16 Replies Latest reply on Aug 24, 2017 11:30 AM by Dennis Dohogne

    Improvements in Problem Reporting

    Dennis Dohogne

      Per Alin Vargatu's suggestion, I am starting a new thread on this subject.

       

      In another thread S. Casale showed his dialogue with SW Tech Support.  He went to the trouble to submit an Enhancement Request and was told by Tech Support that what he was asking for actually revealed a bug in the software.  Since it is a bug his ER was being closed.  It was recommended that he now go through his VAR to report this as a bug.  This is analogous to telling him to hang up and call back, asking for a different department rather than transferring the call!  You can see it here:  https://forum.solidworks.com/message/723364#comment-723364 (#223)

       

      I'm sorry, but I find the response to Scott from SW Tech Support to be insulting to him and to all of us users!

       

      Here is an acknowledged issue by Tech Support themselves, yet their instruction is for the user to take a separate action to go through their VAR and report it as a bug??????!!!!!!!  This is unnecessary effort and delay, and sometimes the VAR doesn't follow through.

       

      I think there should be a mechanism for Tech Support to elevate/transfer this issue and get it reported as a bug on behalf of the the user, Scott Casale, in this case.  This would be: a) a faster and a more accurate way to get the bug reported, b) carry the weight of pre-verification by an accredited source (Tech Support) that it actually is a bug, and c) be the courteous and respectful thing to do for the customer.  We are busy!!!  Scott went to the trouble to use the inconvenient ER system and now he is being told to hang up and call back asking for a different department?!  Come on!  Tech Support should just transfer the call!

       

      I'm tagging you, Matthew Lorono and Richard Doyle, in this post since you are looking for ways to improve the problem reporting system.  Do you agree that my suggestion is reasonable and should be implemented ASAP?

       

      Discuss.

        • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
          John Stoltzfus

          A definite "Yes" - so we will see how much clout Matthew Lorono actually has - hopefully Dassault Systems isn't using him and the top ten list as a smoke screen and then yanking him before he and his team complete their "Get Rid Of The Bug Infestation"

          • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
            Jim Sculley

            I'm curious to see how many people reading all of these discussions about bug reporting and enhancement requesting and 'One and Two'ing were around the last time all of this came to a head.  It was more than 15 years ago, and I can tell you that nothing has really changed.  The ER and SR databases are the same and are largely useless from a searchability standpoint.  Many knowledge base reports have so little content that they are useless.  The whole system is a black hole from a user standpoint.  No ability to provide direct feedback.  No ability to see if something is being worked on.

             

            It's the exact opposite of every good bug database I've ever encountered.

            • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
              Matthew Lorono

              Well, there's a several different intersecting points that you brought up.  Sometimes linear threads make it difficult to properly discuss multi-threaded discussions, but I'll try.

               

              First, there is always room for improvement to our system and your input about such is valuable.  Based on previous discussions in the forums, we are looking into how things can be improved.  Of course, I cannot go into specifics or timelines. 

               

              Second, Enhancement Requests do not go to Technical Support at all.  They come directly to Product Definition in R&D.  Although most of us were users at some point, Product Definition is not equipped to address specific technical support issues on a day to day basis.  The email quoted in the original thread is not meant to do anything other than simply direct the requester to the place that will most effectively and immediately address the technical support issue.  The VAR can assess the technical support issue to process it in the appropriate manner.  For example, the VAR may actually provide information that resolves the issue completely, or they can file a properly filled-out bug report, or even provide a workaround.  Currently, we do not have a method to transfer technical support issues from the Enhancement Request system back to local VARs.

                • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                  Jim Steinmeyer

                  Matthew,

                  We really appreciate your transparency here on the forum. You do encourage us that there is actually someone listening. I think Dennis realizes that there is not currently a method to transfer that information from Tech Support and is suggesting that you might want to consider adding that option to how things are handled. It would seem that if your tech support has looked at something and determined it needs more consideration than they have available the most efficient and effective effective method of getting information to the proper people would be to transfer it internally.

                    • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                      Dennis Dohogne

                      Yes, Jim Steinmeyer and Elmar Klammer, you have stated it well.  We are thrilled to have some active involvement by SWX folks that a) can answer some questions, b) can do something with the information generated on this forum.  That is why I specifically tagged you, Matthew Lorono.

                       

                      That said I am just trying to improve the software and support system.  To that end this forum is far superior to any other method of generating constructive input.  The Top Ten list and this forum in general are 1k times better (on the non-subjective scale in my head at the moment) than the cumbersome Enhancement Request system.

                       

                      I have been an advocate of SWX and constant user since its first release in 1995.  I want the same as everyone else - to enjoy using this tool to get my work done.  But to achieve that enjoyment we need the software to not crash, to not corrupt our files, to not regress!

                       

                      Enhancements?  Sure, we should let SWX know what we'd like to see.  BUT, we don't care one little bit about credit for the ideas, just get moving on them (or let us know when they are impossible and to stop asking for them).  You know what?  We also don't care one little bit about who reports to whom, or what departments at SWX do what.  All we want are good results.  As far as we are concerned SWX Corporate is a black box and we don't have or want any knowledge of the internal relationships.  Why?  Because we don't care so long as we get good results.  Good results lately has become addressing ONE and TWO in particular.  Obviously these should be subjects close to your heart since you initiated them, Matthew Lorono, and we're glad you did.

                       

                      More than that, we're glad you have the dot for doing something about it!!  Thrilled, actually.

                       

                      I have been a very vocal critic of things I think suck.  The only way to make that change is to make them not suck.  However, if you look at the posts I've started you'll also see I put a lot of thought into those posts and am only looking for ways to improve the software and the support system.

                      The ER System is LOUSY!

                      Small Suggestions for making Top Ten Voting Easier

                      Top Ten Idea Submission and What the Voting Means

                      Need Help Creating an Unrestricted Top Ten List

                      Will the Top Ten List be handled differently this year?

                      Verdict on SWX2017 SP2.0?

                       

                      Now I'm thinking of creating a flow chart of what actually happens vs. what should happen when we encounter various problems.  Hint, the one that shows what should happen is much, much shorter.

                       

                      Matthew, I would respectfully request a few proactive rather than reactive steps.  For instance:

                      1. Post a complete list or a link to such a list on how a person can resolve the various problems of SWX2017.  We, the users, have been accumulating this by using this forum, but surely somebody at SWX has a more thorough list.  It would shorten our work and that is certainly one form of customer service.  No, I am not talking about the insufficient tech bulletin, S-072608.

                      2. Setup a better system to solicit improvements to the software and support.  This includes better problem reporting (and help/encouragement of the users to submit the problem reports).

                      3. Setup a special section of the forum, similar to the Top Ten list, specifically for problem reports and recommended actions.  The number of folks that actually go through the knowledge base is pitifully small because it is so hard to navigate.  Restrict access to subscription customers if you think it should not be on the open forum, but make it easier.

                      4. Setup or solicit ideas of how to grossly overhaul the Enhancement Request system.  'Nuff said!!

                      5. Find a way to make ALL the Top Ten discussions permanently available.  This is a goldmine of information for the users.  It is so confounding that access to this area is turned off.

                      6. Give US a flowchart of what to do when we encounter various problems.  We're mostly visual thinkers and a picture is worth 1k words (in 1k languages).

                      7. Work on changing things at SWX so that when we do run into a problem we can get a more direct flow of where it should be directed for resolution.  Case in point the original post above.  Understand that this is just an example.  There are certainly other situations where we, the customers, are effectively told to hang up and call someone else at SWX.

                       

                      By the way, you're welcome. 

                        • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                          Dennis Dohogne

                          1-GMJYC8 wrote:

                           

                          Yes, Jim Steinmeyer and Elmar Klammer, you have stated it well. We are thrilled to have some active involvement by SWX folks that a) can answer some questions, b) can do something with the information generated on this forum. That is why I specifically tagged you, Matthew Lorono.

                           

                          That said I am just trying to improve the software and support system. To that end this forum is far superior to any other method of generating constructive input. The Top Ten list and this forum in general are 1k times better (on the non-subjective scale in my head at the moment) than the cumbersome Enhancement Request system.

                           

                          I have been an advocate of SWX and constant user since its first release in 1995. I want the same as everyone else - to enjoy using this tool to get my work done. But to achieve that enjoyment we need the software to not crash, to not corrupt our files, to not regress!

                           

                          Enhancements? Sure, we should let SWX know what we'd like to see. BUT, we don't care one little bit about credit for the ideas, just get moving on them (or let us know when they are impossible and to stop asking for them). You know what? We also don't care one little bit about who reports to whom, or what departments at SWX do what. All we want are good results. As far as we are concerned SWX Corporate is a black box and we don't have or want any knowledge of the internal relationships. Why? Because we don't care so long as we get good results. Good results lately has become addressing ONE and TWO in particular. Obviously these should be subjects close to your heart since you initiated them, Matthew Lorono, and we're glad you did.

                           

                          More than that, we're glad you have the dot for doing something about it!! Thrilled, actually.

                           

                          I have been a very vocal critic of things I think suck. The only way to make that change is to make them not suck. However, if you look at the posts I've started you'll also see I put a lot of thought into those posts and am only looking for ways to improve the software and the support system.

                          The ER System is LOUSY!

                          Small Suggestions for making Top Ten Voting Easier

                          Top Ten Idea Submission and What the Voting Means

                          Need Help Creating an Unrestricted Top Ten List

                          Will the Top Ten List be handled differently this year?

                          Verdict on SWX2017 SP2.0?

                           

                          Now I'm thinking of creating a flow chart of what actually happens vs. what should happen when we encounter various problems. Hint, the one that shows what should happen is much, much shorter.

                           

                          Matthew, I would respectfully request a few proactive rather than reactive steps. For instance:

                          1. Post a complete list or a link to such a list on how a person can resolve the various problems of SWX2017. We, the users, have been accumulating this by using this forum, but surely somebody at SWX has a more thorough list. It would shorten our work and that is certainly one form of customer service. No, I am not talking about the insufficient tech bulletin, S-072608.

                          2. Setup a better system to solicit improvements to the software and support. This includes better problem reporting (and help/encouragement of the users to submit the problem reports).

                          3. Setup a special section of the forum, similar to the Top Ten list, specifically for problem reports and recommended actions. The number of folks that actually go through the knowledge base is pitifully small because it is so hard to navigate. Restrict access to subscription customers if you think it should not be on the open forum, but make it easier.

                          4. Setup or solicit ideas of how to grossly overhaul the Enhancement Request system. 'Nuff said!!

                          5. Find a way to make ALL the Top Ten discussions permanently available. This is a goldmine of information for the users. It is so confounding that access to this area is turned off.

                          6. Give US a flowchart of what to do when we encounter various problems. We're mostly visual thinkers and a picture is worth 1k words (in 1k languages).

                          7. Work on changing things at SWX so that when we do run into a problem we can get a more direct flow of where it should be directed for resolution. Case in point the original post above. Understand that this is just an example. There are certainly other situations where we, the customers, are effectively told to hang up and call someone else at SWX.

                           

                          By the way, you're welcome.

                          Matthew Lorono, I think it is time to rejuvenate this conversation.  However, I hope this does not become an annual event!

                           

                          Please consider the spirit of this entire post.  WE (me and the others contributing to this post) genuinely want to see things improve.  To that end we are sharing not only our lists of desired capabilities, but even the "why's" behind and them and to the the best of our ability the "how's" of implementing them.

                           

                          Please, Matthew, engage in this conversation with us and let us know what else we can do to help you and your cohorts to improve these things.

                      • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                        Elmar Klammer

                        Hi Matthew,

                         

                        I do second Jim's comment. There is merit in the fact that you as a SW employee respond. It gives some peace of mind that the end-user voice is being listened to.

                        While words can encourage & inspire it is only action that can create change. And here is where I would like to start. Dennis made a point that the process of customer reports is putting the burden almost in its entire on the end user. Not only has Dennis to deal with the issue itself (code error), he is also put in a position to spend even more time (money) to process the bug report. Your response can be condensed to "Solidworks doesn't have a process in place to channel incoming problem reports". This is simply rephrasing what Dennis said. What I am missing is a sort of initiative on how the problem can be addressed. That's the action part. That's what's missing. That's what is needed for change. Whether that is a SW initiative, a plan in progress or simply stating "we are not working on it at this time". All this would somewhat provide information that the end user could use for future reference.

                        With ever increasing costs to using SW and more stringent subscription fees enforcement it is simply not acceptable to provide status quo.

                         

                        So my question is. What is SW going to do about it? I am interested to hear your answer.

                         

                        Elmar

                      • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                        S. Casale

                        I would like to add that the majority of the time I go through my VAR when there are concerns with things not working properly in SW.  My VAR is very responsive and gets the job done more often than I can count. Sometimes, there may be what we know as user error which is why i would see to them first...

                         

                        The rest of the time I have been placing ER's, as they would be enhancement requests. It doesn't make sense that we (end users) have access to a system that will kick us back to our VAR, as I had been.

                          • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                            Alin Vargatu

                            Scott Casale wrote:

                             

                            I would like to add that the majority of the time I go through my VAR when there are concerns with things not working properly in SW. My VAR is very responsive and gets the job done more often than I can count. Sometimes, there may be what we know as user error which is why i would see to them first...

                             

                            The rest of the time I have been placing ER's, as they would be enhancement requests. It doesn't make sense that we (end users) have access to a system that will kick us back to our VAR, as I had been.

                            Actually the VARs are told that SW prefers the ERs to be submitted by users, not by VAR AEs. I submitted many ERs on behalf of my customers, but the preference is for them to do the reporting themselves, as Scott has done.

                             

                            Bug troubleshooting, on the other hand is filtered by VAR tech support first.

                             

                            So it seems that there are 2 different workflows, handled by different teams. Is probably good for the users to be aware of that, at the very least.

                              • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                                Peter De Vlieger

                                Alin,

                                 

                                First of, thank you for the clarification.

                                 

                                Secondly, I have to respectfully disagree. The customer shouldn't have to be aware of what goes on inside Solidworks.

                                Our customers don't care how many people we have that can work in Solidworks, what problems we might have or not have with the program, or how many of us are available at a given moment or not. They pay the company to take care of things and give them what they have paid for in a timely and correct fashion.

                                 

                                I know that the Solidworks model isn't like that. If you allow me the hyperbole.... what's next, making sure not to report a bug if a certain intern at SW is having a bad hair day or his shoes are giving him grieve because they are brand new and giving him blisters.

                                 

                                "Actually the VARs are told that SW prefers the ERs to be submitted by users, not by VAR AEs. I submitted many ERs on behalf of my customers, but the preference is for them to do the reporting themselves"

                                And that is in a nutshell what's wrong.

                                If something is a good idea then it's a good idea. If someone has as a suggestion about a piping design I'm working on that is good then I don't care who gives it, if it's a colleague, someone from a different department or the cleaning lady.

                                  • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                                    Alin Vargatu

                                    1-IF9Q2J wrote:

                                     

                                    Alin,

                                     

                                    First of, thank you for the clarification.

                                     

                                    Secondly, I have to respectfully disagree. The customer shouldn't have to be aware of what goes on inside Solidworks.

                                    Our customers don't care how many people we have that can work in Solidworks, what problems we might have or not have with the program, or how many of us are available at a given moment or not. They pay the company to take care of things and give them what they have paid for in a timely and correct fashion.

                                     

                                    I know that the Solidworks model isn't like that. If you allow me the hyperbole.... what's next, making sure not to report a bug if a certain intern at SW is having a bad hair day or his shoes are giving him grieve because they are brand new and giving him blisters.

                                     

                                    "Actually the VARs are told that SW prefers the ERs to be submitted by users, not by VAR AEs. I submitted many ERs on behalf of my customers, but the preference is for them to do the reporting themselves"

                                    And that is in a nutshell what's wrong.

                                    If something is a good idea then it's a good idea. If someone has as a suggestion about a piping design I'm working on that is good then I don't care who gives it, if it's a colleague, someone from a different department or the cleaning lady.

                                     

                                    Peter, you can disagree with me, but I do not disagree with you. I just wanted to provide information. I did not express a personal opinion.

                                    • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                                      Dennis Dohogne

                                      Peter De Vlieger wrote:

                                      If something is a good idea then it's a good idea. If someone has as a suggestion about a piping design I'm working on that is good then I don't care who gives it, if it's a colleague, someone from a different department or the cleaning lady.

                                       

                                      Years ago I took a whole day training class on how to conduct a brainstorming session.  It was actually one of the best one-day classes I've ever taken.  A key phrase came out of that training:  "The merits of an idea are independent of its source!"

                                • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                                  S. Casale

                                  Allow me to add for clarification. What was requested was not a bug in the software. It was for the software to be able to do something that it couldn't do.

                                                      Thankfully as of 2017 Speedpak can keep reference items.

                                                           SpeedPak cannot keep Routing C or Routing Points which means it can'e be used with Electrical...

                                    • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                                      Dennis Dohogne

                                      Thanks for the clarification, Scott.  I was just using your situation as hard evidence of the lack of internal methods at SWX to assist us, the customer.  If I had a customer call me for something that was the purview of Accounting and I told them to hang up and call a different number instead of just transferring them to Accounting or otherwise helping them, well, let's just say there would not be another occurrence of that by this unemployed fellow.

                                    • Re: Improvements in Problem Reporting
                                      Dennis Dohogne

                                      By the way, I have been asked if I work for SWX (accused of it at least).  Let's just say that I do not.

                                       

                                      I doubt I'll ever be asked to work for them.  But then, the Cubbies did just win the World Series, so.........