I may anger some vendors with this topic. Okay, I feign to care. Can someone please tell me why software vendors
send installation technicians who know so little about a) the product they are
installing and b) computers in general? Do you ever feel like the tech that just left should pay you for all the training they just received? Working
for a fairly large company I see my fair share of vendors come and go. We upgrade and install new systems every
year, maybe too many. But because of
this, I get the opportunity to work with many fine field engineers.
In some cases, the technician the vendor sends is one of
their own, a corporate employee, and in other instances it is someone from a
local partner or VAR (Value Added Reseller). Either way, I find
that too many times their IT knowledge is severely limited. Get them out of their comfort zone and thats
it. You may as well take over the
installation. Most arrive with
documentation that walks them through every step of the process. A script, if you will. I can appreciate having a script to reference. The script is a set of instructions that tells
the technician exactly what to do and helps to ensure that nothing is forgotten
as well as keeps their customer sites essentially the same. This can make troubleshooting efforts easier
for their support staff. The problem is,
dont make them stray too far from the script or you could put the entire
installation in jeopardy.
Its generally the little things. The tech arrives on-site to discover that
Ive named the server something other than what his directions indicate;
instead of EMPLHSLP, its ADVRPT1. A few
months ago, I went on site to assist a vendor field engineer with a new
installation. It was a good thing too
because his instructions were to install everything to the C: drive. We happen to configure our Windows servers
with two partitions a system partition and a data/application partition. I confused him by instructing him to install the
application to E:. The day was then spent
demonstrating how to troubleshoot Windows error messages and editing batch
files to change path statements. I
honestly believe it was the first time he had opened a batch file for
editing. People starting fresh in the IT
field should not be sent to customer sites.
Or, if they are, they should be accompanied by an experienced
professional. It should be noted that he
was a professional, friendly guy who repeatedly thanked me for helping him and
showing him new tricks to use for future installations. I wont divulge the name, but can say that the
vendor in this case was a large international company that should be able to
hire qualified personnel.
I generally dont mind helping others in IT, especially
coworkers. But I do mind paying a
company for a service, and then spending time showing their technicians how to
perform basic troubleshooting tasks. You
generally pay a third party to perform an installation or service call because
youre either too busy to do it yourself or you want to have someone on-site
that knows more about the system than you.
This isnt an overblown rant over one bad experience either. I see more and more inexperienced or
unknowledgeable technicians. I do not
want to waste valuable time training someone elses staff, and paying to train
them just adds salt to the wound.
To be fair, there are many field engineers who are very
knowledgeable and good at what they do. Ive
learned a lot from some and take my hat off to them. We do have a complex environment that may not
be typical of what most support staff sees.
Even so, I would expect the person who arrives to know how to work
around basic problems that almost always arise.
I expect the person to know what Citrix MetaFrame is, and to be able to
work with me when I tell him the server isnt a physical piece of hardware but
is instead a hosted virtual server. Am I
asking too much?
What are your experiences with vendor field
technicians? Good? Bad?
Some of both I presume. If you
happen to work for a software vendor or VAR, defend yourself and tell me your
side. I know its not always black and