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When it Comes to Support – There are Options

A while ago, I wrote a semi- off-topic blog on my frustrations with online support (at my bank and so on) and asked the question, is this what online support might be like in an actual cloud, SaaS CTRM context? Well, that blog seemed to be spot on and garnered quite a bit of interest and commentary. Everyone reading this will at some point have found themselves in online support hell?. The kind where your query is to be found in a database of pre-canned questions and answers that you must sort and sift through only to find nothing that remotely looks like your issue. You then look for the phone number of email for support only to find none is provided. Yes? I don’t believe such ‘support’ helps with creating a solid brand, to be honest.

Among those responding was Shreedevi Thacker, CSO and founding partner at ETRMServices.  Pointing out that ETRMServices is a vendor that can provide managed services for an entire platform, she wanted to comment on support in the context of SaaS and CTRM.  As she told me on the phone, everything has to work end-to-end, including things like interfaces, both within the trading stack as well as externally with exchanges, markets, and so on. “We can come in and do everything from help install it with the vendor in the cloud to implement the product and relevant interfaces and put in place a blended on-site/off-site support team to help manage it,” she said. “We look at the data flow across the customer platform as well as the specific software.” The support includes everything from email to phone support. “We have been providing this sort of service for more than 10-years already, and so we know what we are doing.”

Shreedevi sees ETRMServices expertise in the E/CTRM area as a key differentiator saying, “for example, we understand the retail business all the way through, and in the process, we understand the logic and process flows.” It is vendor and product-neutral as well, and “we are more and more called in to help with interfaces between software products. Sometimes firms want to limit their costs in this area, and so we perform the data migration across systems or interface work to other products or larger markets/exchanges,” she told me. Indeed, this has been an increasing area of concern in the industry, and ComTech is often consulted on this area. In particular, the interfacing of CTRM with accounting/ERP is an area that many are battling with, it seems.

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For any firm procuring a low-cost CTRM either traditionally or as a service, support is a crucial issue and area for consideration. Shreedevi’s communication with me reinforced that support is a service that can also be procured and not just from the specific vendor. Firms like ETRMServices can and do offer broader support solutions across the business or a platform and perhaps, in the process, provide your users with something more than glorified online Q&A masquerading as support.