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


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.
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PortletPaulEE Topic AdvisorCommented:
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.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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?
lianne143Author Commented:
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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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
So Software B expects an XML file. and Software A sends a .DAT file. So it does look like an A problem.
lianne143Author Commented:
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
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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.
lianne143Author Commented:
or if there is a way of converting .dat into .xml and import, will it work.
lianne143Author Commented:
sure will ask the tomorrow
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
.DAT files do not usually convert to anything. That is why I suggest asking.
lianne143Author Commented:
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.
PortletPaulEE Topic AdvisorCommented:
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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