There’s never a good time or place for your computer to go down. However, while working on an offshore oil rig is a really bad place. Schlumberger Oilfield Services, a petroleum industry support services company based in Houston, has nearly 50,000 engineers in more than 100 countries on oil rigs or in equally inaccessible situations at any given time. They travel around the world relying completely on their laptop. If their computer goes down, business stops.
Schlumberger’s concerns weren’t just that the engineers might have trouble reaching tech support when they needed assistance. There was also the issue of the time and money tech support was spending on the often mundane issues the remote users required, particularly in areas where bandwidth is limited and access expensive, says Harry Harji, vice president of global infrastructure services.
Schlumberger’s remote solution is the Self Support Portal, a global support network it developed with Support.com, a Redwood City, Calif.-based support automation software provider. Advanced self-healing tools are activated remotely from the server side, where analysts pinpoint problems and push fixes to the remote systems. Harji says automating support processes will likely save Schlumberger money in the long run, after defraying the initial costs of the software.