Why the portal gets more than its fair share of complaints… and what to do about it
I think the very nature of the Enterprise Portal (in particular a so called horizontal portal) means that it gets blamed more often than not for problems and errors that are outside of its control.
From an end user perspective it might appear that “the portal” is malfunctioning or is not available but the reality is more often than not that one of the applications that the portal is delivering or depends upon (e.g. HR, WebDynpro, LDAP) is actually the root cause of the problem.
Of course the end user need not know exactly which component is malfunctioning but it is very important for the support desk to recognize as quickly as possible where the problem lies so that they can route the call to the appropriate people to solve. Often this is a very difficult process and requires in-depth knowledge of the system and the various layers that are in play during any given scenario.
So perhaps I can propose the following in order shorten the time between a “portal” support call being logged with the support desk and it actually being looked at by the right people with the necessary skills to sort out the problem. The idea is to cut down the time that the problem bounces around between the various support groups:
- Expert Triage – train the support desk people very well so that they can identify the root cause more quickly. Give them some basic training in the types of errors and error messages and where each should be routed to
- Custom Error Messages – Implement more user friendly error messages that actually direct the user and support team to log the problem with the right group (maybe include some keywords in the standard error templates)
I would be interested to hear about other people’s experience in this area and what you found worked and didn’t work. Have you perhaps used any of the integration with Solution Manger Service Desk or similar to streamline the support process?