In the UK we have approximately 80 Dedicated Support Engineers (DSE) constantly engaged in all sectors, from finance, to retail, to government.  If you are interested in healthy IT systems I firmly believe that DSE's are one of the most powerful services we offer.  In this post I will hopefully articulate why I believe DSE's can be such a valued asset.  I'll look at the following areas:

 

What Is a DSE?

A DSE is an experienced Microsoft engineer that engages deeply with your team to help you transform your IT.  Our engineers ensure your systems are  supportable, maintainable, optimised and that staff have the correct skills to support them. A DSE typically engages for a minimum of 3 months, is technology aligned and is an absolute subject matter expert in that technology.  We're not your usual consultants: our goal is to empower your team to transform your IT and then sustain it themselves.

 

What Does a DSE Deliver?

We want to empower your team to transform your IT.   This might seem a bit wishy-washy but this genuinely sums up the approach of a DSE.  We want to engage, help you deliver the projects and service improvements that you need, enable your staff and then disengage.  Every engagement is unique to the customer or project we are working with, and therefore defining a definitive list of what we do is hard.  However, the below list summaries some of the activities we regularly get involved in:

  1. Proactive supportability advice and guidance - Based on field experience and Microsoft best practice, we will help ensure that your systems are as healthy as possible.
  2. Comprehensive technical reviews - We can provide depth assessments of systems for supportability, performance and best working practice.
  3. Design supportability assurance - We can ensure that your design is supportable and in-line with best practice.
  4. Knowledge and skills transfer - We can work with your technology teams to ensure they have the skills to operate, support and maintain their systems effectively.
  5. A conduit to MS technical resources - Each DSE has a vast network of experts that can be utilised to provide answers to difficult questions.
  6. Initial assessment (and potential resolution) for reactive issues
  7. Acting as a catalyst for reactive issue resolution - Supporting Premier Support Engineers during reactive issues.

 

How Does a DSE Engage With You?

 

  The real value of a DSE is that an experienced subject matter expert can take the time to really understand your environment, work as a part of your extended team and help you transform it.  We engage in a variety of ways to fit  with the requirements that you have.

 

 Typically we will engage as either a dedicated resource or ½ dedicated resource.

  1. Dedicated Resource - This means the DSE will spend 4 days a week working with you. Typically 2-3 of these days would be on your site and 1-2 days would be remote.
  2. ½ Dedicated Resource - This means a DSE will spend 2 days a week working with you. Typically 1 day will be onsite and 1 day will be remote.

Customers often ask why we spend days working remotely.  The simple answer is we have found it to be the most effective way to deliver value to you as a customer.  During remote delivery days engineers will often: test problems in our labs, meet directly with Microsoft staff that can help you (e.g Product Support, Product Team), develop custom material to deliver to your staff when onsite, create required documentation etc.  I often find the busiest and most productive days are the ones I spend working for a customer remotely.

 

Does a DSE Bring Value?

Well of course I believe we do.  I thought rather than try and convince you I would share some feedback from other customers on our DSE's.

"I cannot praise our DSE enough, every customer should get one. The value he adds to the contract far exceeds the cost and results in many issues being resolved in advance of us being aware they even exist."

"Our DSE is a very intelligent chap. He knows AD inside out and has been very useful to us. He also knows his limitations so if he cannot answer a question he will not try to bluff, but will find out the answer from his network of resources quickly."

"Their technical experience is outstanding and coupled with their hugely impressive drive and determination it would be fair to say that I am extremely happy with the service these onsite engineers provide"

More DSE feedback from customers can be found on The Wall:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/mspremuk/archive/2010/12/14/the-wall.aspx

 

Example DSE Scenarios

Often the easiest way to understand how a DSE could be of value to you is look at other successful engagements.  Therefore we're going to publish a couple of example DSE engagements in a variety of scenarios.  So here they are:

I hope this was useful.  If you would like any more information about DSE's and how they could help you, contact your Technical Account Manager.  For some more information on the DSE service see this link: http://www.microsoft.com/microsoftservices/en/uk/support_premier_addons_dse.aspx

 

Thanks

Ben Pearce
Dedicated Support Engineer
Microsoft Premier Support UK