Call tech support personnel with headphones typing answers on their computers.

Investing in a SCADA system is a serious and substantial undertaking for any company, so it is extremely important to choose a vendor that not only sells quality products but also provides quality technical and customer support as well as software maintenance. After all, this type of support is crucial for project and operational success.

If you think about it, the SCADA customer-vendor relationship does not end when the customer buys the software but in fact continues during and after deployment. This makes sense because they must be able to effectively use the software to monitor and control operations for continuous improvement and to quickly troubleshoot to address and resolve problems for reduced downtime. Additionally, they expect assistance to efficiently train and onboard users with their system. At the end of the day, customers want to know the vendor cares about them and the relationship they establish when they invest in a SCADA.

ICONICS and its distributors understand this important customer dynamic and have built their businesses by this principle. Recently, one such distributor, Heptagon ApS in Denmark, took time to reflect on this topic with us. Heptagon wants their customers to have both quick and long-term success with ICONICS products and knows that a key to this success is investing in ICONICS Global Tech Support and Services Program, commonly known as SupportWorX.

To learn more about Heptagon’s approach to supporting customers with SupportWorX and why this is essential to project and operational success, we talked to the company’s owner Henrik Clausen.

But before we get into Henrik’s justification for ICONICS’ tech support and software maintenance plan, it makes sense to give you a bit of context about his background and experience and how he started Heptagon.

A Bit of Context about Henrik Clausen & Heptagon ApS

Henrik founded Heptagon in the mid-1980s, doing IT consulting work while studying at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Henrik finished his Master of Science degree in engineering in 1991 and started work as a software developer. He then worked as an IT manager for a couple of companies in the pharmaceutical industry before working with the more data-driven operations of digital transformation, SCADA, and its related software.

While he was working with a former ICONICS distributor in Denmark, the 2010 financial crisis hit, so the company had to cut activities including ICONICS’ distribution and support. At that time, Henrik made an agreement with ICONICS to have Heptagon take over distribution of ICONICS software in Denmark and the Faroe Islands. Initially, Heptagon’s focus was on smart buildings. However, over the years, they have developed strong relationships with industrial customers as well.

Heptagon’s Perspective on the Value of ICONICS Global Tech Support & Services Plan

Now you know some context about Henrik and Heptagon; let’s see what he has to say about ICONICS’ SupportWorX plans and the related benefits.

What’s your approach to discussing ICONICS tech support and software maintenance plans with customers?

Well, ICONICS provides excellent and proven tech support and software maintenance. And we know that many vendors do not have good tech support. I ask potential customers about their experience with the tech support offered by other vendors, and they often say they are unhappy with it. Because of this, I talk about ICONICS quality and comprehensive support upfront. And I always encourage potential customers to ask existing ICONICS customers about their experience with the support as I know they will say it is excellent.

I also let the potential customer know that if we as distributors are going in on an application with them, we will be there for them and help them. We have a mutual interest in supporting them, and it is important to us that our customers are successful once the software is installed, and operations are up and running. As I said, we have a mutual interest in supporting them. Their success is our success.

Why should customers invest in SupportWorX?

The end customer should know what’s in it for them, which lets them know why they should pay for this support annually. And I think it's a fair question. It is voluntary whether end customers want a support agreement with ICONICS, but we strongly recommend that they have one. And I tell them that they get a lot of value for their money.

For example, the end customer support agreement includes the following:

  • Help from the highly trained staff of the ICONICS support center to solve design and configuration concerns with the software. In many cases, this involves specific help with how the software is applied to their operations. (24x7 access to these resources is an optional component of the plan.)
  • Assistance with analyzing configuration and performance issues and recommendations on the best way to configure the software to achieve operational needs.
  • Access to a wealth of information through ICONICS’ knowledge base to be able to troubleshoot their systems on their own and to learn how to apply additional features they don’t currently use to increase the value obtained from their systems.
  • Access to the latest releases of the software. This is critical as Microsoft and other infrastructure providers are constantly providing updates and changes to the underlying operating systems, both to bring new technology as well as to battle constant security threats. Having access to new SCADA software updates that are compatible with critical updates is crucial to assuring continued operation.
  • Access to new features and innovations for the products to bring additional value to existing installations.

Moreover, the end customer’s support agreement is often leveraged by their system integrator to find solutions for development or operational tasks. Here, the system integrator can get online support from ICONICS to help with their customer’s installation.

And to reiterate, with ICONICS’ tech support plans, customers have access to the company’s extensive expertise and experience which helps to prevent and/or minimize downtime. If a company is having operational issues, they can quickly ask for technical support to troubleshoot and therefore resolve the problem. This minimizes downtime which in turn saves a great deal of headaches and money.

What else should customers consider when deciding on this plan and working with ICONICS and its distributors?

Having ICONICS tech support is also a safety net for our customers. Their operations teams know they will get help if they have a problem. And as a distributor, I provide tech support for how to design a solution and offer advice on what products to use for each customer's application.

I am their first line of support since I can answer many of their questions right away. But we also often turn to ICONICS, especially the ICONICS European support team, for more help. And I cannot stress enough how well this approach works in resolving issues.

What if a customer does not have the plan?

Heptagon has very few customers that decide not to have a support plan, and they're typically not closely engaged with a system integrator. It is truly unfortunate if those customers encounter issues with their system or operations and need immediate help.

If some problem occurs and the customer does not have a support agreement, then we must get a plan in place – which includes ‘catch up’ fees - before we can help. This circumstance usually results in at least a few days of delay, but it sometimes can be more, which is extremely costly on many levels. This is a situation that customers truly want to avoid.

ICONICS & Their Distributors Stand by SupportWorX

As mentioned above: Investing in a SCADA system is a serious and substantial undertaking for any company. ICONICS and its distributors like Heptagon understand this and take every step to ensure that our customers have the highest quality products and the highest quality of service and tech support.

The purpose of SupportWorX is to ensure the smooth, safe, and optimal performance of ICONICS’ technology by providing customer support, addressing queries, troubleshooting problems, providing software updates and security patches, and more. Clearly, SupportWorX is crucial to project and operational success.

No matter what, customers can trust that ICONICS and their distributors have their backs. In fact, we both stand by SupportWorX as the absolute best tech support and software maintenance plan we can provide. After all, our customers’ success is our success.

Learn more about ICONICS software maintenance and tech support plans through our newly revised SupportWorX Guide

Some More Interesting Facts about Henrik & His Family Business

Henrik was born in an agricultural environment in the northern part of Denmark. He has been fascinated by electrical equipment ever since he was a child, and it was clear to him that he wanted to become an engineer. When he was 19 years old, he moved to the Copenhagen area to study engineering. He met his wife at this time, and since she had a passion for horses, they bought a farm to breed horses. Henrik enjoys the work around a farm especially because there is always a need to maintain, rebuild, and modernize with a bit of automation, which is his forte.

These days, Heptagon is a family business. His wife Laila and 2 children Marc and Sarah work part time for the company. Laila and Sarah stay on top of the website and social media presence and manage events and other aspects of the business while Marc is engaged in more technical work to take advantage of his engineering skills.