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How the SLA works and how to take appropriate action, when a support case is not resolved

Posted on 2016-09-11
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Last Modified: 2016-09-18
Hi

Our organisation uses a finance software. For this software to work successfully, there is software A, which is a web based and links to another software that is on a hosted platform.
Basically we export a budget from a Software A and the budget gets successfully exported to a local PC and again using software B we have to import the exported budget, when we import we get an error message which says “The imported file is not a valid import file”.
When I escalated this to Software A support, I was told that software B is not setup properly to receive the imported file.
And again when I contacted Software B support, I was told it’s nothing to do anything with them and they say it is the problem with software A and they say it is not exporting properly.
In this situation I have been caught between and both are blaming each other. We pay lot of money for the support for both the software vendors.
It is a week now and I want to take this serious as this case is not sorted still. I want to look at the SLAs and appropriate action.
Your suggestions much appreciated.
Thanks
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Question by:lianne143
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by:PortletPaul
PortletPaul earned 250 total points
ID: 41793573
The INTERFACE between the 2 products is your organisation's responsibility, UNLESS you have contracted for the supply of that interface to Software-A or Software-B (or a third party).

The software companies probably offer a supported interface TECHNOLOGY, but they do not support a client specific file e.g. they might support the export/import of a CSV format specification but they don't support every client generated file.

export a budget from (web) Software A and the budget gets successfully exported to a local PC
import to Software B on hosted platform

what happens on the local PC?
Seems to me your problem might be whatever it is you do on the PC.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41793575
Also, is the export something you can open to see what the issue is?

What is the export format?  and what is the import requirement?
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Author Comment

by:lianne143
ID: 41795141
Basically , the exported file (Software A) must be available on the hosted platform (Software B), which connects through VPN .When try to import the exported file from software B, the file is not available on the hosted platform of which it is not able to successfully find the exported file automatically.

But there is a copy of the exported file on the local PC, there is a option to browse the exported file  and it looks for an xml file, but the format is in .dat.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41795154
So Software B expects an XML file. and Software A sends a .DAT file. So it does look like an A problem.
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by:lianne143
ID: 41795167
The software vendor themselves doesn't known how, the software works and if they had known, they must have pinpointed the problem, rather blaming each other.
If I put in the right way, is it worth asking them to email me  , how the architecture works.export and import
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LVL 93

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by:John Hurst
ID: 41795171
I am not sure why A is supplying a .DAT file for data exchange. I have not seen that. Definitely I would call them and ask.
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Author Comment

by:lianne143
ID: 41795172
or if there is a way of converting .dat into .xml and import, will it work.
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Author Comment

by:lianne143
ID: 41795173
sure will ask the tomorrow
Thanks
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41795174
.DAT files do not usually convert to anything. That is why I suggest asking.
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Author Comment

by:lianne143
ID: 41795181
sure, I understand!
As a end user, I am fed up with their support, and it is a week now, and still they not able to resolve this problem.
and feel, that they must not sell this type of software, if they can't sort customers technical problems, sorry.
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PortletPaul earned 250 total points
ID: 41795223
Everyone has at some point been exasperated by the apparent lack of help coming from first tier support calls which is compounded here due to there being 2 support orgs.

If support organisations cannot reproduce a problem their natural instinct is to declare it a non-problem. So help them reproduce your problem. Most support organisations use either "Steps to Reproduce" (STR) or "Procedure to Reproduce" (PTR) and they are EXCEPTIONALLY helpful in getting support matters resolved.

These involve gathering FACTS, in DETAIL, as a set of numbered steps. The discipline of producing an STR is also very helpful in you understanding the full extent of the problem and communication this to both organisations.

At the conclusion of a STR (or PTR) you end with the EXPECTED OUTCOME and then the ACTUAL OUTCOME

Here is a mockup of a STR for you to consider:

----------------------------
Steps to Reproduce

1.      Login to Software-A as role X (has permission to export data)
2.      Navigate to Menu: Export Data
3.      Choose financial period: Fiscal Year 2016/7
4.      Choose file format: XML
5.      Choose file destination: C:\downloads\fiscaltransfers
6.       Click on Export button.

EXPECT:  xml file “Fiscal_Year_2016-7.xml” in folder C:\downloads\fiscaltransfers
ACTUAL: .dat file “Fiscal_Year_2016-7.dat” in folder C:\downloads\fiscaltransfers

--------------------------
No emotion. Just step by step facts.

If you proceed quietly through producing an STR for both Software-A and Software-B not only will you communicate better but you are likely to locate the true source of the current problem.

note: good STRs are detailed, do not miss any step. They do not need images, just text should be enough for someone to reproduce the problem.
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