Gateway updates overseas service

Gateway Inc. has updated a set of services that will help federal users of Gateway products outside the United States get faster support and reduce downtime.

Gateway relaunched its support services outside the continental United States (OCONUS) this month to provide better technical support and replacement services to information technology support personnel and Gateway users at 40 installations, said Dan Ludwick, director of service development and marketing for Gateway Business.

The enhancements include:

Toll-free tech-support phone numbers in more than 30 countries. The toll-free service will start in February. A dedicated group of specialists to serve the federal government outside the continental United States. CD-ROMs for information and training. Logistics programs to expedite the replacement of parts. Because most federal users, particularly in the Defense Department, already have tech support personnel on-site, Gateway is giving them the tools, training and information to diagnose and fix problems themselves, Ludwick said. The services can be used for Gateway's entire product line of desktops, portable computers and servers.

Gateway will provide private Web pages with links to Gateway's electronic support information and other Web sites. Those private sites will enable federal workers to download diagnostic tools, chat with Gateway tech support and undergo training on their own time, Ludwick said.

"It gives a good tool set for the support folks and also a mechanism for the end users so they can access us more easily," said Matt Roskuski, Gateway Business senior manager of service product marketing.

In the next phase of upgrades to OCONUS support, Gateway plans to produce information cards with key phone numbers and Web addresses that users can carry when they are away from IT support personnel, he said.

Gateway also has partnered with Unisys Corp. for on-site dispatch and labor around the world to replace parts, he said. If replacement parts are not on-site, they can be received in about three days from Gateway's distribution centers in Sioux Falls, S.D.; Melaka, Malaysia; and Dublin, Ireland, Ludwick said.

"More than anything else, we have strung together our design and built a program of elements that existed previously and added new elements such as the private OCONUS Web site, e-support functions and reference tools," Ludwick said.

Gateway also plans to invest in voice-over-Internet Protocol for tech support, to help avoid unreliable telephony services overseas, he said.

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