Friday, November 23, 2012

Things are not always what they seem to be…

The best place to illustrate this point would be Las Vegas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the place, where else can you experience change of scenery – from New York to Venice without even boarding a plane. I stayed in Venetian while at the HP Discover earlier this year, nice hotel, so I decided to explore it yet again, this time without a benefit of a room there, just passing by. Nothing changed, and it was actually better than the real thing, which is under water ...

So, sometimes the real thing is not what you may want.
Guardian (UK) posted this picture on November 11, 2012:

On the other hand…when I bought my new Sony laptop with Windows 8, which is supposed to be almost as good as Apple … I tell you (and I am sure comForte CTO Thomas Burg will not agree), what a joke! Nothing is intuitive about it, if I did not stop by the Microsoft store where a salesman showed me the basics I would not have known which way is up! It only got worse from there. I installed Outlook 2010, and for over a week send/receive was going on, without new messages arriving – not until I closed and re-opened the program. I admit! I gave up! I called Microsoft support. Nice people. No, there is no support included with your purchase of their software. You want to get support; you have to fork over an extra $99.00! No matter that it is their software that’s malfunctioning. Maintenance charge is not a part of the software purchase price, that’s an extra. I recall a few years ago Richard got himself a Mac Air, and there were some issues. Apple store folks tended to it, spent time analyzing and finding a solution – no charge!

Anyway, I paid my $99 and got remote support – turned out my outlook data file was corrupted. Well, I did not corrupt it, their software did, yet I had to pay to get it fixed! Honestly, I seem to recall you could get an advice on a phone without having to pay extra, but I may be wrong.

Most vendors selling software on NonStop include a maintenance component in the selling price, and it then really acts as insurance. Some customers need no support, some need a lot of hand holding, and it evens out in the end. Of course it evens out when you are in full swing, having a lot of customers. When you first start and build a business the support is where most your money goes, you have to have staff to provide an outstanding support, or you will never build a business.

Some stores, like Fry’s or Best Buy offer a support contract when you buy a PC from them. When I bought my previous Sony, with Windows 7, I did buy Best Buy plan. I was lucky not to need it. This time I did not go for any plans, and ended up paying Microsoft directly so that they could fix what they messed up. Somehow it did not feel right.

Yet, things are not always what they seem to be… The support representative from Microsoft was actually incredibly diligent and helpful. He stayed with me on a phone for several hours making sure the issue is resolved, and when I asked him to take a look at another problem on my other laptop he was only too happy to assist. It’s been over 4 hours, problem resolved, and in the end I feel it was a best spent $99.00.

It is all about people and personal touch – in all businesses, large and small. For the NonStop community, this may all appear to be somewhat alien but for many it has been the level of support, the initial build quality, and the team of solutions architects that is being funded by the  NonStop sales that separates NonStop from other solutions. Having worked for and with some of the NonStop Vendors  I have to say it is the support and personal touch that makes the ecosystem unique, and that’s why so many large institutions depend on NonStop vendors.    

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