SolutionsX is a consulting company that specializes in ERP implementation. The company’s software division develops and maintains a standalone product known as CADTalk. CADTalk is a Windows-based program that reads and transfers CAD data to a client’s ERP system, saving the user from having to transfer it manually.
By the Numbers
- 3 Integrated Systems
- CAD, ERP, and CADTalk
- Hundreds of Hours Saved in Support
CADTalk’s customer support team was relying on screenshots and user-provided reports to troubleshoot bugs and errors in its software.
The manual process was difficult for both the end user and the CADTalk support team, which was sometimes unable to identify the source of an error from screenshots and customer descriptions.
“There were times when we couldn’t identify the problem,” said Jeff Brickler, head of CADTalk’s support team. The team needed objective data to guide its work as it helped customers with problems and complaints. “We needed some kind of logging data so we could get more information about the problem — before we asked a developer for help,” Brickler said.
That’s when they installed Loupe.
The team began adding Loupe’s .NET application logging to different areas of CADTalk, giving the team the ability to record data that described events happening within the software. When customers called support with questions or complaints, Brickler’s team was able to review data from the customer’s system — and investigate what was happening to cause the problem.
The CADTalk team leveraged Loupe’s logging API to add new diagnostic data during troubleshooting. By adding application-specific custom logging, CADTalk could provide data about a specific area of the software — one the support team might believe was the cause of the customer’s problem.The reports gave the team hard evidence of what was happening inside the customer’s system.
Many times, Loupe data showed a customer’s problem wasn’t being caused by CADTalk. Instead, it originated in the customer’s CAD system, ERP system, or machine setup: “The end user doesn’t really know where the problem originates,” Brickler said. “They just get an error from CADTalk, so it looks like it’s a problem with our system. A lot of times it’s not a CADTalk error at all.”
Loupe data helps Brickler and his team show users what’s actually happening in their systems. “Having data really helps me convince the end user where the problem really is — or that it’s not a CADTalk problem at all,” he added. “That lets us move on and begin working to resolve their real issue.”
Loupe has become a key analysis tool for the CADTalk support team.
The CADTalk team also uses Loupe in its testing process and beta releases, helping the team identify potential problems before software is released to end users. The team has found Loupe’s reporting so helpful that they’re now looking for new ways to use logging data in its support and development work.
“Both my product manager and I agree that we’re under-utilizing it,” Brickler said. “It helps us tremendously now, and we both think it can be even more helpful to us in the future.”