Working Effectively With Oracle World Wide Support!
Posted: 20 October 2006 10:07 PM
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Being fairly new to the realm of support, (Its been 1 year in my role as an on-site post implementation functional support consultant), I’ve over the months attended a couple of Oracle Web Conferences and seminars to boost up my knowledge base on working with metalink; a forum any consultant working with Oracle support will interact with and deal with almost on a daily basis. I came across this very nice presentation “Working Effectively with Support”, and I found it really valuable, as a support novice. I’d recommend to any one beginning out in Support to attend that web conference, and any others. Its one practice I haven’t regretted allocating some hours of my after hours doing.

The presentation can be accessed via the following link

http://metalink.oracle.com/metalink/plsql/f?p=125:3:12177682878312413006::::P3_ID:2328689.993

A metalink user name and password is required.

“Working Effectively with Support” covers the following areas. I’ll give the topic along with a brief description of a few of the sub-topics:

1. What Oracle Metalink is; Defined as a web application that provides;
        - Technical Information and Solutions.
        -  Patches
        -  Bugs, Support Engineers and other users in the Oracle Community.

2. Support Terminology and Tools which include;
          -CSI Numbers (Customer Support Identifier)
          -SR Numbers and Severity Definitions. Severity 1, 2, 3, and 4 Service Requests and their business impacts.
          -Service Request Status Codes. What status code is displayed on metalink from the time you raise a service request to the time it’s updated, up and until it’s resolved. Some of these include, NEW- New SR, ASG- Assigned to Support Engineer, WIP- Work in Progress, SCL- Soft Close, HCL- Hard Close, DEV- Assigned to Development, IRR- Immediate Response Required, and many others.


3.  Diagnostic Tests;

          -These gather Information about the Oracle Environment from the server, and applications. One common diagnostic script probably known to every AP support Consultant is the AP List diagnostic script.

4.  Oracle Collaborative Support; This is a very fascinating facility where a Service Analyst Engineer can remotely have access to your test instance. Its used to observation, validation, and problem verification, or many times as I have experienced, when an analyst doesn’t think you deployed the solution as instructed, more so for data fixes.

5.  What A Support Engineer Does; Ever wondered what a Support Engineer actually does?

-Acts as liaison between a customer and support.
- Responds to new incoming SR’s.
- Provides Resolutions or workarounds.


6.  The SR Process; This part actually explains the whole SR Creation to  
Resolution cycle.

-  Running diagnostics to verify problem and possible resolution
-  Generation of SR number
-  Assignment to Systems Engineers
-  Routing to Bug Development Engineering (BDE)


7.  Support Best Practices

-  Shared Owner ship in issue resolution.
-  Joint planning on problem resolution.
-  Solution deployment before introduction to the production environment

8.  Communicating Issues ;

-  Clear problem statement, cause and effect
-  Reviewing the knowledge base on metalink. Sometimes a similar problem may have been reported before and a   solution exists.

9.        The Escalation Procedure; this explains the escalation procedure if your not getting a timely response from Support or if the issue is urgent. It involves bringing supports management’s attention to your issue, not raising the severity. It outlines the escalation levels that are there for a service request.


I found this presentation valuable in the following ways.

1.  It enables one to understand the structure of Oracle World Wide Support, or metalink as it’s commonly known, and work efficiently and effectively as the power points title suggest. For instance when the On-Site Support team has a problem and is not immediately able to update an SR, due to say a delayed clone of the production environment, infrastructure issues which may deny you access to a test environment, or delayed response from the customer in feeding back about a solution you asked them to test, its imperative that you update the SR with the situation at hand immediately. Don’t just let it hang.

2.  It helps an on-site support consultant in clearly communicating and explaining solutions to the client. Understanding the various SR codes will enable you to do this. Some customers are very difficult and aggressive and will want issue updates every now and then, so you’ll need to understand the escalation procedure.

3.  It introduces you to diagnostic tools. Not every problem requires you to raise a Service Request. Each module has a diagnostic tool and test. These will check the configurations of your system and data, to establish any issues that may exist. Diagnostics are addressed in another web conference called “Support Diagnostics for E-business suit 11”.

4.  It can help one set up an efficient in-house help-desk structure and Call Logging Procedure. Some of the metalink processes such as the Issue Escalation Process, and Issue Statuses can be applied to an in-house helpdesk.
Co-ownership of issues and joint problem resolution between first line support and the customer is very important too.


Nice Reading!


Timothy

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