Kentico 1 on 1 - Talking Support with Juraj Ondrus
In this edition of Kentico 1 on 1, I spoke with Juraj Ondrus, Kentico’s Technical Support Leader. A veteran of Kentico (he’s been here for over nine years), Juraj has helped hundreds of developers solve their issues and has certainly seen just about every implementation of Kentico imaginable. In this edition, I asked Juraj about his role within Kentico, common Support requests, and the not-so-common requests that have come through.
Hi, Juraj. First, tell us about how you came to work at Kentico.
I studied at Brno University of Technology, where I met Jakub Oczko, our Principal Developer. He started at Kentico a year before me, and once I finished my studies, I started looking for a job, and Jakub let me know about a Support Engineer position at Kentico that sounded really interesting. After graduating, I applied for the job, and I’m still here, nine years later. As a Support Engineer, I got to work on a lot of different projects and talk to developers from around the world.
What is your role within Kentico Support now?
Right now, I am the Technical Leader of our Support team. Having 20 Support Engineers on the team requires someone to take care of the management part of the job, like reporting, budgets, attendance, and other personnel aspects. Tomáš handles this role within the Support team. My role is more in the technical part, like training new hires, helping with the technical process or the new CRM, and establishing the new ticket processes so we can better help our customers. Also, I handle communications with other departments, like Development, when we need to work on a customer issue on a technical level.
I know you have helped a lot of people of the past nine years in Support. Do you still answer tickets today?
Yes, I do. I find this is the best way to stay in touch with the technology and also with the customers and the issues they are facing. This helps us understand their needs and implement improvements to our team. I also work with a lot of other Engineers on their tickets to help them solve problems and get answers for our customers.
What is the most common Support request?
Well, I would say this has changed over the years. Before, we only had a few clients, and they were all using Kentico version 2. When version 3 was released, everyone upgraded to it, so the upgrades took place only during two months of that year. Right now, we have many, many clients (on over 25,000 sites), and the projects are different sizes, so we are getting questions about upgrades throughout the whole year. And also, the second most common question is about performance and optimization because there are so many things that can be optimized on your website from the front end and the back end.
How do you know when a call might be better helped by Kentico’s Consulting Services?
This is a hard question because the line between Support and Consulting is sometimes really thin. Usually, it’s clear that when someone is asking for some custom functionality that is not in Kentico, those calls are clearly a better fit for Consulting. But sometimes we also use Consulting for escalation — when the customer needs somebody to have an online session and go deep into their implementation. It’s usually when the project is heavily customized and they are trying to integrate something or change some of the default Kentico behavior. For these calls, we know they need hands-on assistance, and this is when we try to direct them to Consulting Services so that their needs can be served better.
What is the strangest Support request you have heard over your nine years at Kentico?
Well, the strangest request I heard about didn’t happen to me but to Jan Hermann. He had a call from the US, where there is a company with a name similar to Kentico — a plumbing company or something like that. He got a call from a guy telling him that his pipes were all rusty and water was leaking, and he wanted us to fix it. I would say that is one of the funniest calls we have gotten.
There was another one at the time when Ektron existed. They had Ektron 500 or something. A guy sent us a bunch of screenshots asking for help. We tried to explain that we are Kentico and that he was working with a different product, but he still insisted that Kentico should take care of the Ektron issue. If the issue had been CSS or styles or something, we would have tried to help him. However, the issue was completely on the back end, so we couldn’t do much for him.
What can developers do to help Support when they write in with an issue?
Provide as much information as possible. Screenshots or recording a screencast will definitely help. We have a recording option on our website so you don’t have to install any other program to capture it. Also, check the event log and send us any errors. Let us know about any customizations that have been made. Even if the customization seems unrelated, it can still be significant when trying to figure out the cause of the issue. And lastly, let us know what you have already tried. It can save a lot of time during the process if we know all of the steps you have taken already.
Since I started working with Kentico over seven years ago, Juraj has been to there to help me work through any issue I have encountered. He has a ton of knowledge about the platform and what it takes to keep things running smoothly. He, along with the rest of our amazing Support team, is committed to helping our customers solve their issues and implement Kentico in the best way possible.