Every product or service breaks. No matter how much you try to play it safe, it’ll always eventually happen. Luckily, you probably have a lovely support team to help you out when you’re in a pinch unless you opted for the regular support service. You know, the one that’s not 24/7. After all, why pay for the extra safety net when nothing happens during your off time. Well, making sure everything runs smoothly is no easy task, and as we said earlier, things will break no matter how much you try.
So, why would you opt-out of a 24/7 support service? Well, for a lot of people, it has to do with the stigma around the support teams, which usually comes from those old tech support jokes. You know the ones. The classic “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” or “Can you make sure that your router is on?” comes to mind. However, you shouldn’t base your decision on those old-timey experiences, especially in the analytics world. One failed reload can cost you thousands of dollars in the long run, so trying to save money by sticking to the basic service isn’t worth it either.
So, we’re here to tell you why you really need that 24/7 analytics support. In fact, let’s make this a bit more interesting and tell you a few tales that our clients have shared with us. Strap in because even though it’s spring right now, it’ll feel an awful lot like Halloween soon.
3 Horror Stories
Reload or Retire
Let’s start this off with a mild one.
It was a Thursday evening. Amanda poured herself some coffee nervously. She was just about to leave the office when she received the email.
“Project proposal meeting”, tomorrow 8 AM.
It was from a potential new client, one that her company desperately needed right now.
“Right, let’s get started on that presentation,” she thought to herself, grasping her cup of coffee.
She knew exactly what she would include – this week’s figures. She was fortunate that her company was gradually picking up speed, and even though older figures weren’t too impressive, things were starting to look up this week. All she needed was to seal the deal with this new client and things would be perfect.
“Let’s see what we can get out of the dashboard,” she muttered to herself.
But the shock she experienced when she accessed her app was a punch in the stomach. The dashboard didn’t have the latest data.
“Oh, right! The reloads happen at the start of the week. So, what now?” she exclaimed.
The solution quickly came to mind – she’d ask the software’s support team to do an early reload, so she could get the latest figures and add them to her presentation. Easy! But when she opened the support section, a sudden realization washed over her – her company downgraded the 24/7 support to the basic package to cut down expenses. Shivers went down her spine when she realized that the earliest she could contact the support team would be 8 AM in the morning.
Right when her meeting would begin.
She scrambled up all the currently available data and placed it in her presentation, knowing fully well that it won’t be enough to outshine her competitors. With all else finished, she started heading home, dreading going to sleep and dreading waking up even more.
Searing Servers and Statistics
The 28th of March was at hand, and Aaron wasn’t too eager about what was to come – the end-of-the-month analysis reports.
“At least this month was amazing sales-wise,” he thought to himself. “Maybe I need to get into the groove of it.”
Everyone was anticipating some great bonuses, so the whole company was enthusiastic. And this excitement was starting to get to Aaron as well.
“Everyone’s going to be rushing to get all their reports compiled,” he said to his colleagues around the water cooler. “It’s going to be doubly busy, actually, since it’s the end of the quarter as well.”
“Who cares? Aren’t you curious about the figures?” replied one of them.
After a quick chat, they all got to it. Every department and team was hard at work to get the best insights to present. The clicking of a whole office-worth of keyboards was all anyone could hear. Well, until someone exclaimed:
“Does anyone else smell smoke?”
And before anyone got a chance to reply, another sound pierced the silence – the sound of the fire alarm. The whole office rushed out the fire escape and started gathering at the building’s parking lot. As they were evacuating, Aaron heard someone mention something about the old server room catching fire because of the intensive use.
“What happened back there?” he asked his team leader.
“This is what happens when you try to cheap out!” the team leader exclaimed. “The boss was offered system monitoring support, but he refused because it seemed a bit too pricey. Now, look at the mess we’re in!”
Aaron couldn’t help but nod. He had heard other teams joking about the smoke alert notifications that were advertised along with that monitoring support but never gave it much thought. Well, now he and the rest of the office had all the time to think while watching the firefighters do their work.
Today was just like any other. Dr. Brown had several surgeries lined up and was getting ready to start things off. In the past, a day like this would probably make him a bit anxious, but he’d been doing this for 10 years now and had learned to deal with it. The first few operations went by successfully without any hitches or issues.
“It looks like this will be another smooth day,” he thought to himself while taking a drag out of his cigarette. “I can’t be bothered with the paperwork, though,” he murmured while getting a device ready for the next procedure.
The final surgery was about to start. It was getting late, and the hospital was slowly getting quieter and quieter. Everything began smoothly, and it really did seem like the doctor’s prediction of a tranquil day was going to be a reality. However, halfway through the operation, things took a sudden turn when the nurse handed the medical device over to Dr. Brown for implanting.
“What’s this?” exclaimed the nurse. “Fatigue must be getting to me. I thought I saw a tiny crack in the device.”
“Show me where!” the doctor replied with a trace of worry in his voice. “Damn, a faulty batch, huh?” he said after inspecting it closely. “How did I miss that?”
“Well, do we have a spare, doctor?” asked the nurse.
“Yeah, yeah, but I’m not sure where. It would take way too long to look for it, so hand me that laptop. I’m going to try to see where they’re located through our dashboard.”
“Not to be rude or anything, Dr. Brown, but do you even know how to use those things?”
“How hard can it be? You just select a few things and push a few buttons, and the results come up.”
The doctor soon saw that it was a bit more complex than that. And after a few minutes of trying to find the data he needed, he gave up. The anxiety was starting to show its face once again.
“Better to just ask the analytics support team for help,” he said. “How long do they usually take to reply, nurse?”
“Well, considering how late it is right now, I’d say that we’ll probably get a response tomorrow, doctor.”
“What? Isn’t this ticketing system faster than that?”
“As far as I’m aware, we only have basic support, doctor. We’re not covered 24/7.”
“Then let’s start searching ourselves! We don’t have much time, nurse! See if anyone who’s still here at the hospital can help.”
As the search went on, it was already clear to Dr. Brown – this surgery would not end successfully. So, as the nurse left to look for a new medical device, the doctor slumped up next to the wall and lit a cigarette.
“And it was going so well…” he thought to himself.
Horrific experiences, right? Luckily, these were our clients, so the stories didn’t, in fact, end up like that. Amanda got the early reload she needed and won over the new client with the impressive data she presented. Aaron’s company did, in fact, have monitoring support and was notified about the overheating servers ahead of time. The company even made some changes to the server room to better prevent situations like this in the future. And finally, Dr. Brown managed to get to the data he needed by messaging the support team directly and was able to get through the surgery successfully.
All these businesses were prepared for the worst by ensuring they had 24/7 support, so don’t you want to be in the same boat? Maybe you should ask yourself…
What are you so afraid of?
Possibly the reason most data analytics companies don’t take the support service too seriously is that they don’t really understand it. Sure, they might have seen a few more transparent businesses share their support team’s workflow, but that doesn’t mean that they comprehend its complexities. And, additionally, every vendor has its own idea of support, so it’s worth checking what the one you’ll be serviced by includes. At the end of the day, the more you know, the less scary it would feel when you invest in continuous data analytics support services.
Well, at this point, you’re probably a bit more convinced about 24/7 support but still in the dark about its workflows and processes. As we mentioned, we can’t generalize the responsibilities and tasks within other companies, but we can talk about our own data analytics support services. So, let’s do just that!
Monitoring and Troubleshooting
Starting off, we have the proactive element of a support team, or in other words, the “patrolling” tasks.
In the case of monitoring, the team actively checks whether all tasks are running according to their schedules. These tasks include ensuring a smooth data flow between data warehouses and external data resources, confirming on-time data reloads, and maintaining a live environment for all cloud and server-based processes. The support team preemptively resolves any issues as they occur and before they affect our customers in any way.
And troubleshooting is just how they resolve those problems. Usually, the issue would require a restart of the task, but in some more complex cases, some minor changes need to be made before that. These changes are delegated to the app owners during working hours, but during weekends and night shifts, the support team can also apply them. Since these involve reviewing warnings and notifications and then tweaking the app’s code, an understanding of all apps and dashboards is required.
With the proactive element covered, we can transition nicely into the reactive one. And what it includes is responding to support tickets and emails. “What’s the difference?” you may ask.
Well, let’s start with the most prevalent one – the issue tracking tickets. These are usually used to record and respond to all your typical cases. These ticketing systems are the best way a support team can straighten out its services by tracking and improving performance and resolution time. With tickets, it’s also easier to address and escalate the issue to the relevant party.
Moving on to emails now and did you know that they are actually the preferred way of addressing the support team in some data analytics companies. Well, at B EYE, they are mostly used when the client wants faster communication about an issue or when the data being discussed is confidential. Emails also provide a great way of recording and analyzing past cases, though not as well as the ticketing systems.
And finally, we have the know-how element, which kind of fits in both a proactive and reactive role.
We mentioned recording and analyzing the cases earlier, and this is where the payoff hides. Our support team records any new and relevant knowledge gained from handling a case so that any similar ones in the future can be dealt with more efficiently. Furthermore, the know-how can be used to make detailed documentation and user guides that provide easy-to-follow step-by-step guidance to any client.
Now with all the knowledge we’ve armed you with, you have no reason to fear the unknown. The data analytics support services can be very beneficial to your business, especially when you’re covered 24/7. As you saw from our three short stories, the worst cases happen at the worst possible times, so you cannot afford to be left wondering what could have been.