BCD Technical Support Team Priorities

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An open letter to all our customers and prospects.

We periodically get asked the question of what exactly is covered under the 'Technical Support' blanket and I'd like to try to clarify that. This page is the long version but you can also read the summary instead!

As a rule, I'm an enemy of hard or static policies - I don't believe that an environment heavy with 'policies' gives our team the latitude to do what they believe is right in all the situations we are called upon to address in the course of our day. So rather than listing a series of policies, this document attempts to lay out and explain the general principles that guide us in our role.

The Golden Rule
The broadest principle that governs us is that we strive to treat everyone as we would wish to be treated in similar circumstances. Everything else is secondary to that.

Successful Implementations
Beyond the Golden Rule, the objective of the BCD Technical Support Team is to help our customers be successful. This doesn't just mean "successful with installing our tools and starting to roll out the gate". Rather, it means "successful with implementing our tools in critical roles in production environments".

Once you are actively using our software in your organization we will make every effort to help you keep it running, such that you come to trust and rely on it (and us!) implicitly.

Resilience and Self-Reliance
We also believe that in the long run it's best for your own organization to become as resilient as possible. This means that in our exchanges with you we go beyond simply solving problems to trying to help you understand how particular problems arise, and how, in the future, you can solve them on your own. Over time we will start to encourage frequent callers toward greater independence, fostering more self-reliance in your organization.

Team Priorities
Now, to break down the objectives above into a bit more detail, here is an informal ranking of our team's priorities:

  1. Production Software is Down:

    Our top priority is to help you get production software running again if something goes wrong. If you run into a problem with a critical WebSmart or Presto application or a Catapult grab rule that distributes important reports, we want to help you get that running again as quickly as possible. Of course, sometimes our applications are affected by changes on your system or your servers or other installed software. This means that in some situations we won't be able to solve the problems for you ourselves and will need to settle for pointing you in the right direction. But if your applications or critical tools are down our top priority is to help you get them running again.

  2. Errors in BCD Tools:

    Apart from emergency situations like those described above the meat of our support services is to provide you with direction on any questions or issues directly relating to our products getting installed and working as advertised. In other words, all questions that no one else will be able to answer for you because they are directly related to the software tools that BCD creates and owns.

  3. Development Questions related to our Tools:

    We also see ourselves as having a key role in giving you help and guidance with development strategies that are unique to our tools. For example: using smurfs or some of our unique WebSmart PML functions, or helping you understand the relationship between the various skin and internal JavaScript files in Presto. While there is some overlap here with the role of our Professional Services team, our support team will make every effort to help you with these types of questions. With these types of questions we try to give higher priority to callers who are just getting started (and therefore least likely to be able to solve problems on their own). If you've been programming in PML for a while and your questions aren't so much about the nature of the PML itself but about how to build an application with it, some of your questions may fall more into a generic 'how-to' category (see below).

  4. IBM i Centric Issues:

    Below the above mandates, we want to help our customers with issues that may be unique to our chosen platforms, such as helping you through any learning process related to running PHP on the IBM i or adding custom files to the IFS. These types of questions are a lower priority because you can usually find answers in other places, and the technologies are not ours.

  5. Program Logic/Web Development Assistance:

    And finally, of the myriad calls that we get, the lowest priority of the support team is questions from experienced web developers on how to design web pages or implement business logic. In other words, helping you problem-solve issues related to your unique environment or assisting you with with development in any of the non-proprietary web technologies used in our products such as SQL, HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript or jQuery.

Ironically, a significant amount of the support we provide does fall into this last category - and we do enjoy challenging questions and problems related to all these technologies! Unfortunately, interesting as these questions may be, it's not fair for us to give too much time to these and neglect higher priority questions from other customers.

If you have been using our tools for some time, and you need extensive help with development questions, you may need to work with either our Professional Services team, or purchase blocks of hours of Ad Hoc Services.

If you've gotten this far on this page, I want to thank you for your interest in our support services! If you own or are evaluating our tools hopefully you have found our technical support to be excellent - invariably exceeding your expectations.

If you have any questions or comments, please give us a call at (250) 655-177, or drop me an email.

Scott Honeyman
BCD Support Manager