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Attachmate’s EliteAssist Goes Live Monday

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Attachmate Corp. (www.attachmate.com) confirmed that its EliteAssist program will be active Monday.

EliteAssist, a Web-based visual remote control solution that enhances Attachmate’s support offerings, is a free add-on for customers of its Elite support program.

To create EliteAssist, Attachmate licensed a collaborative tool from ActiveTouch Inc. (www.activetouch.com), which provides a way for Attachmate’s support technicians to take or share control of customer’s desktops, including all applications, remotely.

"The goals of EliteAssist are to fix problems faster and to enhance our relationships with customers," says Bob Flynn, Attachmate’s vice president of product planning and support.

Attachmate believes that a one-way video feature, which enables users to see the technician working on their claim, will enhance relationships.

"We tried for two-way video, but firewall and security issues prevented the technology from working as well as we would like it to," Flynn says. Two-way video, however, may be coming down the pike.

The way the solution works is simple: A user calls his Attachmate technician, Elite customers have a designated technician serving as a single point of contact, and that technician goes into the user’s machine and can help alleviate the problem. While the technician talks the user through the problem, the user can see the technician in a little window on the computer screen.

Such meetings are private, so no undesirables can sneak in and view what is taking place, though the customer can set it so that the meeting is performed in a one-to-many scenario, with the tech support technician broadcasting to several employees, in separate geographic locations. For example, a technician that is presenting to a group of one customer’s employees can flip through a PowerPoint presentation, while explaining it over the phone.

Attachmate is working to add telephony to EliteAssist, so customers and technicians can converse directly through the user’s computer, but no time frame is in place as of yet for when the company expects that technology to be added.

All the presenting is done on ActiveTouch’s server, outside the customer’s firewall.

On the off hand chance that someone breaks into the meeting, the meeting host, who is usually the technician, can eject that person and block that person from reentering the session. Also, SSL is used, so if the data is intercepted, it cannot be read.

"We wanted to make this secure and easy to use for customers," says Jennifer Shettleroe, business systems manager, support information management, Attachmate.

The solution goes live next week, but Attachmate expects an adjustment period before all its Elite customers rely on this.

"It might take a little while for our customer’s to get used to this," Flynn says. "But our beta users have definitely shown some interest." – Thomas Sullivan

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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