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Service Request Automation -- a Look Under the Hood

Todd Cerny
Principal Technical Support Engineer

Many Oracle Support customers have now seen some of our Automated Service Request (SR) Processing in My Oracle Support - as you start to log a SR. The process presents you with questions designed to focus the SR towards known issues (usually in the Knowledge Base), and often suggests a fix for a known problem.

If the solution offered by the Automation process isn't a match to the problem, then a SR can be created. And in a growing number of situations, SR Automation continues at this point: We have some amazing tools, created and maintained by our internal Development teams, which interact with customers to collect and analyze data for their issue.

So, the process uses technology to request information from customers to analyze provided information (for example, an Apps Check Diagnostic with file version information) - which can allow Support to confidently recommend that a patch should be applied to resolve the issue.

Even if we don't have a known solution, automated data collection and analysis puts Support Engineers (SEs) in a much better position to begin diagnosing the issue (which could include engaging Developers if a bug is required). This certainly reduces the amount of time Support and Customers have to spend gathering information.

So -- how does this work? We have three major approaches:

Guided Resolutions -- customer SR logging process that walks through a series of questions describing the issue. Some branches end with a definitive solution, some end with 'None of the above'. Either way, a Guided Resolution provides key information on the issue the customer is experiencing, which either provides a solution, or gives a SE (in a SR) more detailed information on the customers issue. We have seen that SRs using Guided Resolutions are solved in shorter periods of time than SR's with no Guided Resolution.

Automated Troubleshooting -- this is the "magic", an exciting area where we have instructed My Oracle Support website to request data from customers -- which is then automatically analyzed / parsed. We can look for specific error messages, file versions, existence of table indexes, Profile Option settings, and a number of other details. Then based on this, we can sometimes recommend a specific action or in other cases stop the automation and begin the more traditional flow of SR work, along with a Bug if needed.

Analyzers -- analyzers are non-invasive scripts that provide file versions, set-ups, and known issues on a system. Customers can run Analyzers at any time to review their system for known issues and receive suggested solutions. Analyzers are sometimes requested during Automated Troubleshooting to assist SEs with getting a full picture of an issue.

The goal for Automation is to guide customers to known solutions for known issues, and help Oracle SEs more quickly solve issues when SRs are logged.

Of course, this is an ongoing process - as we learn more about how Customers use our Knowledge Base, we improve the Knowledge; as the Knowledge improves, known resolutions are created.

You will see a lot more of this Automation in the future. It has been proven to make a healthy difference in the Time To Resolution (TTR) of an SR. As always, customer feedback is a very valuable resource to us, so let us know what you think!