"We are absolutely committed to the success of .NET, and that means providing developers with a rich set of support options," says Lori Moore, vice president of Product Support Services at Microsoft. "This level of service illustrates our ongoing commitment to the success of developers who use and evangelize our products and technologies." Now available to MSDN Universal, Enterprise, Professional and Operating System subscribers, developers can get help where and when they want it, through increased access to Microsoft Support Professionals.
"With Visual Studio .NET and the entire .NET platform, we have an opportunity for developers to deliver outstanding value to their customers," says Neil Leslie, general manager of World Wide Developer Support at Microsoft. "Developers are the backbone of Microsoft. We've learned by listening to them that they want a wide range of resources and services to help them build these solutions."
The MSDN Online Concierge is a Web-based chat service, now available as a trial offering, that lets developers ask general assistance questions and receive direction from Microsoft Support Professionals in real time. In addition, Microsoft has designated more than 150 strategic newsgroups to be monitored by Microsoft Developer Support. In these managed newsgroups, help and support from peers and technical leaders such as Microsoft's MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) is augmented by Support Professionals who will facilitate a 72-hour response time for all subscribers who post questions.
"The managed newsgroup and Online Concierge services are great additions to the growing list of resources available to MSDN subscribers," says Tom Button, vice president of Enterprise Tools and Developer Marketing at Microsoft. "They round out a comprehensive set of tools, technologies and learning resources that will help make the transition to Visual Studio .NET and XML Web services seamless and successful for developers worldwide."
Newsgroups have long been a mainstay of the MSDN peer-to-peer developer community. Now, with over 150 newsgroups supported by Microsoft Support Professionals, MSDN subscribers will receive an accurate and quick response to their .NET product and technology questions.
As always, newsgroup participants will post questions and continue to receive answers and input from peers and MVPs. This structure does not change for managed newsgroups. The difference is that MSDN subscribers using managed newsgroups will be identified by their e-mail alias, and Support Professionals will guarantee a response for those developers within 72 hours. While this service only applies to MSDN subscribers, all newsgroup participants can view the response, whether or not they subscribe to MSDN.
"I've been working with Visual Studio .NET since the alpha version, and at this point I can do pretty much what I want to do with it," says Ken Getz, an author, .NET trainer and programmer, and now a .NET MVP. "But there's no way you can be an expert in every area, so people will be asking lots of questions. That's why, in addition to peer support and having a large pool of MVPs, these new support services are not just valuable -- they're crucial."
For general assistance questions, the MSDN Online Concierge provides developers with immediate access to a Microsoft Support Professional using online chat. This service is designed to cover issues such as MSDN site navigation, subscription information questions, MSDN download questions, questions about searching articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, and support access questions. The purpose of the Online Concierge is to help customers find self-help services on the site and to answer general questions regarding Microsoft development products.
"The Concierge is a simple way for a developer to have an online conversation with a Microsoft employee -- a way to get right to the source of the technology," Leslie says. "Coupled with the managed newsgroups, developers can now go even deeper and collaborate with their peers, who provide real-world experience, but now also have access to the support professionals who know and build the technology."
Ongoing Commitment to the Developer Community
"The bottom line is that we want developers to take advantage of these new services as .NET development comes into full swing," Leslie says. "This represents a continued commitment to that community, providing them with support and collaboration resources where and how they want them. It's one-stop shopping on MSDN -- developers can download their software, and get their support and services in one place."