There’s support, and then there’s SUPPORT

The perimeter is a little squishy.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

It’s the ’80s and pilot fish works for an independent software vendor. It’s a small ISV, and because it competes with much larger vendors, it has to be nimble — like a pilot fish swimming among sharks, says pilot fish, who should know. A central part of that nimbleness is excellent customer support.

The atmosphere in the development office is collegial, extending even to the customer support staff, who are based in the same office and share the same network.

Or it does until one customer support rep takes “excellent customer support” too far.

He decides he can improve customer support and avoid a lot of driving to customer sites by setting up a file-server workstation with a dialup modem that customers can use to connect with the company. And one customer really connects. Which the ISV doesn’t realize until the customer suddenly branches out into selling computer software, with a product that looks very much like the ISV’s flagship offering.

And that’s the end of the shared network. Customers roaming your LAN and stealing your source code call for severe measures.

Sharky is not thief, but I take what I can get. Email your true tales of IT life to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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