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Show Me the Incident!

Posted by geonetadmin Jan 13, 2009
"Help me, Help you."
—Tom Cruise, Jerry Macguire

My name is Kevin, and I am a group leader for the ArcGIS Server group at ESRI Support Services. Today, I’d like to share some ideas about how to log an effective support incident. Many of our users ask how they can help shorten their incident resolution time. The tips here should be of great help!


ESRI Support Services handles an average of 100 support requests via e-mail per day. Almost all of these come to us via the online form (users must login in order to use this form) available on ESRI Support Center's Contact Us Page.

Based on the information submitted in the form or e-mail, certain checks and measures are made to get the support request to the most appropriate specialist (ESRI Support Analyst). Once in the hands of a highly skilled ESRI Support Analyst, suggestions, questions and clarifications are made between the customer and the analyst until a resolution on the call has been achieved.

The resolution process starts with the initial support request sent to ESRI. The more information the analyst is provided with at the very beginning of the incident, the faster they can zero in on the issue. More information usually reduces the amount of necessary follow up questions to clarify, thus decreasing resolution time.

For example, take the following sample support request:

“ArcGIS Server doesn’t work, I can’t view my map.”

An analyst will have many questions to answer in order to zero in on the problem, such as:

    • Are you using ArcGIS Server .NET or Java? What version and service pack?

    • Has this worked in the past? Has anything on the system changed since the problem occurred?

    • Are you experiencing the problem in ArcCatalog or the Web Application?

  • What is the source of the data to your map service?

The sample request below contains many initial details that can help ESRI Support quickly zero in on the problem you are experiencing:

For example, “I just installed ArcGIS Server .NET 9.3 and it seemed to install properly. I can open the Web Manager and even publish a map service. However, when I try to view the map service in ArcCatalog, it doesn’t work. The icon for the map service shows a little red box on it, and whenever I try to start the service it tells me an error about “Server object creation failed”. I went through the tutorial on the Web help about publishing a map service but feel like I’m missing something. I am using shapefile data to the map service which is on a different machine than ArcGIS Server.”

I’ll still need to ask a few questions, but I should be able to offer some suggestions based on the above sample support request in my first return e-mail.

Some helpful items to include with a support request:

    • Product and version (for example, ArcGIS Server .NET 9.2, service pack 6).

    • Indication of the problem and within what product (for example, ArcIMS map service won’t display in ArcMap).

    • Details you feel are relevant to the problem (for example, Steps you have taken before the problem occurred).

    • Screen shots (a picture really does say a thousand words).

    • Sections of the Web help, tutorials or other sources of help you have already investigated (as an analyst, if I know you’ve already looked through the help and didn’t find your answer, I won’t waste your time and offer that as a suggestion).

  • When in doubt about a support request, the more information the better!


—Kevin H., ArcGIS Server Group Lead, ESRI Support Services

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