Friday, November 21, 2008

Gold Support to the Rescue

How Autodesk Subscription Gold Support Can Save Your Day

Yesterday I wrote extensively about the benefits of getting your Autodesk software on subscription, except I left out one important benefit. I had a good reason, so bear with me.
The benefit I left out was that with subscription you can log your own support requests with Autodesk. One of their techs will research your problem and email you. This could save you a lot of money, compared to buying a support block with your reseller. That support block time can just fly by if you have an odd problem. I wanted to write about this now, because even though this is a terrific benefit, it's even better with Gold Support.

Once you log in to Subscription Center, you can look at the benefits I talked about yesterday, or create a support request. What I hate about creating a support request online is that you have to disable the pop-up blocker every time (because who wants to leave that off? You'd go nuts with all the pop-up ads all day long). In this picture I showed how I did it. You might have more than one, and you have to disable all of them. I know it's a little thing, but there are days I just don't need any little annoyances! How about you?

But once you get through that, there's a simple form to fill out.

At the top of this second picture notice that the kinds of things you can get help with are listed- installation, product configuration and troubleshooting.

You also have the choice to allow your reseller to see your support request, so if you're working closely with them, they can be kept in the loop. After you've submitted the form, they'll get back to you with a solution, or perhaps more questions about the problem. It's a great benefit to Subscription members.

The down side is, if you're stuck, you can't get any work done until they have time to get back to you...

So, that brings me to one of the awesome benefits of Gold Support - You can phone them! You can call an Autodesk Tech for one-on-one real-time help with your AutoCAD problem.
From 9 to 5 in each time zone during the regular work week, and even weekend hours in certain areas, you can call in with a toll-free number. What could be sweeter?

In normal Subscription, there are several levels of people who can log in to the Subscription Center for help. The Contract Manager sets this up. With Gold Support, you can have up to 4 people who can call for support! There's even an option for more. I love that.

Another sweet benefit of Gold Support is the ability to run several versions of your software on one machine. OK, there are conditions you have to meet, but it's worth it. I bet everyone has had problems working with old drawings in new versions, or getting files from someone who is using a different version of the software. Eliminating these daily headaches would be ideal.

I just remember the days of struggling on my own, trying to figure stuff out with AutoCAD. Gold Support would have saved me many a stressful day if I had had this way back when!

For any of you that might be translating this page, let me mention that online help is available in many languages, depending on where you live. This chart shows which regions have online support in what language.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hidden Subscription Benefits

Many of you get your AutoCAD software through subscription, which means that you basically buy it for the full price the first time, and then every year you pay a much lower fee to get the next new version automatically sent to you. Even if you weren't in the habit of buying every new release, this is still a good bargain. But did you know how many other things you are entitled to by being on Autodesk Subscription? There's a lot with regular subscriptions, and with their new Gold Subscription program, there's even more.

You get to Subscription Center from the Autodesk home page, there's a link in the lower right corner. Once you've logged in, you can either create a Support Request, or access your subscription benefits. We'll save Support Requests for another day. The picture above is what the benefits page looks like.

Number 1 in my screen shot there is Product Downloads. These are very cool special tools that are only available to subscribers. There are a couple different ones for AutoCAD, as well as for most of the more specialized softwares like Map and Civil 3D.

Below is a partial list of the Product Downloads:

I think each of these could be a subject for a long article!

The next thing only available to Subscription members is on-line training. On my illustration, I labeled the two places you can get to these as 2. & 3.
I clicked on AutoCAD and took a look at the tutorials for the new 2009 features. They're good! If you can't get to an update class, this is really important stuff. I meet so many people who've never learned all the cool stuff that they add to AutoCAD every year, they just keep using the same tools. Usually when I show them the new stuff, they slap their foreheads and say "That would have saved me HOURS of work!" Seriously, they do!

So, to reduce forehead slapping and save yourself hours of work, take a look at these e-learning lessons.

Number four on my list is "Stoeckel on Subscription", which is a blog written by one of the experts of AutoCAD. Just to whet your appetite for checking this out, here's a bit of his introduction:

When you read a little of how long he's been working with AutoCAD and of all the things he's done, you'll be as glad as I am to read his blog.

You can learn a lot if you listen to smart people. He's one of them.

And I haven't even mentioned the extra benefits if you're a Gold Support member. More on that tomorrow!

Here's a link to the Glossary of all the subscription terms.