Geekspeak: January 1, 2001
Technology Helps Where Size Can'tNo one can afford to scale up user support. we often hear the word "scalability" reverently invokedas if it were the necessary and sufficient trait of any enterprise IT solutionbut there are just too many users, in too many places, doing too many complex things to make scalable user support a cure for anything. Whats needed is not bigger help desks but a focus on support technologies that dont consume scarce help desk resources. "Tier Zero" solutions, such as self-healing systems, are good choices, as are "Tier One" solutions, such as plain-English support portals that offer education.
If a problem is so complexor a user so inexperiencedthat a staff member must intervene, the Tier Zero and Tier One technologies can still play important roles. Ed Gory (pictured above), director of e-business development at Support.com, recommends the use of instrumented user systems that can automatically submit vital configuration data such as the version of the system software on a users device, including any service packs installed.