Ever since I started working for SimpleHelp I have been surprised by the diverse nature of the customers that purchase from us: From Healthcare to Education, Small Businesses to Corporations, they seem to come from a wide range of areas and this got me wondering just how companies from these different areas used SimpleHelp. Were they all looking for the same thing from the software? Just how different are their needs?
So I decided to try and find out more and I thought I would share some of our customers stories with you to give you an insight into how SimpleHelp can be used and perhaps provide some inspiration on how we might be able to help you.
My first victim, er, I mean willing subject of course, is Dan Taube from Illinois State University who purchased a license at the beginning of 2011. The University has a total of 61 technicians in 12 separate groups that support around 23,000 users. Dan has worked at the University for over two years now as Associate IT Support in the central computer help desk, which has 5 full-time technicians and 19 student analysts that offer support to the entire University population. Before that he worked in a student analyst role in the same unit for a year.
I wanted to know more about what Dan does in the university so I asked him what a typical days work would involve for him:
Dan: “On a typical day I have duties that range initially from tier 2 support and supervising/instructing tier 1 support, to varying degrees of research and development. The research can vary from advanced problem resolution for other technical staff to evaluating software comparisons in our Windows/Mac environment. Development consists mainly on internal applications to improve our service ability, but I also provide assistance with specialized web applications that we provide.”
Me: “Do you get a lot of queries in a day?”
Dan: “In a given day, tier 2 support can receive 2-3 incident reports, but tier 1 support is in constant reliance for assistance so my daily impact is increased along with the other tier 2 support technicians. With this, the total involved incidents on average is around 12 incidents an hour.”
Me: “That’s a lot to deal with! What’s the most common problem you have?”
Dan: “The most common problem I specifically will deal with varies case by case pretty heavily. Since my role has me doing tier 2, research, and development, it is hard to outline what is common. However, for our tier 1, who utilize SimpleHelp now, the majority can relate to a core problem with their account or authentication of their account. This generalizes issues accessing certain web services or applications, but is what happens to be most common. The most common issues that are helped through SimpleHelp are malware and network compliance problems.”
Dan: “For a long period of time we had been interested in remote desktop support programs, but were concerned about the implications of security of the user’s information and data. Once these concerns were out-weighed for the need of being able to provide this type of product we decided to look into different offerings.”
Me: “So once you had decided to look for a remote desktop support solution, how did you find out about SimpleHelp?”
Dan: “Looking for better alternatives to our original pilot product, I found the Bomgar appliance. Our main requirement was for a solution that could be hosted on site to ensure better security and control. Bomgar met this need, but ultimately our next requirement was an appropriate price. With this in mind, Bomgar was no longer an option due to pricing and I searched for alternatives to Bomgar. SimpleHelp was the only product that offered what we wanted and needed at a price that fits our academic budget.”
Me: “Other than price, was there anything else that attracted you to SimpleHelp?”
Dan: “Being able to host the server on our choice of hardware was a main benefit we were happy to see. Also, since we support end users on personal computers we also needed a solution that did not require the pre-installation of a client and could be easily loaded by the user. SimpleHelp was the only offering that also had a hosted solution in our evaluation of products. Having the requirement of a hosted solution and a need to be affordable, it was an easy choice to go with SimpleHelp.”
Me: “Once you had made the decision to try SimpleHelp did you have any problems getting set up?”
Dan: “The only issue on initial setup after we completing a trial of SimpleHelp was with regards to LDAP authentication. Due to our configuration of LDAP we were unable to configure SimpleHelp to authenticate off of it. However, we alternatively set SimpleHelp to authenticate off of Active Directory, which has been successful for our use to this day.”
Me: “How did you find our support during this difficulty in set up?”
Dan: “Support from SimpleHelp allowed us to determine the issue with authenticating off of our LDAP deployment as well as how to find a work around using Active Directory.”
Finally I wanted to ask Dan his opinion on the impact that SimpleHelp has had on his job, if any:
Dan: “With SimpleHelp we have been able to resolve numerous issues for users that previously would have taken several hours or required an in-person visit. In the environment of a call center, it is extremely important to have a solution that allows for us to quickly connect to a user and resolve the issue for them and SimpleHelp does just that. Even problems where a user has had malware of different variations causing trouble, we have been able to use SimpleHelp to continually stop processes that would otherwise respawn themselves after being ended. This really allows for a quicker and easier resolution to the fake anti-virus malware we often deal with.”
Me: That’s good to hear, I am glad SimpleHelp has been useful. Have there been any problems that SimpleHelp has solved that you did not expect?
Dan: “We support a residential network on campus that is managed with a network appliance that does not allow access to the Internet unless the computer that is connecting meets our requirements. Despite have limited connection to the Internet, we are still able to use SimpleHelp through opening a path to our server and then can assist the user through the process. This allows us to resolve many more problems than could have been possible over the phone only.”
I found my chat with Dan very useful and I thank him for his honest and informative answers. It was interesting to hear what Dan and his colleagues do in the University and I would like to know more about the research they do. Unfortunately there was not enough room in this blog to investigate further. I hope that you found Dan’s story interesting though. Maybe you have found an unexpected use for SimpleHelp like Dan? If so please feel free to let us know. We are always keen to hear any interesting stories.
I was speaking to Dan Taube, Associate IT Support in the University Computer Help Desk at Illinois State University; www.ilstu.edu