Remote Support Tools: From 1 to 1000 Agents

I know SSPA members are already familiar with remote support tools for remote control and remote diagnostics.  According to my 2006 SSPA Support Technology Survey, 46% of our >$1B members have remote support technology in place.  The ROI of these tools is obvious:  instead of walking customers through complex procedures to check or adjust settings, the agent can take control of the computer remotely and just drive.  Average talk time goes down, first call resolution rate goes up.  Even companies with great training programs and strong knowledgebase tools should find ROI for a remote support purchase within 12-18 months (though many case studies show ROI in 6 months or even less).

The biggest obstacle to adoption of these tools may be pushback from customers.  “What?  You, a perfect stranger, want to take control of my computer?  No way, Jose!”  But, I think most consumers are moving past that, due to what I call “Ragsdale’s Law,”  Convenience Overrides Paranoia.  When customers see business value in remote support, i.e., their problem gets fixed faster, the convenience helps them get past the paranoia.  Just as they get past click stream monitoring.  Just as they get past browser cookies.  Just as they get past mass monitoring of our phone calls and emails.  (OK, some of us aren’t past that last one yet.)

Anyway, most of the press attention for remote support vendors, which include Citrix Online, LogMeIn, Motive, SupportSoft and Webex, are always on big deals, highly scalable tools, and large internal and external support operations.  But there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of small IT shops and 3rd party IT support companies in North America.  (One of my favorites, which we use for IT services at the SSPA, is Do IT Smarter. They do a great job, and I can be pretty needy.)

I had a chat yesterday with another SSPA partner that provides remote support tools, Bomgar Corporation, who are launching their new corporate identify (renamed from Network Streaming), as well as a new remote support product targeting small IT and support teams–even 1 person shops.  Instead of OnDemand or OnPremise installed software, Bomgar provides an appliance that you just plug in and go, avoiding any installation or firewall troubleshooting.  In fact they talk about their “pizza challenge.”  New customers can order a pizza, and have the appliance installed before it arrives.

Bomgar’s new product is the Bomgar B100, a plug and play remote support appliance designed for 1-2 person shops.  It comes with 1 user license for full remote support functionality, and plugs right into your computer or even a wireless router.  Instead of a subscription price, it sells for a one-time fee of $1,988.  If per-person subscription pricing is around $200 per month per agent, the B100 would pay for itself in 10 months.

Nice to see the little guy getting some attention for a change. 

Because I’m a hands-on kind of guy, Bomgar is loaning me a B100 to test.  I of course see this as an excuse to order a pizza.  I’ll let you know what happens!

Comments?  Question on the ROI for remote support?  Please ask!!

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One Comment on “Remote Support Tools: From 1 to 1000 Agents”

  1. MD Says:

    If you look at just who supports desktops today, you might find that the vast majority are supported by local, smaller IT shops. Products like the B100 support these smaller businesses. Not only can they increase their productivity with technology like remote support but they can also increase customer satisfaction levels, and expand their geographic region. With remote support, technicians are able to deliver service anywhere, anytime without travel time.

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