How Software Development and Support Can Work Together to Make Worldwide Friends
Supporting enterprise customers in multi-year relationships can be a demanding yet extremely satisfying experience. It’s not uncommon in the fast-paced, automated world of data protection to assume 'set it and forget it' functionality. This is a feature that customers want and a true aspiration for many vendors in this business. Their implied message is, “Use our solutions because they’re automated and so reliable that all you need to do after deployment is scan exception reports periodically.”
The inevitable reality, however, is that something will not work as expected, maybe as the result of a hardware refresh or even adding a new application to the estate. More likely, it’s an upgrade that no one thought was significant but disturbed the system equilibrium. Now exception reports are flaming red and management is asking pointed questions about what you are doing to make them green again. What do you do when 'set it and forget it' forces you to remember?
To help make upgrades an easier and more efficient process, Commvault has taken its flagship VIP approach to customer support to the proverbial 'next level' with its Upgrade Advisor Program. With this program, customers planning to upgrade from Simpana 8 or 9 to Simpana 10 have access to a Commvault technical resources. Usually it's a member of our software development team, who acts as an advisor and primary point of contact during their initial upgrade period. The Advisor provides guidance and recommendations in order to streamline the upgrade and may follow-up with the customer after the upgrade is complete to ensure that the new environment is operating as expected. Consulting with an Upgrade Advisor is optional, but it’s recommended that customers take advantage of this no-fee service, especially in situations where Commvault professional services or a Commvault service partner is not engaged.
The Upgrade Advisor program has been in place since September 2013. We consistently hear positive feedback from customers about how their advisors have helped them successfully navigate processes, which make run-of-the-mill upgrades an anxious experience. Just ask Paolo Michelli, Senior Systems Administrator with the Canadian Resident Matching Service.
“Commvault support and development recently helped my team through a delicate phase of software development and hardware upgrades. They worked side-by-side with us from my initial outreach to support to the successful completion of the implementation; keeping lines of communication open every step of the way. In fact, the support team went out of its way to help me optimize my environment for long-term growth and success. I am truly impressed with Commvault’s product and support engineers. We’ve all heard the cliché about ‘going above and beyond,’ but everyone who touched this case truly rose above the bar to provide a level of support that I can honestly say I have never experienced in 15 years of IT.”
Of course, when needing an answer, many Simpana software users will initially visit Commvault’s online documentation, affectionately called Books Online or 'BOL' for short. BOL is a fully indexed searchable repository of technical knowledge on all things related to Simpana software. It includes sections for best practices whitepapers and for leveraging Commvault’s Cloud Services site. We’re different from most data protection companies because we provide our product documentation to the public and in a web-based format. No logins or maintenance contracts are required to get a deeply detailed, technical understanding of the inner workings of Simpana software. With the depth, breadth, and simplicity of BOL, it’s understandable why as many as 20,000 customers visit BOL every day and make it one of the first places they go to understand a technical challenge.
Or you may be one of the approximately 900 customers who come to one of our seven customer support forums each day. Nearly 11,000 subscribers use these forums, our knowledge-base, our online video tutorials and Podcasts, and other incident management tools on Maintenance Advantage to resolve the unexpected challenges that can occur with 'set it and forget it.' And of course, for those Commvault customers needing product support from a 'live' Simpana software expert, you can always pick up the phone. When you do, you will reach an experienced and highly trained, technical engineer that works with you to quickly resolve your unique situation in a professional, confident and friendly manner.
In practical reality, Commvault is not perfect. But our Development team continually works to improve our product, and our Support groups strive to resolve incidents faster while maintaining a high level of customer intimacy. Together, the two organizations collaborate continuously to ensure product issues are solved at the source and customers benefit from an industry leading satisfaction rating of 96 percent.
Because of our collaborative approach to Development and Customer Support, I can confidently say that Commvault is making friends worldwide.
Jeff Dorr is senior product marketing manager for Commvault, focused on our services portfolio.