Strategies to Support PLM & CAD Users

Hi folks, I hope your organization has already implemented the best PLM / PDM and CAD solutions for all users and management. So that every user can create, update, and manage all sorts of data inside the centralized, on-premises, or cloud-based implemented platforms.

However, did they ever think about the situations were, that would happen if 

    • – If any of the above systems failed due to improper maintenance? 

    • – If the systems were unable to perform to their highest capacity? Which is now impacting the user experience and productivity 

    • – The systems are now outdated and need to be upgraded to the latest version.

      But we are lacking internal or external resources to do this job. 

    • – OR Due to the business growth and new complex product structure, PLM and CAD systems will need to be reconfigured to incorporate the best possible approaches to manage data. 

NO?  

Then please refer to the complete article to understand the importance of the support team. 

And how they will help to keep the system running free of any downtime or bad performance. 

That’s why we are here to share some key strategies that any organization can follow to make the support system robust.  

Before talking about strategies, first, try to understand the experience of the organizations without any support team.

The organization without a live Support Team? 

There are some cons of missing a solid Support Structure that is constantly helping and guiding the team on how to use the application and resolve the issues.  

If I may start with the one, in this case, users and administrators will get inspired to start answering the questions about the issues they are facing. They can sometimes come across solutions that may not be good for the organization in the long term. 

There is again one concept called a Superuser / Key user / Power user, who mostly has quite a good year of experience in using and administering PLM applications. So, when the Support team is not live, then such users start sharing their own knowledge across all the teams, which is a short-term benefit. However, after some time we found that these talented users started spending time supporting users instead of creating great products and tended to leave the organization. 

Another common way nowadays to get most of the answers is the Internet. So, users will start searching for the answers on the Internet. and sometimes use the trial/error method to reach to the answer and resolve the error. 

Let’s see now how to prevent these scenarios from happening to you.

Strategy 1Develop an Internal Support Team

If your organization has an internal support team, that means the IT infrastructure is already established and in working condition. Maybe, for a new software addition, we may need to add some new servers in place.  

Otherwise, we must consider the additional costs like hardware/software for the database, new process creation for calls, handling support requests, etc., and dedicated support resources. 

This is a difficult option as hiring the right resources is key and retaining them is even harder. Support is not a very lucrative work area as one is always dealing with unhappy users and problems.

Strategy 2 – User Training and Education 

To familiarize users with the features and capabilities of PLM and CAD solutions, it’s good to organize user training programs in the organization. This will help to encourage them to use the PLM and CAD system actively and grasp all the concepts soon. 

These types of training include initial training for new users and ongoing training for updates and advanced features. Training though cannot be a replacement for a support team.

Strategy 3 – Online Resources 

Nowadays, most organizations are using online portals, for example, Wiki – Jira confluence to create and record user training material in the form of documents, tutorials, FAQs, and troubleshooting guides. 

This saves a lot of time for the support team to focus more on resolving the new issues, rather than the issues which are recurring, and the solution is already known. 

Also, inspires users to find answers to common questions independently. Again, not a replacement for a support team.

Strategy 4 – User Communities 

Establish user communities like some social media channels, where users can collaborate with others, share best practices, and seek advice.  

These communities can be mostly internal so that everyone knows the same practice being followed inside the organization. Also, it helps to keep a record of such conversations which users can check anytime later.

Strategy 5 – Continuous Improvement & Escalation Procedures 

Based on user feedback and their needs, organizations should focus on improving the PLM and CAD support techniques regularly. 

Some areas include prioritizing support requests and quicker response time. 

This will benefit everyone in the organization in the long run. 

Regarding escalation, some clear procedures should be already in place. So that users can easily follow such procedures and should be documented. 

Strategy 6 – Automated Tools 

This is the 21st century, where everyone is accessible with the latest devices and new technologies are emerging every day. Hence to increase the overall user experience towards the whole system, the Organization should investigate implementing automated tools. Which can then at least do recurring jobs like auto-filling forms, generating reports, auto-finding solutions to common problems, etc.

Strategy 7 – User Support Surveys 

Periodically survey users to measure their satisfaction with the support team, collect feedback, and identify areas for improvement. 

Strategy 8 – Use an External Support Provider 

External Support Team can provide various benefits like 

  • – No need to invest Internal users’ and super users’ time in resolving issues, maintenance, & production rollout 

  • – Online Support via Email, Screen sharing applications, etc. 

  • – In some cases, Onsite/client-side support as well, however, need to consider the additional cost 

  • – All support tickets & resolutions are logged & available for reference 

  • – Dedicated support team so early & quality response can be guaranteed 

  • – External companies specialize in support and have multiple experts to solve critical issues.

  • – A well-defined SLA can ensure support on time. 

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