Clarifying uAchieve Support in 2020

uAchieve-Support-Types-and-Levels

“What versions of uAchieve do you support?”

This is a recurring question that rarely has a straightforward answer. We are hesitant to say we do not support any version because we always try to help, regardless of what uAchieve version a client is running. That is especially true of encoding advice, as most of that advice applies to all uAchieve releases—and even DARwin. On the other hand, we have been reluctant to declare that we support all versions because the responsibility of providing technical support requires access to various versions of operating systems, databases, containers, Java, etc., some of which may no longer be supported/available from the vendor.

To achieve more clarity in communicating our support commitments, we have identified three levels of support and three types of support available for each version of uAchieve:

Levels of Support

  • Premier
  • Sustaining
  • Not Supported

Types of Support

  • Functional
  • Technical
  • Patch

The new uAchieve Support Matrix provides a concise visualization of our support commitments by level and type for each version! You may want to take a moment to review the matrix before reading the definitions below for each level and type of support.

Support Levels

The following levels of support are applied in the context of a specific uAchieve version AND the type of support. For example, typically an older uAchieve version has premier functional support, but no technical or patch support. The levels and types of support available are solely a matter of the age and nature of each version. This is not a tiered plan in which you are asked to pay for higher levels of support. If a version has premier functional support, for instance, all clients who pay maintenance or a subscription receive that support.

Premier (Full) Support

Within the constraints outlined by each type of support below, we are committed to resolving support issues raised by clients in a timely manner.  “Within the constraints” means, for example, that under Functional Support we would provide advice and guidance about how to resolve an encoding question, and may even provide an example solution. However, our support commitment does not include doing the encoding in your system. We can provide those services, but that would be covered as part of a Services contract.

Sustaining Support

Due to the age of the release, we may not have access to an operational instance of the uAchieve version in question, or our expertise may be diminished. Under sustaining support, we will do our best to answer questions and resolve issues, but our ability to provide an effective response may be limited.

Not Supported

We no longer provide the type of support in question for the specified uAchieve version.

Support Types

Functional Support

Functional Support involves answering questions and providing solutions with regard to how uAchieve operates and how an institution’s academic policies could be implemented and enforced within the system.

In short, functional support is encoding support. We will provide end-user and encoding support for all versions of uAchieve to the best of our ability. However, specific solutions may be available in newer versions of uAchieve that are not available in older versions. We are unlikely to ever put an end date on functional support for any version of uAchieve, but as a version ages beyond six years (two major versions behind the current release), our collective familiarity and ability to support that version is diminished.

Technical Support

Technical Support is providing advice and guidance with regard to system installation, configuration, and performance.

The expertise required to answer questions regarding the installation and configuration of the uAchieve Server and web applications is readily available. However, technical support does not include the actual installation on client systems or writing custom code. Again, this kind of direct help is available and may be purchased through a separate Services contract.

Patch Support

Patch Support is providing a software update outside of the normal release schedule for critical issues and security vulnerabilities. 

Patches are provided at the discretion of CollegeSource and are only created to fix a bug that does not have a reasonable work-around. In most instances, patches are only created for clients in the middle of a uAchieve upgrade process. Patches are NOT provided for the purpose of adding enhancements to releases prior to their introduction. Also, patches do not run through the full extent of our normal quality assurance testing. Patches should be considered emergency fixes and we will only patch the last available release of a series — stay tuned for more about versions in the May newsletter.

Conclusion

By defining the levels and types of support we provide and mapping them into a uAchieve Support Matrix, we have tried to bring clarity to our commitments and fully answer the question, “which versions of uAchieve do you support?”  If you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Next month, we will discuss our streamlined uAchieve versioning and release model.

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