Jeff, no we can’t send the servers directly to the counties because our field support people can’t support Windows NT 4.0 server(lack of training), let alone new and upcoming O/S’s which we will move to. By sending a reply to my email and stating “If the object of the support people is to be able to handle everything from top to bottom, then we might as well just have all Servers and components sent directly to the Customer, and all be configured there”, gets absolutely nothing accomplished because you know that this is not an option. If you want to focus on training alone then you should be a trainer, but I think our customers would like to know that every support person we have are able to handle any problem from top down. Of course, I could be wrong in assuming that our customers believe that “support” embodies support of the system(including hardware, software and O/S). And I’m clearly looking at your QMS printer request and I did not see a request for a duplexer and I did not physically get to see this machine in the mckinney office! Microphones are shipped directly to the customer and if they are not, I never see them. I do not have the ability to purchase a microphone through our company so do not filter this request through me, filter it through those that control the purchasing. And you specified an 8 port Digi box setup, which it was done,,all you had to do was install(and by install I mean simply load the driver via the RAS console!) the particular modems whether it be an actual modem or a serial to serial modem was up to you and the county. If you can’t install a RAS capable device, how can you actively support our product? The setup on your end was minimal, mandatory and easy. No one asked you or any other support person to configure the machine from bare to finish, all we ask are minor setting to be made on the customer end. Trust me when I tell you that it takes me a lot longer on my end. I’m not so sure you understand how things work in the McKinney office and what process we have to go through to get things done, but unless a common ground is met between our field support, sales and the McKinney office these problems will continue to happen. And Jeff, a direct phone call with me, Steve Moreland and Bob at the same time would get a lot more done than sending an email to us. I feel a conference call needs to be made, so that needs to be scheduled soon. As I stated before, feel free to call me at any time, day or night, with any concern you have.
Work: 972-542-6000 x156
Here is a copy of your acknowledgment along with my e-mail with the requests for Shelby County, TN.
Within the request below, I specified that a 8 Port Digi box, with 4 ports be set up for Central Count, - this was not done.
Within the request below, I specified a microphone, - which is not included.
Within the request below, I specified a QMS 4032 Printer, configured and tested, - this was not done.
Within the request below, I specified GEMS 1.17.22, - installed was GEMS 1.17.17.
. If the object of the support people is to be able to handle everything from top to bottom, then we might as well just have all Servers and components sent directly to the Customer, and all be configured there
I think that this e-mail explains exactly what I needed, yet several items were not done. This would save the cost and time of having the Server & components shipped & setup in the McKinney office.
This is by far the best and only response the mckinney office has gotten on a detailed spec of what is needed. Although a march 18th get there time is steep, but hey, small steps. And why would we quote them a QMS printer, we shoudln't even be selling or supporting these machines,,5si's or 5000 is what need to be sold. No need to upgrade the monitor but I will need the digi card and box sent to mckinney so I can install it and test it to the specs that Jeff has so graciously given us below. But seriously though, I am very impressed with this email, this is the kind of email we need to be more efficient and competent to our end users :) . Jeff, I would really appreciate you sending this email to the support list and sales list as a template or guideline as to how request should be made.
Here is the list of hardware along with the computer system that we discussed earlier today:
· Medium Computer Server with Windows NT Server 4.0
· R/W Internal CD
· Sound Card with Speakers and Microphone for VIBS
· 8 Port Digi box - 4 Ports Configured and Tested for Central Count
· Internal Network Card - Configured and Tested and 1 Network cable 6' long
· 16 Port Network Hub - Configured and Tested
· 4 PCMCIA Network Cards for AVTS R6 Units and 4 Network cables 20' long
· QMS 4032 Printer - Configured and Tested with 6' cable
· GEMS 1.17.22 full install
· Adobe Acrobat, Ghostview, GEMS 1.17 Users Guide, AVTS R6 Users Guide, AVTS R6 Hardware Guide
I am trying to shoot for the week of March 18th for final setup, testing, and training. It is extremely important that we have the above setup and tested before the system is shipped, so my time there can be more focused on training with just some additional setup and testing if necessary.
I will need the 3 User's Guides put on the system in electronic format, and also 1 copy of each printed out and put into a binder to be shipped with the system.
The current system that they have, already has a 8 Port Digi box, so I guess we could use that one if necessary. However, it will save me time if I do not have to do any setup and testing on site. We can always ship the old equipment back to be used with other accounts.
They currently have a 20'' monitor with their old system. We can use this monitor, unless we think that it is necessary to replace the old with new.
We need to order the QMS 4032 printer to replace the Minolta Pageworks 20, that they currently have. Apparently this was promised to them on the first contract. The Minolta Pageworks 20 was just on loan to them at the time.
If we need to discuss anything else, or if anyone has questions, please let me know. I will be back into the Omaha office on Thursday.
P.S. - We need to get some type of a computer check list made up, to save us the time and effort we use each time we have a new customer or an upgraded customer. This method of saying we need a Server Upgrade, a Medium, or Large Server, just does not include all of the items for the people that order and setup the systems.
1.) "I can understand that sometimes we are not able to plan in advance"
You know we can't plan in advance; What does that supposed to mean??? we can plan in advance EVERYTIME we make a sale. How can we even make a decent sale if we can't plan in advance, the whole basis on a air tight operations is the planning in advance from the beginning. Give me a break. If we get the sales people involved from the beginning like they are supposed to be we would know the topology of the County and be able to recreate the situation to a T in the McKinney office. On the other hand if we have people in the field who don't understand the technology and O/S on at least a basic level then we will never be able to create a perfect situation. Right now because McKinney is not involved or informed from the point when the RFP gets printed to the time the server hits my door we are NOT capable of satisfying every request everyone needs to make.
2.) " I had to finish setting up the Server "
By finish, what exactly do you mean. Once the O/S is installed and the services are installed the setup is complete,,now the settings have to be tailored to the CO's specific needs,,of which I need to know from the time the sale is proposed.
3.) "I can understand that sometimes we are not able to plan in advance, for the ordering of computers & other components. However, we need to establish some sort of Document, that is filled out with a new Customer or when Demonstrations are done, as far in advance as possible, so we can do more planning in advance, and get the Quality Assurance & testing that is necessary for the setup of the Server and other components. This is the second time that this has happened to me, where the Server was not setup completely, and it also happened to Greg Forsythe last week in Indiana."
This so called Document you speak of,,is this not the combination of a finished RFP and a work-order which we already have in place??? And if so, it is clear that communication is the problem. The McKinney office has to be aggressively proactive just to get any information that originates from the beginning of the sale, then the puzzle work begins. Greg is a salesman, and should not EVER be put in a technical situation. I know we are spread thin at this company but if we insist on putting not-technical people in a support position then we have no choice but to expect problems.
4.) "If we know what is needed for a customer, then the Server and all other components need to be ordered, shipped to McKinney, configured and tested before it is sent to the customer site"
I agree completely, right now we have salesman who are creating these work orders who do not understand the technical infrastructure that needs to be in place. Therefore, we have orders being made that don't meet the counties needs. Example, Maryland, we set them up for a PortServer II interface, when in fact (we found out later) they needed to be setup for modem interface and they are not going to be using the Port Server II.
5.) "Also, if the printer would have been setup and tested, we would have found out that the duplexer was not the correct one."
"QMS 4032 Printer - Configured and Tested with 6' cable. We need to order the QMS 4032 printer to replace the Minolta Pageworks 20, that they currently have. Apparently this was promised to them on the first contract. The Minolta Pageworks 20 was just on loan to them at the time."(Jeff's March 5th email of requests).
I see nothing in this request about a duplexer needing to be sent let alone tested with this QMS printer. Bill has informed me that the duplexer he ordered is the same part number that it has been since we started buying them, also the part was intended for the QMS 4032. Therefore what we have is improper onsite installation.
6.) "It becomes very frustrating as a support person, to have to go through the same routine over and over"
I couldn't agree with you more!!!!!
7.) "The objective of the support person, when going out to a customer site, is to focus on Training, not to have to debug and setup a Server and other components, when we have people in the McKinney office who are supposed to do this."
The object of the support person to be able to handle any situation from top down.
If we in the McKinney office do not get a call from each person in the field that has a specific request how are we supposed to know when and how to tailor this install to the county's specific need, that is why there is a default install. And this default install allows our competent support people to make changes to tailor the setup of the counties. Now if we need to make an out of the box system for our "support" people, and our support people have problems setting it up properly how can they even troubleshoot the problems that might occur in the future. Pointing fingers to the origin of the machine will get nothing done, if people in the field aren't capable of making the right setting and decisions about the server's situation then a personal call to the McKinney office prior to making the sale explaining what specific parameters need to be set, needs to be made.
It's clearly apparent we need periodical training for our support people.
This is not a topic to discuss in email, those who have a problem with the way a system is setup may give me a call at ANYTIME at home, work or on my cell and I will be more than happy to handle your situation.
Work 972-542-6000 x156