May 4, 2012

Implementation Vs Support: Which is more challenging?

I was having a discussion with my friend Subbu. He works with Oracle Support team. He had earlier worked as a key user and then as an implementation consultant before joining his current role in Metalink Support Team.

I asked him what is more challenging, Implementation Consulting or Metalink Support.

"That is an interesting question," Subbu replied, "When you are in Implementation consulting, you have three advantages, one, your time frame is short, you are interested in completing the implementation and going home, two, you have the customer user dedicated to support you thru the project. The third advantage is that you have all the required and knowledgeable technical support (in the form of a dedicated DBA) available for you to resolve any issues. Also, you are in charge of the project and you know in and out of all the configurations that will help you immediately figure out the possible causes of any issue that may appear. One of the key aspects of this point being able to quickly identify if this is an application issue, a configuration issue or a customization issue."

"On the other hand Support works from a lot of disadvantages. For one, they do not have any control over the implementation. This means that if the quality of implementation is poor, the support is more challenging (and that is the normal case for many of the support issues). The second challenge is that when an issue is observed the customer always assumes that he is right and the problem is with a bug in the application. Given this assumption, the customer will not provide all the required information when raising a support request. It is challenging to unearth all these information from the customer. Third challenge in support is that when raising a Service request, the customer do not run the diagnostic scripts provided by Oracle. This leads to delay in providing solution to the customer. And customer blames the delay on the support team. Another challenge is that after doing a lot of analysis you identify that the issue is with the customization and we do not support customization. But the customer do not agree and they normally escalate the issue. Finally, in Support even if you do an excellent job of analysing and identifying the solution, there is no one to appreciate your effort. The customer and your manager assumes that you just did what you are supposed to do." Subbu Continued.

"Of course, there are benefits to being in support. One is that you learn a lot about various customers and the kind of challenges that they face. Another advantage is that you work as per a fixed schedule. You are not staying late and working almost 24*7 as you do during an implementation." Said Subbu.

"So considering the challenges faced, I would say that support is more challenging", Subbu Finished.

So that is the topic of today's poll. What do you think is more challenging from a consultants point of view? Implementation or Support? Share your views....

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