Posts Tagged ‘Support & Service’

zenon Product Lifecycle – Transparent Advantage

Friday, May 16th, 2014

The new zenon product lifecycle! Advantages through more efficiency, transparency, predictability, as well as the reliability of an even more ergonomic and stable product.

In a highly technical environment the demands placed upon a standard software such as zenon are rapidly changing and cycles are becoming shorter and shorter. We have reacted to this, reworked our zenon release process and will henceforth bring new versions to the market in shorter cycles. With shorter development cycles it is possible for us to promptly react to key market changes. We can therefore offer new functionalities more quickly and our customers can profit from possibilities that were unheard of a year before.

The regularity offered by the new development cycle also allowed us to optimize internal processes. This, in turn, led to an increase in efficiency and ultimately to even more ergonomics and stability.
Furthermore, dependable and sustainable functionalities allow our customers to react in their market more rapidly.  “Time to market” is, and is increasingly becoming, a deciding factor.

Transparency as the mother of reliability has been a credo which we have been committed to for many years.  An example in the Support & Service Site found on our website, where we also now offer a section, Security Vulnerabilities.

As far as the zenon product was concerned it was our goal to clearly inform our customers from the launch of a product right up until the end of a product lifecycle.
It is very important for our customers to know which lifecycles are covered in a zenon version.

The following questions are therefore asked again and again:

  • When is the next zenon version expected?
  • How long is a zenon version valid?
  • How long are zenon versions supported?
  • How long are zenon versions serviced?

All these questions can be answered at a glance and in transparent form by means of the product lifecycle, available for our customers online, on the product page (you can also find the Release and Support Cycle for the zenon Analyzer online)

We are all subject to appointments, from offer to acceptance date, as well as the date for the celebration for successful implementation – this should also be part of the planning from the beginning. An overview regarding availability of a product, the support, as well as the maintenance, allows you to gain improved management of your IT investment, as well simplifying your IT planning.

It is therefore very important to be able to count on a reliable partner and a premium product. It is only a reliable partner and a premium product that enable each of us to be in a position to make solid decisions and plans. Predictability allows you to be more efficient and thereby reliable to your customers. A partnership with COPA-DATA and the zenon Product Family as the basis for your success – this is our declared goal. The product lifecycle has not only created a great deal more transparency, but has also improved our internal efficiency. You too can profit from this!

COPA-DATA Support & Services Website Part 2: Find Solutions more effectively – Any Time, any day

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Because the FAQs and our Knowledge Base have been revised from the ground up, we would like to present you these two sources of information in more detail. The improvements include, in particular:

  • The usability of the search
  • Quicker returns of search results
  • Clear communication of the results (IDs)

We reacted to the feedback from our customers and completely revised the usability of the search. For example, there is now an error message if you wish to start a search without entering a search term. Furthermore, the advanced search – “extended search” – presently features a check for the selection of the zenon version, the service pack and the build number. Therefore it is now possible to only select service packs and build numbers that are actually available for a certain zenon version. In addition, the extended search area remains open until this is no longer needed. Up to now, the area closed automatically, without any notification of the search limitations in the background. If you have selected many search options and want to empty these in order to enter new search criteria, clicking on “extended search” with the mouse is sufficient. This area then closes or opens; all filters that have been set are emptied and you can start a new query.

Screenshot Knowledge BaseResult lists can often be very long, however there are some functions to limit the result further. First, you can select the number of result entries displayed. The ideal amount depends on the display area of your screen. Furthermore, you can enter a search string in the “Search all columns” field, which is then only applied to the entries in the results list – immediately and interactively. As a third filter possibility, you can find all the different entries in a column, which can be selected using a drop-down box. Here, you can, for example, set a filter to obtain FAQ entries or Knowledge Base entries only, or have the results for a certain zenon version, a certain zenon module or a category displayed. In combination, these new filters offer various possibilities to limit a search and increase the probability of finding a successful solution to the problem.

Another useful feature is the Quick preview: Each entry in the results list has a green ‘plus’ icon in front of it in the first column. If you click on it, the entry opens directly in the list and you can have a quick look at further details in order to establish whether this is the entry you are looking for. With the same icon, which has now turned into a red ‘minus’, the information can be closed again. This way, it is possible to look through the respective filtered results list quickly, entry by entry. If the entry that is being searched for is found, it can be opened by clicking on the description, whereupon the complete article appears. Here, further status information and additional comments are displayed in an easy-to-read format. Additionally, there is now a print option available, allowing a description to be printed out at any time.

An invisible, but nevertheless very important improvement for communication is the introduction of a unique article ID. This identifies the entry from the FAQs or the Knowledge Base and makes explicit references to individual entries much simpler. The article ID is unique, which means that the results list only provides a single hit when an ID is entered into the search field.

Another advantage of the COPA-DATA Support & Services website is its availability. It is accessible around the clock, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – and internationally. All the information is provided in English, in order to remove language barriers as much as possible.

Searched for… and found! All at www.copadata.com/support

Many of the updates mentioned are not directly visible to the user. However in combination, these many building blocks allow you to receive information more quickly, informatively and with a clearer overview.

Highlight the Support & Services website on your zenon map as an important destination. Explore the platform! You will be surprised what a powerful package of information and expertise is waiting for you. Integrate our 4-stage concept into your daily work with zenon and test out which source or combination best supports your query.

The Support & Services website is a valuable cornerstone for the whole COPA-DATA support “ecosystem”. We will continue to develop this step-by-step, in order to make your zenon user experience even more ergonomic.

COPA-DATA Support & Services Website Part 1: A Central Information and Communication Platform for zenon

Friday, February 7th, 2014

When developing solutions in a complex industrial environment, it is impossible to avoid tricky problems and challenges. In automation, this usually starts with cabling, leads to hardware and finally to the software used for a certain project.

In addition to the technical features and the usability of ergonomic software such as zenon, the overall experience depends on the possibility of finding a quick solution and thus relies very much on the support “ecosystem” offered. Time is money. The quicker a problem can be solved, the better. In addition to time and money, a quick solution to a problem also reduces mental strain. Mental strain that may well be needed for more important tasks in a project.

More expertise from the start

The initial contact with COPA-DATA support usually starts with questions to gain understanding, such as “Can I solve this task or that task with zenon?”, “Which module supports me in doing so?”, “Does this module require a license?”,  “If so, what effects does that have on the costs of my project?” etc. After this, there are generally detailed technical questions and finally you get to the suspected problems with the software, so if zenon does not respond or act in accordance with the documentation.

While basic questions relating to the performance of the product can be answered by the sales contacts in charge, detailed technical questions usually require the support of technical specialists.
However, in this support information chain, COPA-DATA Support is not the first link in the chain. Strictly speaking, this chain starts with each of us. Good, thorough training, acquired expertise and learned and trained abilities help us to recognize problems by anticipating them correctly and dealing with them properly.

zenon, as a software product, offers help in the form of technical documentation, and in the form of debugging tools, such as the central log mechanism consisting of the log server and log client (also known as DiagViewer.exe). The zenon Editor output window, with its useful messages, warnings and error outputs, is also one of the standard aids available as standard in the software. Meaningful error messages and the Tool SIC (system information collection) assist you in finding the cause of a problem on your own.

Register on the website and gain access to all resources

The quickest help can be found through our valuable tools and resources. For this reason, we at COPA-DATA aim to support our customers to help themselves as much as possible. As a company, complete transparency for our customers is very important. In this case, this means that we meticulously document all problems and effects that are known to us and that have been reported to us, and disclose this to all registered users.

The central starting point of all COPA-DATA assistance is the online platform www.copadata.com/support. All new issues can be seen there and the website offers access to all other databases and information sources – the Forum, the Knowledge Base, the FAQs and much more. Search queries for the FAQs, the Knowledge Base and the Forum can be started right on this page and you are forwarded directly to the results list of the individual information sources.

Please note: a pre-requisite for unlimited access to all this information is registration on the COPA-DATA website and subsequently logging on to the website with your personal login data.

4 stages of problem solving

Our four-stage concept helps you to search for answers. This gives you a clear path on the way to achieving your objective:

Support and Service DocumentationIn the first stage, users are requested to include our technical documentation in their search. The documentation is an often overlooked source when searching for the solution to a problem. Many questions can be answered early by using the documentation.

Support and Service Knowledge BaseIn the second stage, a FAQ search or Knowledge Base search can be started directly. These two sources of support have been recently revised and now contain many more useful features.

Support and Service ForumIn the third stage, the Forum can be searched for answers or already known effects directly. The COPA-DATA Forum is a popular and proven communication platform, where zenon users share their experiences with other users. Here, approaches to a solution are discussed, problems are considered and basic questions for the understanding of zenon are clarified.

Support and Service ContactIf the three previous stages have not lead to a satisfactory solution to the problem, it is possible to contact local COPA-DATA support as a fourth stage. The contact addresses of your local support team are visible once you have selected your country on the contact page.