The Myth of Support (Part 3)

October 17, 2005

The big myth of support is that you can get it. Usually you can't.

Oh, there's no shortage of vendors who will take your money in order to tell you how to fix known problems. And why not? It's pretty easy money. (The only tricky bit is figuring out which known problem you're having.)

But this is the easy bit, so easy that we should call it by a different name like 'troubleshooting'. Real support is (also) handling the new problems, the bugs, and the undocumented limitations that you find in your important systems, all of which you want fixed.

Sometimes you can have the vendor find solutions for new problems, if they exist. Not infrequently vendor support contracts don't even cover this; to identify solutions to new problems, they want to charge you consulting fees or the like. (And why not? All of a sudden it may cost them serious money to figure out the answers, instead of being able to read them to you out of a knowledge base.)

Very few vendors are willing to actually fix bugs and undocumented limitations for you. Since this is the one thing you can't do yourself, what you most need vendor support for is the thing they are least likely to provide.

(There's also SupportMythPartI and SupportMythPartII.)

Written on 17 October 2005.
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Last modified: Mon Oct 17 00:21:04 2005
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