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It is a calm early morn. The room has a subtle glimpse of daylight peeking curiously through the partially drawn curtains. Out of nowhere, an annoying buzzing shatters the silence as it forcefully travels across the room. A covered silhouette, annoyed with the noisy intruder, disables the alarm. 6 o’clock, the night seemed to expire too fast. With hesitation the silhouette finally emerges from the safety of the comforter and sits onside of the bed. The pandemic has added a new challenge to the weekly routine. The silhouette makes a funeral march to the restroom to perform the morning rituals of hygienic jubilee. Before long, it is time to login. There is that familiar sound of pecking on the wireless keyboard as the credentials are submitted with a sense of routine and precision. It is time to start the day.
Being a customer support engineer (CSE) can be challenging for the most part; even more so with the pandemic playing a primary role in how we conduct our day; from how we meet, to how we address the customers' needs. But with each challenge comes rewards and victories that are celebrated both publicly and in private. The essence of the CSE's daily tasks can be both eventful, a tasking of the mind, and a sharpening of skills that most of us never knew we possess. There are various teams that make up the support function and, in most cases, each CSE may have to don multiple hats to meet the call of the customers' needs.
There are several support venues within Alteryx Support so I would like to focus on the following:
Although there are many areas of support that should gain attention, these I find take the brunt of support with respect to queue count, customer needs, and commonality of issues addressed.
This is the “bread and butter” of CSE support; not so much because it is the most common (I believe that would be Designer and Connectors) but it is the most time intensive and, in most cases, the most unpredictable. Working in the Server queue puts a CSE in the mind set of Forrest Gump’s famous lines: “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get!”
And trust me, this holds especially true. What may start out as one thing in the case may end up being a major issue that can take weeks and sometimes months to resolve. CSEs that work in Server/Gallery must look at multiple options when it comes to analyzing a case: view logs, try replicating the customer's issue, research the cause and validate with documentation, presenting the information with the customer and using the findings to resolve the customer’s issue. It can be rather time consuming, but the satisfying reward of resolving the customer's issue and obtaining the knowledge from that case makes it worth it.
Day in the Life (Digression)
7:00 am Login and excited to start the day; Queue count 5 cases.
7:05 am Check emails and respond to cases in personal queue from the weekend. Make updates and schedule necessary meetings.
7:10 am Joy has turned to despair and anxiety; Queue count 30 cases.
7:15 am Just revived from current shock refresh the page; Queue count 40 cases. 5 Premium, 2 Sev 1s.
7:18 am Return to despair and anxiety.
8:00 am Jump on first meeting call.
8:05 am everything going simple enough.
8:06 am call goes haywire pull necessary logs and assess issue.
2:00 pm find out it is on their end.
[Pardon the digression, back to Server/Gallery.] I am striving hard to become a Server/Gallery SME. The challenge is intense, but I enjoy the group and camaraderie. But the goal as a CSE is to be like a sumo wrestler in spandex… you must expand your horizon and with that mentality your skill set can grow tremendously.
Although we have remotely met with our customers prior to the pandemic, it has been even more so now due to companies’ inability to return to the office. Many server installations have been in the cloud which results in issues in troubleshooting. The primary culprit: SAML. As a CSE, “be afraid… be very afraid!”
As a CSE, you may encounter a team known as the Connectors Team. This team uses skills of research, keen insight, and diligence. The team is made up of A1 talent and support, but they are hindered by one known enemy: “PROXY”. The proxy gods are not too keen on the Connectors team as they are in a constant battle of co-existence. They can play cruel and devious tricks in troubleshooting and even more so in resolution. But the challenge is intriguing and worth the technical ride.
You are not worthy of fixing my Proxy wrath, mortal!
Designer – Test Your Skills!!!
The last one I wish to focus on is Designer - the Alteryx flagship - used for developing workflows that make our customers more efficient and productive. But as a CSE, we do not take this responsibility lightly. CSE support looks at the workflows of many organizations and troubleshoots in-depth to provide A+ support and diligent attention to the customer's success.
We May Go Over Budget in Building this Workflow!!!
The pandemic has provided an extra challenge and being the Alteryx Support Team, we have stepped up to that challenge with wit, humor, and dedication to our respective jobs. We work hard and endure adversity in many cases and find humor in it to allow us to demonstrate camaraderie, empathy, and resilience. I am honored and proud to be a part of the CSE team and am thankful for the knowledge, laughter, and motivation passed down by each one. CSE... it is more than a job, it is an adventure!
So, there you have it! This is just part of being a CSE within Alteryx but hold up! We not only work hard, but we also play just as hard! Fridays are on point as 4pm rolls around, we have our virtual Happy Hour! This gives us a chance to unwind from the chaotic week and meet virtually with our drink of choice and converse on non-work topics. We strengthen our bond as a team and build the family bond that makes us different from other organizations. So, this is a very brief but fun insight into the life of a CSE. It is a rewarding, fun, and worthwhile journey for anyone willing to partake in it.