Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

An Oxymoron? I Don't Think So...

Building a Knowledgeable and Empowered Force

We all know the story, right? In today's high-tech world, technical support has suffered a demise worse than Darryl Strawberry's life after baseball. It's virtually impossible to get anyone knowledgeable on the phone. Support is the lowest item on the totem pole. Qualified folks move on while the no-ops remain. Support engineers are bitter, angry, disgruntled individuals, bordering on inhuman. Tech support is such a rip-off. The executives allowing this blatant disrespect toward their customers should lose all of their stock options.

Got that out of your system? Good. Because what I'm going to share with you in this column is not only going to bring back some of the warm fuzzies you used to get from technical support, it's going to show you what BEA is doing to make WebLogic support vehemently defy the pathetic support standard set (and accepted) by the dot-bomb generation.

In this first column, I'd like to introduce myself, describe the column's purpose, and tell you a little bit about the WebLogic support organization at BEA. I'll also share with you why we truly believe that we transcend articles like Jon Katz's acrid article on www.slashdot.org/features/01/04/30/1627201.shtml. I read this and half the responses and just couldn't take anymore - though it did give me some ideas for content. Finally, I'll give you a preview of some future topics and show you how you can improve your support experience with BEA and contribute to this column's success at the same time.

So, let's get started. First of all, I'm John Greene. I'm the Backline Engineering Interface manager for WebLogic Server in the San Francisco office at BEA Systems, Inc. I've been with BEA for more than two years - the first as a DRE and the next as a manager (managing a group of 10 DREs). I know, I know, what is a DRE? We'll get to that. Before coming here, I worked in the computer science department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a SysAdmin, Web/database programmer and Mac/UNIX support specialist. Prior to that, I did various consulting projects, mostly in the database arena, while getting my degree in computer science (also from UMass).

BEA's Support: "Developer Relations Engineers"
BEA's principal core value is: "Customer issues transcend all others." Delivering on this mission requires a knowledgeable and empowered support force with good communication skills as well as a solid understanding of object-oriented programming, J2EE, and the internals of WebLogic Server. These valuable engineers build and maintain relationships with customers through support cases filed with BEA. Since our customers are developers, BEA adopted the term Developer Relations Engineer as a more appropriate title for our support force.

But DRE isn't just a title, it's a mindset. The DRE is one of the highest-profile and prestigious positions at BEA (and is compensated accordingly). While troubleshooting support cases, DREs often work directly with CCEs (Customer Centric Engineers), development engineers, high-visibility customers, and their managers. Because of their multifaceted view of the product and their unique understanding of how customers use WebLogic in the real world, senior DREs are often coveted by other groups in the organization. While some DREs do move to other areas after some time, many choose to stay in support. Surprising? Not to me... maybe to Katz. You see, there is a pride and dedication that comes with supporting a product like WebLogic, and DREs have accepted the challenge with dignity, courage, and a desire to learn and excel. Just two years ago there were only about a dozen people supporting WebLogic in the Americas; now there are more than ten times that number. What a roller-coaster ride!

Of course, world-class support isn't just about the people. Last year, we unveiled AskBEA, www.bea.com/support, our answer to self-help on the Web (see the related article in this issue). Within one year, AskBEA's usage has increased over 500%, with daily queries averaging over 3,000 since April 2001. As some customers are able to help themselves through the Natural Language querying capability of AskBEA, DRE resources are freed up to spend more time with the customers whose problems aren't solvable by AskBEA.

Now What?
In my next columns, I'm going to cover topics such as: "WebLogic Self-Help: What to do before filing a support case," "Streamlining the customer/DRE experience," and "Comm101: Effective customer/BEA communication." I'm also going to share current support experiences, tidbits, lessons we (and customers) have learned, etc. Beyond that, well, that's partly up to you - the developer. What would you like to see in a column devoted to WebLogic support? This column is for you! So let me hear from you: [email protected] (no Lakers fans, please).

More Stories By John Greene

John Greene joined BEA as a WebLogic Developer Relations Engineer in June 1999; he is now a Support Manager. John has a Computer Science degree of the University of Massachussets and is a rabid fan of Philadelphia sports teams.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...