You open a ticket and wait… When you do get a reply it tells you to send information you’ve already posted, or suggests you try some workarounds you’ve already listed in the ticket as having not worked for you. You get frustrated and write a blog post ranting about how terrible the support service is etc. I guess this could be a story about just about any internet support service I’ve had to use over the years.
Do you remember in the old days, before the internet was popular, when you phoned support lines? Do you remember how quickly some of these annoying issues were resolved by simply saying, “I’ve already sent that!”, to a real person at the end of the line? OK. I’ve conveniently forgotten to mention being put on hold for hours, but this is my blog and I’m allowed to have a totally biased opinion about things…
Maybe elements of the good old days are coming back thanks to social media. Check out this article where Michael Dell proposes using Google+ Hangouts as a way of connecting to Dell service and sales.
Imagine the joy of being able to rant directly at a real person again.
I was just mailed a bug update and it included this text (spelling mistakes theirs, not mine).
Note customer is on Linux but could not find an available
11.2 Linux database to test on. Reprocided problem on Solaris
confirming that there is some generic problem here.
And here’s me thinking that firing up a VM with any version of Linux & Oracle was quick and easy. Perhaps their VMs are running on Amazon, hence the lack of available systems.
One of my Yoga buddies was given a laptop by is dad and wanted to get it connected over wireless. His dad also gave him a wireless ADSL router, but couldn’t get it set up. This sounds like a job for Captain Support…
The router wasn’t able to connect to the internet. It turned out that the router was not working properly and needed a firmware update. Next issue was the wireless connection between the router and the laptop was kinda funky. The connection would never work when any form of encryption was turned on. In the end I had to turn off encryption and stopped the router from broadcasting in an attempt to reduce the chances of people piggy-backing on it.
How are normal folk meant to cope with this? The answer is they don’t and they need Captain Support…
Rant Alert. The following is an unreasoned attack on the IT community in order to vent my frustration. I’m not claiming it makes any sense or it’s factually correct. It’s just how I feel today. Maybe I’ll feel different tomorrow…
I can’t help feeling that companies like Oracle are doing the IT world a major disservice by trying to make out that their products are easy to use. I have a quick newsflash… They are not!
This post is really a response to two things:
- My current work situation.
- Some of the questions I field on my forum.
From a work perspective, the mass exodus of people from my current company has left me having to deal with bits of technology that aren’t really my bag. It gets doubly annoying when I’m having to use bad support services to help me do really basic tasks. If software and hardware vendors were honest and made customers aware that they would need trained professionals to deal with this crap, perhaps people like me wouldn’t be left fumbling in the dark, trying to pick up the pieces.
From the Oracle forum side of things, I’ve really noticed a shift over the last few years and I’ve written about it before. The same type of questions are being asked as they always were. The difference is that in the past these questions were being asked by people trying to learn the technology. Now they seem to come from people who are employed as DBAs and developers by companies. I don’t believe the intellectual capacities of people have dropped over the years. I just think companies are employing under-skilled people to save money, or expecting people to cover roles they are not qualified to do. You wouldn’t let an electrician fix your plumbing, so why would you let this happen?
I don’t claim to know the answers, but I can see that the constant barrage of “point-and-click”, “intuitive” and “self-tuning” marketing messages are leading people to believe they don’t need qualified staff, and the result is a whole bunch of people asking how to recover their production databases from incomplete backups.
IT is getting more complicated and the range of skills needed in a company is getting bigger by the year. Companies need to be made to understand this or they will constantly be finding themselves in the shit!
I can understand Oracle charging for support and product upgrades, like 9i to 10g. I can even see the point of charging for releases upgrades, like 10gR1 to 10gR2. What I think is a little cheeky is to charge people for regular patchsets.
This line of thought came about because of a post on the Dizwell Forum, where someone mentioned they were running a production system without support. This person is working with 220.127.116.11.0 because they don’t have access to 18.104.22.168.0 as a result of not having a support and updates contract. Personally, I think this is more than a little mean of Oracle. Afterall, these patchsets are only fixing bugs in the product that was bought in good faith. Even Microsoft don’t charge for basic Windows Updates, only for version upgrades.
Personally, I believe patchsets on an existing product should be free to those who have a product license. Access to new releases and new product versions could still be restricted.
I just hope I’m never put in th same position as this guy!