Services set itself apart is our engineer’s years of experience.  Each engineer in our department has between five to fifteen-plus years of experience at AMAG Technology. This gives us a deep historical perspective and knowledge about our applications, and how they function from a technical aspect.  More importantly, this experience allows us to know specific customers, the people that work there, how they operate and the challenges they face both technically and operationally. We have many jobs where customers will ask for specific engineers by name. The Case Studies and White Papers here speak volumes about AMAG capabilities across every vertical:  Government, Energy & Utilities, Healthcare, Commercial, Logistics, Data Centers and Education.  Care to discuss any AMAG Professional Services success stories in greater detail?

Jeff LeBlanc: AMAG Professional Services recently worked with a major enterprise customer to deploy Symmetry software applications that integrate with multiple customer-facing workflow portals. These applications helped our customer optimize the way their customers and the security team operate on a day-to-day basis. We provided a full project team that included an engineer, developer, and project manager who were actively involved in every aspect of the project. AMAG Professional Services helped the customer develop and refine their business requirements, workflows and technical design. From the start, we were included and treated as a major stakeholder in the customer’s internal project and design meetings which allowed for a more intimate relationship with the customer. 

Another example of a success story is I received a call on a Saturday from one of our enterprise customers who did not have an active Pro Services job, but was the victim of a severe network hack and denial of service attack. This customer wanted our help rebuilding our Symmetry Access Control application with a recent database backup on a separate server and network.  My team and I organized our resources, worked the entire weekend on video calls and the customer was back up and running by Monday morning. Can we talk about COVID for a moment? Infections are coming down and people are returning to their post-covid offices in greater numbers. Are you engaged with Professional Services clients in helping them navigate this issue?

Jeff LeBlanc: AMAG Professional Services has pivoted many times to ensure that we can help our customers navigate complex, new set of work rules and challenges brought on by COVID. We have been shifting to completing deployments remotely for work that was typically performed onsite. This might seem like a no-brainer but there are many complexities when navigating a customer’s network and associated IT processes when you are not onsite. These challenges include communication, lining up resources, access to systems, and customers issuing a return to work mandate after months with the majority of their workforce working remotely.  We are involved with building and deploying solutions that have been light on activity due to remote work and suddenly become heavily stressed when employees return to work en mass.    

Symmetry Keeping up with new technologies is a never-ending challenge. Going mobile today seems to offer many advantages: it’s fast, cost-effective, supports return-to-work strategies, and more.  Please tell us about SYMMETRY MOBILE?

Jeff LeBlanc: AMAG’s Symmetry Mobile solution has helped many of our customers navigate the challenges of returning to work during COVID. AMAG Professional Services is intimately involved with customers during the deployment of the Symmetry Mobile solution, which offers a flexible, eco-friendly and cost-saving access control solution. In addition to saving money on cards, it saves time by eliminating physical access card distribution and replacement when a card is lost or stolen. The entire process is managed remotely, enforcing physical distancing and reducing interaction with the security department (and reducing the spread of COVID). Thank you again for joining us today Jeff! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Jeff LeBlanc: AMAG Professional Services is a one-stop-shop for customers throughout their project’s lifecycle. We put the customer first and our goal is to help them maximize their Symmetry Security Management System so it meets their business needs.



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