Cool Solutions

Support Offerings


February 12, 2008 8:06 am





Some of you might have seen some messages about the changes Novell made for the support programs. Probably the biggest change is the fact that for VLA customers we do not have Upgrade Protection and Maintenance separated anymore but now offer a combined package with version upgrades, technical support and even on-line training included.

The new offerings are Standard Maintenance and Priority Maintenance, Standard offers 12 x 5 support while Priority maintenance offers 24 x 7. Both Standard and Priority Maintenance will come with unlimited product-specific support. A customer with Maintenance on ZENworks won’t be allowed to log incidents for some NetWare or GroupWise issues if he doesn’t have maintenance on these products, but there won’t be a limit on the amount of calls he can raise with Novell like we had in the past.

For more info about the new support offerings, have a look at the Support Options.

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  1. By:Ian

    At the risk of sounding xenophobic, is all of Novell’s support being off shored to India?

  2. @Ian: No… I am not aware of any plans that all of Novell’s support will be off shored to India. But having said that, the India Support, also calld ISC (India Service Center) is as great as anywhere else, like the EMEA Service Center in the Netherlands, Nuremberg, Prague, the field offices around Europe like in Düsseldorf, Bracknell, Stockholm, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Zurich, Edinburgh, Johannesburgh… and not to mention some individual contributors not located on aforementioned support locations in Europe. Besides that Novell Services has support locations in all other geos, e.g. China, Asiapac, Japan, South America and the obviously the USA.
    So…I doubt that all of this will go to India. No need to become xenophobic 😉

  3. By:Ron van Herk

    As Christan already mentioned, we have support centers around the world. I’m working in the European Support Center where we have most people working out of the office in Capelle aan den IJssel (Netherlands), but we do have people working out of Nuremberg and Prague as well. Some teams just have people located at different offices.
    I assume we will see more and more of these virtual teams working out of different locations, it’s more easy to have the whole team in the same building but after working with people at different offices for some time you do get used to this. If a person in the office in Nuremberg would leave and we can find a good replacement in Prague, that shouldn’t be an issue as long as he has the right skills.
    Besides, we are still looking for an experienced ZENworks engineer for our office in the Netherlands. If someone is interested let me know 😉

  4. By:Ian

    Thank you Ron and Christian.

    I know cool blogs isn’t a place to gripe really(or is it?), but personally, I’ve never felt satisfied with the support I’ve received from the ICS. So I guess I have to respectfully disagree with your assertion of the quality. I feel like I have TIDs regurgitated to me rather than having the support person actually understand the issue. At $500 a clip, I expect the “engineer” to grasp the issue, or at least make an attempt to solve it rather than trying to get me off the phone like I get calling Verizon about my mobile phone. Maybe I have just had bad luck with the personnel I have gotten.

    Moreover, the communication issues are also a huge barrier to getting things solved. Besides the language barriers, the actual quality of the phone calls are often poor. Either I feel like the support personnel sound like they’re in a small tunnel, or I get to hear a dozen other support calls at the same time.

    I have made sure to answer the post SR surveys honestly. I understand the movement to cut expenses is the way technical support is going. But for this customer, Novell saving money by eliminating domestic support jobs does not help me in any way. I’m strongly considering dropping Novell support in favor of local consultants.

    I understand my post won’t change anything. But I really wish that it might open the eyes of some people at Novell who honestly think that off shoring domestic support is a good thing.

  5. By:Flyingguy

    Yeah right!

    The last time I called 800-858-4000, from California and 10 in the morning, care to guess where I got sent to?

    Go ahead, Guess!!!!

    India pal, I ended up talking to a script reader for a really thorny SLP problem that was complex and had no simple solution. After putting up with someone stumbling over the script for 45 minutes ( it is not their fault that they are not intimately familiar with NetWare ) I finally politely asked for a supervisor and started trying to get this call escalated back to Utah, it took me another 30 minutes to make that happen, to finally get ahold of someone who knew what they were talking about.

    So after wasting an Hour and Fifteen minutes of MY time, for which I paid a very high price for the privilege of doing thank you so VERY much, I got to an engineer in Utah who *actually* understood the problem and we got it fixed in about fifteen minutes, but ONLY because he had access to the internal knowledgebase, which Novell does not give outsiders access to, not even for a price.

  6. By:Jan

    This can also be seen as a business barrier for those Novell Partners which are used to work with customer providing them support other than consultant and project management and whatever.

    Any customer has got skills to install or configure or update the very new product which come out from Novell and guess who they call when somethings does not work properly? Not the Novell Partner anymore for sure. This aside, can NTS manage all these new requests are suppose to arrive??

  7. By:Ron van Herk

    Cool Blogs is about having an open discussion with customers, and that does mean that some feedback might not be positive. So feel free to comment, as long as it’s constructive feedback and not just a complete rant.

    Support is something very personal, you’ve got direct contact with someone and are dependent on him/her to get your issue resolved as soon as possible. At the same time however that engineer that your talking too is part of a large support organization. Novell does try to make sure that your support experience is consistent and at a high level, this however doesn’t mean nothing can go wrong. Just like any other company Novell is also a business that needs to provide value for money, it needs a balance between quality support and the amount of resources (money) it can spend while providing the service to it’s customers. (somewhat off-topic, but have a look at a very good article about finding balance while developing a product). Please provide feedback about your support experience, please return the survey we end out after a call has been closed, that’s one of the important tools we use to find the balance we need.

    Back to your comment about the ISC. I know there have been some problems when they moved a large part of the GroupWise Support from Provo to India, within a short period of time several of the GroupWise engineers moved to different teams and as a result of this the transition to the ISC didn’t go as smooth as it should have been. Thing’s like this happen and we try to learn from it. It might looks like customer feedback doesn’t make a difference, but be sure it’s being looked at very closely.

  8. By:Richard Seepaul

    This is a response to “Comment by Ian” re ICS and “offshore” support.
    I agree with his comments and observations based on my experiences over the past 4 years.
    We have been a Novell customer since Netware 3.10.
    I have therefore used support for a long time.
    We have had Premium 24×7 support for several years since Netware 4.11.
    Our first bad experiences with “offshore” support began with Computer Associates, then Microsoft and now Novell.
    The issues are remarkably similar.
    The issues you encounter with the support engineers that are not “English as a first language” are infuriating particularly in the case of ICS.

    The quality has declined with ICS, to pretend that it has not is “Alice in wonderland stuff”.
    When I call suppport now if I can not get an English as a first language engineer I hang up.
    I have no desire to “re-experience” the following: I quote from Ians post “I expect the “engineer” to grasp the issue, or at least make an attempt to solve it rather than trying to get me off the phone like I get calling Verizon about my mobile phone. Maybe I have just had bad luck with the personnel I have gotten.

    Moreover, the communication issues are also a huge barrier to getting things solved. Besides the language barriers, the actual quality of the phone calls are often poor'”

    YES I understand my post will not change anything.

  9. By:Ron van Herk

    I hope people will be able to understand what I say during my BrainShare sessions
    I’m from the Netherlands and as such my native language is Dutch 🙂

    But indeed, the accent from some of the engineers out of India and the phone quality (or the latency on such a phone call) can be a huge problem. I frequently work with some of the developers out of India and over time I got used to their accent but I still prefer messenger when I need to discuss something with them.

    Your post might not change anything, but if large amounts of customers provide the same feedback, it sure does make a difference.

  10. By:Ken

    It has been years since I have had to place a support call to Novell, but during the last couple months, I had to place two calls. First one was handled by someone in Utah and I was very impressed. The second one was handled by someone in India. This guy knew what he was doing and did solve my problem. The big issue was that I couldn’t understand him – due to his accent and the phone line quality. I had to constantly ask him to repeat himself and even spell words so I could try to figure out what he was asking me to do. Extremely frustrating and caused the call to take much longer than it should have. I did say all this in the follow-up survey.

  11. By:Jason

    So I guess the best way to deal with this is to employ India Service Center to negotiate the next license contract my company has with Novell. I am sure they would love that, they are inexpensive and just as good as stateside negotiators 🙂

  12. By:jtreadwell

    I sit here, 9:34 P.M. Central. Waiting on someone at ISC to call and fix what is probably a simple config problem with GW. I call Novell support not because I don’t know the products, but usually because I do not wish to dedicate the time to finding the solution myself. Right now I need to drive 2 hours home, and be up early in the morning. Yet here I sit waiting on this call. I will post here again when the call is over with a report. This should be fun, the last time ISC got hold of my GW server they deleted the database.

  13. By:jtreadwell

    ok, so the guy I talked to actually redeemed them a little. He was polite, spoke well, and fixed my problem quickly. Took them forever to call back, but once he did, he didn’t wast time and got the issue resolved. Maybe things can get better in there.