first let me wish you all a happy new year. Hope you had an excellent start into 2014.
The first topic in our blog for this year is about supportability. Supportability is often ignored by software developers and architects. One of the reasons might be, that is does not add any immediate business benefit. Developers do not like supportability features, because they are somehow “boring” to them.
But if you switch to the user’s perspective, then you easily understand how supportability contributes to customer satisfaction. Just imagine, you are using a software product and something is not working as expected or specified. First thing you do is shooting an email to support or calling them on the phone. Typically, support asks you to collect some log files or possibly send some screenshots. After the first analysis, you might get some proposals what to do. If the product still fails, then you are usually asked to provide more information. After a couple of support rounds, customers might loose faith into the product and that is a big issue in regards to customer satisfaction.
For JDisc, supportability is key for our products. The problem for discovery products such as JDisc is that we cannot build the same IT environment that a customer created. We simply cannot have all devices that a customer might have in its environment. Therefore, we are already writing logs for the discovery server itself, but also for each device being discovered. That already helped us in the past when it comes to issues during the discovery process. However, currently, it is not as easy as it could be for our customers. Customers had to collect log files from the file system, export several Excel reports and collect discovery logs for the devices.
As IT administrators are busy all day, our goal is to reduce minimize the time needed for collecting troubleshooting information. Therefore, we are currently working on a one click support menu item. The idea is that JDisc collects all information that is required for our support by itself and stores all log files, Excel exports and version information in a ZIP file. This dramatically reduces the time required by customers to create support information and it also ensures, that our support engineers have all the information that they need.
The new supportability features will be integrated into the new release 3.1 which is scheduled for Q1 2014.