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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Metalink or My Oracle Support?

I am sorry. But nothing I like about My Oracle Support, the new tool to contact Oracle when you have a support issue and wants to send in a TAR, sorry a Service Request. My Oracle Support is a flashy - no pun intended - interface to a very simple task in a company. A task that should be easy for the customers. Not hard.

Support process
A support task is about support. Not tacky, flashy interfaces. Support is about simplicity and choosability how to contact a company, in this case Oracle. You would not consider to let's say "we use only Skype for our Phone Support". Would you?

And, large companies have LCM - Life Cycle Managed - infrastructure regarding PCs. So IF you choose to limit the access to a tool built on some flash or whatever product, you must have a longer time span in order for large customers to test this new choosen tool.

In my humble opinion the text based tools are best for putting in support issues to a company. Or the phone, but that could be a next step in a support issue process item. Or a Oracle Web Conference, but again, that is even a step more further down to support process road.

The method to contact Oracle, or whatever other company, in a support issue should be choosen by the customer. Of course! Who else?

A scenario
If there is a single customer out there, with four DBAs or more, and all of them can not install flash since the PC infrastructure group has not yet qualified Flash Version x.y as a valid and stable tool in Their Unique Environment. If the DBAs are in trouble, Oracle could be in trouble. Why is that so? Well, since these DBAs are the first in line to have 11.1 in the world. And they bought to product, signed sealed an delivered.

These DBA-guys can sit on information that is unvaluable for Oracle. Oracle has the aggregated knowledge in their database. The DBAs wants to access that knowledg but they can not trigger the Oracle Support process.

The DBAs want to say: "We are having trouble with our SQL statement, it is performing very very bad, and 11.1 was supposed to fix this". The answer could be somewhere along the line "well, you do know that the parameter XYZ has changed in 11.1, default was TRUE is now FALSE, so just change that".
I know this could be found during beta, or even in documentation. But it is an example in a scenario. The issue is of course much more comples, as the computer software is more and more complex.

Ways to contact support
If a customer wants to contact a company for support he or she must be able to choose His or Hers Tool of The day. I am sorry, the tool of the day in the Oracle traditional based market place is text based interface, known as Metalink.

I guess that most revenue comes from database product. If it is not, if revenue is now, these days (and again, only Oracle knows this) come from other areas in Oracle. Well, then I guess Oracle is not a database company anymore, with a key product being The Database that built this company from start.

Albeit, let's go for MOS and interfaces where the business for Oracle is, and Oracle will risk not to get the information they desperately need in order to serve and support other customers (the traditional Oracle DB customers, and OAS and what have you), and in order to update the support and knowledge database.


Knowledge is here to be spread. And in the support process describe above everybody is winning: Supplier, customers and the customers customer. If you can enter a question, if you can find the answer and if you can give an answer. The process stops if customers are not even able to in a simple manner enter questions. The trigger is not there. There is no use case. It will be silent.

If information is hard to find in documentation, please rewrite.

If information is hard to get inside your knowledge based systems, welcome to the club :-). That is why we all share. Information. Especially in the software business.

Vote, debate and participate
Last but not least, make your voice heard.
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Of course I will now try MOS. And see how it works. On my PC I can install Flash.

1 comment:

sLars said...

I now get an error when doing URL: do not know what the error is. Does not look good.