At Element8, we pride ourselves on providing the best support experience possible. Our support staff routinely helps troubleshoot problems, provide advice on best practices, and get you back on track to move forward with your project. Just like in our software, we don’t like to impose arbitrary limits; that’s why we don’t hinder your use of our support through restrictive contracts.
You won’t see hard limits on how many tickets you can create, phone calls you can make, or the amount of time we’ll spend helping you. However, our support team is not infinite. As support is a limited resource, we must work together and have some ground rules to help prevent abuse of the system to keep wait times down and provide fair access to support for all our customers.
It is vital to keep the following principles in mind:
Support is not training.
We offer many different types of excellent training and educational materials. Our free online e-learning platforms are an ideal place to learn our software. Our highly regarded, interactive, live training classes are regularly offered and are a great way to increase your expertise quickly. And of course, our various user manuals is an excellent reference with a wealth of information. While our support staff will often offer tips and advice in troubleshooting, we, unfortunately, cannot provide ongoing consultative training as part of a standard support plan. Please make use of our other educational offerings to learn how to use our product.
Designing or building your project is out of scope.
While our support staff will be happy to help you when you encounter a technical problem or point you in the right direction if you get stuck, they cannot offer substantive design or implementation guidance or consult. While our software is designed to be easy to use, it still requires technical expertise in many different areas. To achieve your project requirements, many other disciplines may be required. If you need significant help building your project, please consider contacting one of our many qualified System Integrators.
Know your infrastructure.
Our software is installed on a wide variety of different physical and virtual computing platforms and connects to a myriad of different devices, databases, and other systems. Our support staff are veterans of troubleshooting in many different kinds of architectures and configurations. We will happily assist in troubleshooting many different types of problems, but the scope of our support is limited to our software alone.
Troubleshooting or configuring external systems like databases, firewalls, load balancers, networking devices, virtualisation, cloud infrastructure, etc., is outside the scope of our support.
Bring your experts.
When opening up a support ticket, it is essential to have the experts on your systems available. Our support experience is an interactive one, where we will help troubleshoot live on your system if possible. To expedite the process, make sure you have the experts in relevant systems available for the troubleshooting process so that nothing is a “black box.”
- Hardware and System minimum requirements mean the minimum technical specification required to ensure our software functions per the documentation. Without the correct hardware, your software may not run efficiently or at all.
- Element8 support relies on a stable platform that complies with the specifications described in the System Requirements for our software. If the issue is determined to be due to hardware or operating system issues, Element8 will make recommendations for changes. And upon customer request, continue to investigate once the customer remedies the hardware or operating system issues.
We will not tolerate abuse.
We understand that many situations that require support are stressful, high-pressure, time-sensitive, costly, and intense. That said, we take any abuse of our Success Engineers very seriously. We will take immediate action against anyone who uses aggressive or harsh language, threatens, demeans, or otherwise behaves unprofessionally towards our team.
To ensure that support remains as available as possible, we monitor tickets for potential violations of these principles. To do this, we track a wide range of metrics and will work with customers who are routinely not following the principles laid out above. As a result, we may send you usage updates from time to time, give you gentle reminders, or, in more severe cases, deprioritise your tickets in the support queue. In the most extreme circumstances, we reserve the right to unilaterally suspend or terminate access to support for any individual violating the above guidelines.
Element8 support uses a two-category classification system for every ticket that is submitted: Problem and Consultative.
Problem: This classification covers reported issues that represent an actual problem with the functionality of the software. Examples being:
- Functionality that was working stops, with no evident changes that should have affected it
- An upgrade changes behaviour or functionality.
- You cannot use our software in a documented manner.
Consultative: Items that fall under this classification is more commonly understood as “how-to” kinds of questions.
- Not knowing how to accomplish a goal.
- Unsure of the best way to approach a problem
- Data is not precisely what you expected.
- The problem statement focuses on technologies peripheral to our software, such as SQL, networking, etc.
This classification system is one of the things used to determine the prioritisation of submitted support tickets. The main goal of Element8 support is to provide prompt, high-quality support to customers who are experiencing severe problems with their installations. For this reason, Problem issues are prioritised and handled in an order determined by the level of a support plan that covers the installation in question.
Tickets are deprioritised for all customers without an active support plan and are not associated with a published expected response time. Customers may still submit these tickets via a phone call or the web portal.
Along with the classification structure, we also use a ticket severity metric to help determine how we prioritise Problem tickets within the support queue. We categorise all incoming support tickets into four levels of severity:
- Urgent – Production is directly affected.
- High – Issue is causing a significant impact or blocking development but is not directly affecting production at the moment.
- Normal – Standard Priority
- Low – All Consultative tickets and other issues that we deprioritised in the course of being handled.
The assignment of severity to tickets occurs during the first communication with Element8 support at the time of ticket submission when submitted by phone. If we receive a ticket via the web portal, we will attempt to assign an accurate severity based on the supplied information.
How Prioritisation Occurs
We prioritise tickets within the support system by taking into account Support Plan, Ticket Severity, Last Response Time (amount of time since last customer inquiry), and Ticket Classification. Ticket Classification is first used to deprioritise tickets of a consultative nature for non-active support customers, which is then handled based on available department resources. The remaining tickets are then sorted into a queue to be actively handled by the Inductive Automation support staff. In general, tickets submitted by accounts with an active support plan will be serviced first.