Oracle makes support changes

Oracle has made changes to its support model, which has come under some criticism from local users.

Oracle has made changes to its support model, which has come under some criticism from local users.

Several customers have expressed frustration when calls are put through to the company’s support centre in Hyderabad, which is five hours behind New Zealand.

Oracle is expecting to roll out a new support model with an allocation mechanism that will allow service requests to be routed to those with the right skills and a closer timezone. About 30 additional people have been hired or moved into product support across Asia-Pacific and the company has reiterated that service requests can be moved from India to Melbourne at any time.

Oracle User Group publicity officer Stacey Gray of Mighty River Power says while Oracle’s online support system, Metalink, is generally “fantastic”, when calls are sent to India the technicians run through a list of 20 questions regardless of their relevance. This can be frustrating when the customer has already specified the problem. She says staff in India are also sometimes unwilling to pass a call on if they can’t solve it. But Gray says she does resolve eight out of 10 problems through Metalink.

Oracle boss Larry Ellison told Computerworld earlier this month that New Zealand customers couldn’t always expect to get answers from New Zealand staff. Oracle is a global business and endeavours to put customers through to experts in any part of the world, he said.

Support issues are likely to be discusses at the next Oracle user conference, which takes place from March 26 to 28. The conference, which will run five streams addressing technology and applications, will be the first in two years, as the group skipped this year because most members were busy with large implementations. Oracle 9i was launched last year.

The last conference, in 2001, attracted more than 233 attendees. The user group, which is calling for presenters for next year’s event, has about 100 members.

Gray says both user experience and the latest technology are represented. “For the application streams we try to have users come forward and tell us things such as how a recent upgrade went, how they’re using an application or how they’ve deployed the Oracle portal. The technology side is more focused on what technology is out there. This year I’d imagine there would be a lot on Oracle 9i database and application server.”

At the user group’s AGM a new committee was voted in. The new president is Michelle Teirney of Auckland District Health Board, replacing Erica Harris of Environment Waikato, who becomes secretary. Lynne O’Donoghue of Canterbury University is the treasurer and the website administrator is Doug Cockroft of web content management company Stellent.

Ellison, meanwhile, will close the OracleWorld Conference in San Francisco via satellite link from Auckland on November 15. Ellison will deliver an address from the Bruce Mason Centre on Auckland’s North Shore.

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