This is Part 3 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series. What is the customer experience when contacting the supplier’s technical support?
Technical support is an area where users shouldn’t underestimate the importance. This blog will cover some important aspects of technical support to consider when evaluating different tunneling suppliers.
If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, we highly recommend that you read those posts first. Also, if you are unfamiliar with exactly what an OPC tunnel is please click here for a blog post explaining that topic.
As much as the engineer inside you dislikes asking for help, you know eventually you will need to call technical support. Your chosen tunneler may end up being a mission critical application in your operation’s technology software stack. As part of your evaluation to purchase a tunneler, you’ll want to understand your supplier’s technical support policy and responsiveness.
Here are a few questions to ask:
- Is the Support included when you purchase your license? If so, how long does it last?
- Can you renew support once it expires and if so how much does it cost?
- Does the supplier offer repeat year renewals or multi-year renewals?
- What benefits, besides technical support, come with their support agreement?
- What happens if your PC fails and you need to re-activate your license?
- Does the supplier have a detailed knowledgebase for self-help?
- Can you login and view your past cases so if you have a problem again and need to retrieve the resolution from the prior case, you can do so without having to call the supplier?
Another important factor when evaluating a supplier’s technical support is how long does it take to get help? It’s recommended to call, email, or both before you purchase to evaluate actual technical support response time. Ask about their typical response level commitment and how that is measured? When a critical problem occurs, and you need technical support, every minute of downtime costs you money. Make sure your supplier offers responsive technical support so you can minimize your wait time for resolution.
An often overlooked aspect of support has to do with the supplier’s licensing or copy protection system. Ask what happens if the PC fails and you need to reactivate your license. Some suppliers have strict policies and will require their customer to purchase a new license if the PC fails. Ask about this policy ahead of time so you don’t end up in a stressful “plant down” situation and your supplier requires you to purchase another license.A suppliers technical support policies and responsiveness is just one of the many considerations when choosing an OPC tunnel. To reiterate from our last post, choosing an effective tunneler that takes into account your application requirements will make a big difference in your operational effectiveness, resiliency, and profitability. Learn about the other reasons in the free whitepaper “25 Considerations when choosing a tunneling solution”.