Symantec admits to customer support woes

The company is having problems with support for its Veritas email archiving product, but says it is a victim of its own success

Symantec has admitted it's falling down on customer support for its email archiving product.

The security services provider has been experiencing difficulties in support for Enterprise Vault, a data management product picked up in its acquisition of Veritas Software, chief executive John Thompson told attendees at the company's annual Vision customer conference in San Francisco on Monday.

"We have struggled to ramp resources in support of the enterprise archiving product," Thompson said, responding to a question from a disgruntled customer. "It's not anything to do with funding issues, but finding the necessary skills in our support centres."

"In a way, we were victims of our own success — our product has taken off faster than we can train enough support operatives. This is being addressed through more training," Thompson added.

Before it was bought by Symantec, Veritas acquired the Enterprise Vault technology through its September 2004 purchase of KVault Software. The product provides automatic archiving and other data management for companies that use Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, SMTP or Sharepoint.

Thompson pledged that Symantec would work on the Enterprise Vault problem. "We will fix it," he told Vision attendees.

The customer who raised the issue, Leon Combs, works for Virginia-based Inova Health Systems, which provides IT support for health services.

Combs told ZDNet UK that the problem he encountered lies in archiving from the journal mailbox. Under normal operating circumstances, the journal mailbox creates a copy of every email sent and received, and archives the copies automatically. The issue led to a temporary breakdown in archiving, he said.

Symantec is continuing to promote its merger with Veritas as successful, but it acknowledged Monday at a meeting with reporters that the company doesn't have its ducks in a row yet on customer service and support.

Thompson said he doubted Symantec "could get to a point where customers are totally satisfied" with Symantec and Veritas product issues.

"We're a long ways from addressing these, to the extent that customers are going to be totally satisfied," Thompson said. "This is a little bit like on the employee opinion survey, it asks the question if you like your salary. How many of you answer that 'yes'?"

CNET's Joris Evers contributed to this report.