MOS Auto Responses : What’s my problem with them?

A couple of days ago I took to Twitter with a rather “incendiary” tweet caused by my frustration with MOS. It’s not about the specific SR or issue itself. It’s more a frustration with MOS generally and the way they handle some requests, specifically the automatic responses. I’ll explain.

The Moaning

  • I had an issue.
  • I Googled and didn’t find too much in the way of help.
  • I opened a SR about the issue, including an image to help explain my issue.
  • During that process it suggested some other stuff I might want to look at, one of which was quite interesting, but none of which were actually relevant. No problems I thought. At least I’ve learned something…
  • Next thing I get some emails about updates to my call. I logged in to find these 4 responses.
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
  • I was really angry about the auto-responses, and unloaded on Twitter using some rather “choice language”…

I totally understand a request for more information. The response of, “Please upload the RDA/TFA/AHF file”, is common and understandable on many occasions. It does annoy me more than a little when you are asking a general question, that is not specific to your software version, but you still have to upload it. Whatever…

So why did I lose the plot this time?

  • There are 4 messages, instead of one consolidated message. I hate that. It’s annoying. I just know that someone is running a report saying, “Look, we’ve done 1 gazillion responses this month”, but it’s all generated crap! This should have been one concise and clear request for additional information.
  • Just look at that second response. Are you kidding me? Loads of rubbish I don’t need to know and repetition of the first message. If I sent this sort of message to my users I’d be marched out of the building. If you think this is acceptable, please quit your job now! You have no place in a role that is even remotely user-facing.
  • How do you think people are going to respond to this? It makes me angry and I kind-of know what I’m doing. How do you expect some junior member of staff to respond to this? I’ll tell you how. They will ignore it, never fix the issue and think “Oracle is crap”. Thanks! Just what we need. I asked a colleague to look at it and their response was, “It’s like they don’t want you to continue with the request”. See?
  • People pay a lot of money for support, and this is what you are presented with? Really?

I’ve now deleted the tweet. I was *not* asked to delete it, and if I had been I definitely would not have, but I decided to because it was gathering too much momentum, such is the general feeling about Oracle Support, and it was not meant to be me grandstanding. It was just genuine frustration with a service my company is paying money for!

I’m a fan of automation. I understand wanting to streamline the SR process, and if automation can help, that’s great, but this is not the way to do it!

What should it look like?

It’s just my opinion, but I think something like this would be reasonable.

We need more information to continue. Please run the following Trace File Analyzer (TFA) commands and upload the files.

1) Run this command on the Agent target machine and answer the questions when prompted.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emtbsmetric

2) Enable debug on the OMS server using this command.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emdebugon

Repeat the actions in EM that you are trying to diagnose, then disable debug on the OMS server using this command.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emdebugoff

If you need more information about TFA or manual file collection for this issue, check out DOC ID 2279135.1.

If you would like to read more about the My Oracle Support automatic troubleshooting, check out Doc ID 1929376.1.

A single message that asks for the relevant information, and gives links if you need something more. That gets the job done, isn’t scary to new people and isn’t going to cause me to lose it on Twitter.

Feedback from Oracle

You may have noticed this post in my feed for a couple of days, but when you clicked on it, it was password protected. That’s because I wrote the post to provide some better feedback than my initial tweet, but delayed the publication while I waited for some feedback from Oracle. I was put in contact with the Vice President, Global Customer Support and the Sr. Director, DB-EM Proactive Support. Their respective responses were as follows. I’ve left out their names as not all folks like being name-checked.

“Hi Tim, Just reviewed your blog post and agree that the auto-responses are verbose. Adding our DB proactive lead who will follow up with you directly on planned next steps.”

Vice President, Global Customer Support

“Hi Tim, I have reviewed your blog regarding your experiences with SR automation. I want to thank you for providing this feedback. Direct feedback from users of SR automation is extremely important and valuable. We take the effectiveness of our SR automation very seriously. Our intention is to provide a streamlined support experience which allows us to identify information, up front in the SR, that will result in the shortest resolution time. There is a balance between casting a wide net to ensure we receive all diagnostic data required vs. the ease of consuming/executing the request to get that data. Admittedly, we don’t always strike the correct balance.   

Regarding the case described in your blog, I agree that our diagnostic messaging should be more concise and consumable. I also appreciate your thoughts on using collectors, such as TFA, to simplify the instructions. We have a plan to address this specific automation flow to eliminate superfluous information and provide a clear message around what is required and how to obtain that information. Additionally, I will incorporate your feedback into our review process, which is conducted on an on-going basis for our automation flows. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other feedback or suggestions. As I said, this kind of feedback is appreciated and always welcomed.”

Sr. Director, DB-EM Proactive Support

The whole Twitter episode wasn’t my finest moment, but if nothing else I’m glad the message got through to the correct people. Of course, all of this is just words unless something substantial happens. Please don’t let us down!

To everyone else out there, please continue to add your own constructive feedback on all things (in life). There’s no point complaining about a problem, if you’ve never actually raised it. I think of it like voting. If you didn’t bother to vote, I don’t really think you are entitled to moan about the outcome.



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Video : Docker Compose – Defining Multi-Container Applications

In today’s video we’ll take a look at Docker Compose, which allows you to define multi-container applications. In this example we are using the Oracle REST Data Services and Oracle Database 19c images we built on Oracle Linux 8 (oraclelinux:8-slim) in previous videos.

For those that prefer to read, this is based on the following information.

The star of today’s video is Murali Vallath, who looks incredibly suspicious of my motivation for videoing him. 🙂