SAN MATEO (04/18/2000) - E-Support Provider Motive Communications targeted corporate IT departments with its MotiveNet Server Tuesday, expanding alliances with Dell Computer Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Co., which plan to use the newly launched MotiveNet Server to create business-to-business e-service networks.
MotiveNet creates a Web interface for a knowledge base of common problems that may help ease most corporations' overloaded internal help desk and allows the help desk and external service providers to view the end-user's configurations, according to Robert Igou, senior analyst at Dataquest, in Mountain View, California.
Incorporating the latest MotiveNet technology, Dell Computer on Monday relaunched its Resolution Assistant, an Internet-based technical support offering the computer maker plans to roll out in all its laptops, PCs, and serves by the end of this year, said Gary Cotshott, vice president of Dell Services.
Using MotiveNet technology, Dell has installed a virtual Customer Help Desk option that resides within the corporate firewall, giving customers the option of controlling what information they wish to send down to Dell's main customer support.
For companies such as Dell, Compaq, or HP, the benefits of integrating MotiveNet into their e-support offerings is obvious, allowing much of their call volumes to be redirected into a server that may be able to resolve the user's problems without the need for expensive help desk personnel, Igou noted.
"Essentially, the way it will be deployed is, this server will become a first line of support before the corporate help desk within a company," Igou said.
If the problem cannot be solved through MotiveNet's knowledge base, Igou said that MotiveNet will escalate the problem automatically and refer it to the internal help desk. What differentiates Motive technology is that it knows what is happening on the computer and relays the end-user's relevant information, such as configurations, to the help desk, noted Igou.
"They're getting that direct information from the software and the hardware, which is a whole lot better than an end-user telling them, 'It gave me a blue screen,' " Igou said.
Because MotiveNet also allows access through corporate firewalls -- a feature that Igou said distinguishes it from all other e-support offerings available -- the end-user can also be passed to an external service provider such as Dell, Compaq, or HP, with all of the relevant information and configurations.
"Once this problem is escalated to that external service provider, essentially, with a measured amount of security, they can have access to the end-user's desktop, and they're doing that through the firewall. And that's where the Duet server and a lot of other Internet applications have difficulty -- going through a company's firewall for security reasons," Igou said.
A company's internal help desk can decide what level of information the external service provider can access, Igou noted.
Additionally, enabling the external service provider to work through firewalls can allow the provider to fix some problems remotely, without needing the end-user or the internal help desk to follow instructions that can at times be confusing, Igou said.
"Some things can be fixed automatically. Depending on how much access the help desk has enabled them to have, they can either instruct the user or actually effect some changes remotely," Igou said.
Dell Computer Corp., in Round Rock, Texas, is at www.dell.com. Motive Communications, in Austin, Texas, is at www.motive.com.