I often hear customers of Prophet 21 expressing frustration with getting help through the support ticket system at Epicor. I can sympathize with this as I have had similar issues in the past. However, over the last year or so, I have had much better success with Prophet 21 support. I know that at Insights 17 in Nashville, Epicor talked about continuing to improve customer support, but I believe that given the right information, it is and has been possible to get good Prophet 21 support.
Submitting A Case to Prophet 21 Support
The new EpicCare system for managing support tickets has been running for some time now. When creating a case, there are many fields to fill out, but the better job you do getting them filled in, the better chance you have to get the ticket routed quickly and to the right location. I know, this should be obvious and go without saying, but it is definitely an important first step.
Describe the Problem, Clearly
Giving a clear description of the problem is key. “The system isn’t working” is not a good description. Be proactive, include screen shots and be sure to report clearly which windows, reports, etc. that are a problem. In my experience, the first tier of support is highly likely to ask for screen shots, so you might as well get ahead of the game and send them. Make sure you use very plain terms, do not use inside jargon or a lot of abbreviations. Short, sweet and to the point is the best course of action.
Instructions to Replicate
This one is very important, and most often overlooked. You must give a clear set of instructions to replicate. They need to be very detailed and describe every step of the process, starting with the point at which you open the affected window. I also find that a bulleted list works well. Below is a sample of a set of replication instructions that I have used in the past.
- Open Purchase Order Receipt
- Retrieve Purchase order
- Receive any quantity of item.
- Save PO Receipt, notate the Receipt Number
- Open Reverse PO Receipts
- Retrieve the receipt from the above transaction
- Click reverse all check box
- Click Save, .NET exception will display
- Click Save again, SQL error will display
This is the single best thing you can do to get a case moved along the support pipeline. It takes out a lot of guesswork and allows Epicor to get to work on the issue. This may be difficult with intermittent errors, but it is still very important.
In cases where you are getting bad results, but not necessarily a system error, describe what you think it should be doing. Again, do this in detail and be clear. This helps communicate to Epicor what your expectations are, and can assist them in providing you a more complete answer. This is also your chance to lay out the business case for how you believe it should work. Describing how your internal business processes function can also be helpful if it is relevant to the case.
When you are having a serious issue in your live system, make sure you tell Prophet 21 Support how the issue is affecting operations. I usually do this by giving them a number of occurrences per day, or explaining which departments are being affected. This helps Epicor get the context of how urgent the issue is. It is much more effective than just flagging it as high priority.
Include a SQL Trace
Finally, I have also been proactive about just including a SQL trace up front. This is another step to move the process along more quickly. Most of the time, if the problem is related to P21 execution, Prophet 21 Support is going to ask you for a trace. Get ahead of the game and submit it up front.
Get a Backup Ready
Make sure you have a recent backup ready to upload to Prophet 21 Support if they ask for it. I usually proactively upload one whenever I am testing a new version. I know I will usually have 2 or 3 cases to submit, and it is easier if there is already a database uploaded. While I don’t recommend always uploading one proactively, but having one ready to send will save you some time and frustration.
Key Takeaways for Prophet 21 Support
There are things you can do to try and maximize the value of your Prophet 21 support case experience. Don’t forget to describe the issue clearly, include detailed steps to replicate the issue, send screen shots, and include a SQL trace if applicable. Additionally, when relevant, describe the desired system behavior and the impact to your business operations. Finally, have a database backup ready to upload just in case they ask for it.
Want to know more about Prophet 21, view a list of posts here.