Effective and quality technical support in business to business partnerships with focus on the high-tech (semiconductor industry) products



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Effective and Quality Technical Support in Business to Business Partnerships with focus on the High-Tech (Semiconductor Industry) Products

Fred Kishwahili Byabagye, MSE The University of Texas at Austin, 2011

Supervisor: Kyle Lewis Co-Supervisor: Tony Ambler

My choice of this thesis topic is very much in line with my passionate desire to contribute and share my experience in the area of Business to Business (B2B) technical support while continuing to explore the constantly evolving challenges involved when a corporation that makes semiconductor products (Original Semiconductor Manufacturer) has to provide effective and efficient quality technical support to another corporation (Original Equipment Manufacturer) that uses the semiconductor product in designing a final product. For example, how does an Original Semiconductor manufacture (OSM) such as AMD or Intel provide effective technical support to an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) such as HP or Dell? This partnership has to be well managed to ensure continuous technical support from new product conception through the sustaining phase of the product. This area of business to business technical support is not well understood because of company Intellectual Property (IP) issues and propriety information involved. This type of activity happens under Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), behind “firewalls” and varies from corporation to corporation. Most people have had experience with or have heard stories about customer service issues between an individual consumer customer and a corporation selling a product (such as buying a PC/Laptop from Dell or HP). This thesis will not explore this area since it is very familiar and well understood. First, by drawing on my observations spanning 16 years working in different customer facing areas for AMD and noting the changes that have taken place in the way B2B technical support has evolved, I will constantly point out scenarios that continuously come up in an effort to deliver quality and effective customer technical support.
Second, there is a lot of literature available that explores how the semiconductor industry has changed from companies being component sellers to “solutions providers”. Historically, technical support used to be considered as only necessary after a product had gone into production. However, that model has changed in the current environment of more complex products such as Microprocessors (CPU), System-on-a-Chip (SoC), and Accelerated Processing units (APU). For B2B customer technical support to be effective and high quality, it has to meet and exceed the customers’ expectations throughout the product life-cycle.