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What does it take to be at the top of your class? The answer to this question isn't surprising: whether you're an individual striving for personal achievement or part of a corporate team working to gain customer recognition, it takes commitment, dedication and action to garner best-in-class kudos. It also takes talent.

This Demo will show you how to use the Novell Technical Services online. View Demo

As a case in point, the Novell Technical Services organization, which is part of Novell Global Services, is dedicated to providing Novell customers and partners with quality products, programs and services. And it considers its commitment to pursue continual quality improvements as the responsibility of every team member. Couple this dedication and commitment with certified support professionals, and you have an award-winning, customer-lauded technical services and support organization. In a recent Lighthouse Research survey, Linux customers named Novell the top Linux support provider across all Linux vendors, and the Association of Support Professionals named the Novell Support Web site a winner in its 10th annual Ten Best Web Support Sites competition. (To learn more, visit novell.com/linux/support-survey.html and http://support.novell.com/quality.html.)

>It Gets Better
As a rule, praiseworthy organizations consider planning and implementing enhancements as a “business-as-usual” activity. With improvements already in the works for 2008, Novell Technical Services is no exception to this rule. For starters, the organization plans to add new Web support technologies and improve its search engine's capabilities.

>Web Support? Let's Chat
Novell Technical Services Online will make contacting a Novell support engineer more convenient this year than ever before. You'll be able to communicate with Novell support professionals in real time using a new chat-based service that's compatible across browsers. The chat service will work equally well with Internet Explorer and Mozilla-based browsers such as Firefox and Opera, so you'll be able to use your favorite browser with confidence. You'll also be able to chat using your language of choice. Novell Technical Services is staffed to support English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese communications.

The new service will be available as a support option when you submit a service request via the Novell eService portal at novell.com/center/eservice. When you select Chat as your preferred method of communication, the Novell Support site will prompt you to download and install a small client for your chat session. The client will politely (and automatically) remove itself at the end of your support session.

You'll be able to use the chat service to engage a Novell support engineer even before you begin a support session. When you end a session, the service will retain your chat for easy future reference: to view your chat history, you'll simply access the Novell eService portal, select your service request number and click on the Attachments tab. During your support session, the service will display your chat in a session-specific tab for easy access.

>Sophisticated Service Meets Remote Control
By reducing the time it takes for online communication, the chat service will allow Novell support engineers to help you resolve your issue faster. But suppose you need more than information? Suppose you need hands-on assistance? Luckily, the ability to engage support engineers in real-time online conversation is only one of this service's many capabilities. The new service will also make it possible to get the hands-on help you need without arranging for on-site support. In other words, it will do much more than enable you to chat with your support engineer. From within your chat session, the new service will seamlessly provide permission-based remote support capabilities that range from diagnostics to remote control.

The chat service will allow your support engineer to connect directly to your system, enabling him or her to see first-hand the issue you're describing. Armed with this capability, your engineer can more quickly troubleshoot your issue and provide easier walk-through directions for resolving it. The service's remote-desktop tools work in multi-platform environments on attended or unattended machines. They also work through corporate firewalls using standard HTTP and HTTPS ports, so you won't need to poke holes in your firewall. (See Figure 1.)

The chat-based service and its remote-control capabilities will allow you or your support engineer to:

  • Take a system-wide snapshot: Your support engineer will be able to gather a snapshot of system information up front, at the beginning of your remote support session. With this information at hand, your engineer can more quickly diagnose and resolve issues.
  • Select from multiple levels of remote access: Depending on your particular support needs, you'll allow your Novell engineer to share his or her system, view your system, or take remote control of your system. During view-only support sessions, support engineers can enhance their communications with you by using a virtual pointer to guide you as you navigate your issue. This pointer will enable support engineers to offer more effective help while keeping you in control. And should you want to hand over control, you can do that too.
  • Reboot workstations and then automatically reconnect them to the network: If the solution to your workstation problem requires a reboot and the workstation is running Windows, the chat service will automatically log the workstation in to the network and restart your support session. In other words, you won't need to keep the workstation's end user around to log in to his or her machine. For Mac and Linux workstations, on the other hand, you'll need end-user participation for reboots. After end users log in to their machines, the chat service can automatically restart your support session.
  • Moonlight as a trainer: The chat service includes a presentation mode that will enable your internal support engineer to train your staff. Presentation mode works like a desktop-sharing application (Windows Live Meeting, for example). This feature will enable a remote trainer (or meeting attendee) to display and control an application of your choosing. Up to 15 trainees can benefit from a presentation mode training session. Support engineers can also use presentation mode to reverse the remote desktop connection, allowing them to show you their screen. By doing this, your support engineer can give you a clearer description of what you must do to resolve your issue.
  • Access your machine's command line interface: When the solution to your issue requires a look at what's going on behind the scenes, your support engineer will be able to access your computer's command prompt. In a future release, the chat service will even record the entire command shell as a Flash Video (.flv) file, which will enable you to revisit the command line interface's text display of results and errors whenever the need arises.
  • Access your computer's file system: Correcting a persistent problem can sometimes be as simple as tweaking the contents of a file. The chat service will allow you to let your remote support engineer fine-tune file contents from distances great or small. Using a few simple controls, your engineer will be able to view, open, edit, send and receive files.
  • Complete large file transfers every time: With the new chat service, you won't need to worry about connectivity problems even during the largest file transfers. The service will remember the precise point at which it loses connectivity and resume its file transfer as soon as it has a good connection.

For more information about the forthcoming chat-based service, visit http://support.novell.com/search/about.html.

>Spot-On Searches
The new chat-based capability is destined to keep Novell Technical Services at the top of Linux customers’—and your—A-list of support providers. Likewise, search engine improvements on the Novell Support Web site are sure to keep it in the winner's circle. How will Novell improve its already-powerful search engine? It will make the search engine smarter. Finely tuned document tagging will increase the quality of your search results, while enhanced internal reporting will enable Novell to see—and as a result, fill—gaps in the engine's ability to return the information you're seeking. Novell will also simplify the search engine interface to help you find the most important information first. The new interface will organize your search results by document type using a convenient tab structure that lets you quickly and easily locate the precise document you need. (See Figure 2.)<

>A Matter of Focus
The search engine will make pinpointing the information you need easier and faster than ever before. For example, it will let you fine-tune queries by searching within a set of results. And to further help you focus in on the document you seek, the new, smarter search engine will suggest related topics and documents, enabling you to quickly eliminate the clutter that inevitably comes with queries that are too broad.

>A Certain Element of Fun
Improvements also include features that make finding previous search successes a snap—and possibly introduce an element of fun. For example, you can experience the pleasure of sharing your opinion about the documents you find. The new document-rating system will make it easy to let others benefit from your search successes. By rating the documents that are especially useful (or not useful), you can even affect the documents' relevancy in future searches—across the entire Novell user community.

Another improvement will let you save particularly useful documents as favorites. Finding these documents will be as convenient as finding the favorites you've bookmarked in your browser: simply go to the search engine's Favorites tab and click.

Although Novell Technical Services provides the search engine for do-it-yourself support, the organization will involve support engineers to make issues easier to resolve. Specifically, it will include a Best Bets feature that allows Novell experts to designate documents that are particularly relevant for certain queries. You'll find these engineer-recommended documents in a special section located above the other search results. In addition, Novell Technical Services will archive old documents so they don't clutter your search results. If you need information about older Novell products, you'll be able to find archived documents by performing an advanced search.

For more information about search engine improvements, visit http://support.novell.com/search/about.html.

>What More Could You Want? Just Ask
As enhancements in the Novell Support site search engine and the new Web-based support service indicate, the Novell Technical Services organization intends to stay at the top of its class by improving offerings across the board. You can count on the organization to build future improvements on a fierce commitment to quality, an organization-wide dedication to continual improvements, talented staff, and a demonstrated willingness to implement as well as innovate. By doing so, Novell Technical Services will undoubtedly succeed. Of course, it will also owe its success to you.

The Novell Technical Services organization encourages your feedback. To demonstrate the extent to which it relies on you, its customers, for direction, the organization plans to optimize its search engine's accuracy based on the results you select as most accurate. And the search system will learn from every search you initiate, improving on its own to become the tool you need it to be. Whether you're using the portal to access a Novell support engineer or do-it-yourself information, you can count on getting an unprecedented level of personalized service that rewards your business with fast, accurate results that are tailored specifically to meet your needs.


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