Customer Appreciation Event Honors School’s Maintenance Department

The maintenance department of a school is rarely acknowledged publicly for a “job well done,” but the Open Options sales team, along with our partner GC&E, hosted a “Thank You” luncheon for the maintenance department of a large K-12 school district in the southeastern region of the United States to show appreciation for the work they do in the community. 

The school district has been an Open Options customer since 2015, and it currently uses DNA Fusion to secure more than three dozen schools and tens of thousands of students.   

“Our honoring a customer shows the level of partnership and relationship we have with our customers”. We’ve seen a significant increase in new & existing K-12 customers who are looking to add more security to their schools and classrooms,” said Charles Johnson, Southeast Regional Sales Manager at Open Options.

The customer appreciation event was a planned luncheon with the maintenance personnel at all levels from the school district. Maintenance helps support increasing the security of the school district. “They have done a great job over the past year, and we wanted to express our gratitude,” added Johnson.

Governor Kemp of Georgia recently announced a new grant program for public schools; each receiving $30,000 to improve security and safety in all public schools. The money received will help this large school district to add an additional 115 doors onto DNA Fusion in the next 9 months. 

The two-way relationship with Open Options makes securing K-12 worth appreciating. 

Customer‘s Frustration Roared until Professional Services Created Hakuna Matata-like User Satisfaction

Open Options Professional Services is accustomed to being proactive to help customers plan out implementations and solve complexities. But when one customer wasted 8 years being frustrated with DNA Fusion because they overlooked the value of Professional Services, the Open Options team got reactive to give the customer a problem-free, no-worry experience with DNA Fusion.

Prior to receiving Open Options’ assistance, the customer was furious. They were not getting the support from the dealer that they felt they needed to use DNA Fusion. They felt the software did not meet their needs. Reports were not working, and the software was not configured correctly. After nearly a decade of using it, the customer was gearing up to throw DNA Fusion out the door – or in their case, out of nearly 300 doors across the organization’s facilities in multiple states.

Undeterred, Professional Services swooped in to resolve the issues. John Hubbard, National Sales Engineer, was the Open Options rep who went on site. He quickly discovered that the customer was not aware of some key features that were available to them. It turned out that the dealer had not provided adequate support, and the users had never been trained on all the functionality, while the customer had underestimated the need for Professional Services to be involved.

Hubbard explained the actions he took. “I analyzed their database and helped them get the database to a size that would help DNA Fusion run faster. Once the application was running more smoothly, I found out that they were unable to run reports on the DNA Fusion clients, and I was able to resolve this issue for them. Once these issues were resolved, the customer realized that Open Options goes the extra mile to help them.”

One of the biggest issues for them was how hard it was to find doors at certain locations because the controllers were not listed together under the hardware tree; they were sorted by address. “Once I showed them how to sort them by hardware name, the customer was extremely happy. This makes it easier for them to find the various doors on their system,” he added.

Because of Open Options Professional Services, the customer learned to quickly run different information-ready reports; how to create door groups for different locations; how to add buttons to a tool bar for quick access to open doors and run direct commands for things such as a lockdown, and how they have the ability to show door status and control doors, as well as show when hardware is in alarm mode.

The impact of Professional Services to create a problem-free experience (hakuna matata-like) resulted in not only the customer reversing their decision to throw DNA Fusion out, but also doubling-down on loving DNA Fusion like never before, having a new confidence in the system, and seeing Professional Services in a totally new light. 

Ninja Course Brings Out the Best in Open Options Tech Support

The mystery of why the access control system was having problems at an entertainment center with full-scale “ninja course” and laser tag was baffling the end-user customer, who could not get sufficient support from their dealer and was left stranded. Concerned that “little ninjas” (children playing the games) would be running around the building with doors having issues, the customer called Open Options Tech Support, who answered the call and sprang into action with ninja-like speed, precision, and alacrity.

Jose Charco, a technical support expert at Open Options, listened carefully to the customer explain the problems: new employees couldn’t access the system; the hardware was offline, and DNA Fusion was down. Since the customer was not a part of our Connect Care program, they technically were supposed to go through their dealer for support. In this emergency, they were unable to contact their dealer so Open Options put the customer first. “We always assist in doing what we can to get a customer back online,” said Nicholas Robran, Technical Support Manager at Open Options.

The customer, whose five-door system consisted of one main controller and two sub-controllers, called in with the initial issues of “Access Denied: Not in Card File” when his new employees were trying to get access. He also had “SSP COMM Failure = Timeout.” From Open Options’ command center, Jose accessed the system remotely and discovered the first issue.

“The customer had his DNA Fusion software on a Windows 10 Home OS. DNA Fusion is not supported on Windows 10 Home, as it does not include all the features necessary for a fully functioning system,” explained Robran. “The first step in addressing the issue was to get the end-users system on a supported OS. Jose got him to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.”

The next step was to get a service account setup on their system to ensure everything was running with the correct permissions. Jose walked him through that setup to make sure all the checks were in the box to ensure smooth operation in the future. Once that was done, Jose was able to launch DNA Fusion and get the driver connected and online.

Furthermore, Jose had the customer locate the controller and walked him through programming and doing a reset to ensure everything was correct on the controller side. Once completed, the controller updated and came online. Jose had him do a download on the controller and test his new employees’ credentials. He verified they were now getting “Access Granted” for new employees and ensured the controller and sub-controllers were online.

“The customer was extremely grateful for the support,” said Jose Charco – Technical Support Technician. “And he said he was going to reach out to get training from Open Options, so he could better understand his system in the future.”

No Need for DIY When Training Makes Improvement Painless

A large end-user customer with a household brand name had been having employees take a DIY approach to access control. It was a flop. Each department was making DNA Fusion function differently because of a lack of understanding, causing pain for colleagues in other departments at other locations. Training from Open Options was the answer to doing it themselves. 

Prior to training on DNA Fusion, one location thought they had to create new time schedules every time they needed to make a new access level, while another location was unaware that access levels could be adjusted. The customer needed help taking better control of DNA Fusion and using it to their full benefit, especially with customizing the software interface for specific operators and adding cardholders.

“Without a full understanding of the software, there was a lack of cohesiveness in changes that were being made to cardholders, access levels and time schedules,” said Brittany Tate, Technical Trainer at Open Options. “The employees were a mix of self-taught learners who were accustomed to a different software that was more limited than DNA Fusion. They were looking for a way to customize their access control software without causing confusion for other departments.”

The customer arranged for on-site training with an Open Options training specialist for five of their most involved users to take back to their individual departments and help spread the knowledge.

For example, they were previously accustomed to adding cardholders, but wanted more ways to categorize them. The Open Options trainer worked through numerous scenarios where they were able to add personnel groups and make custom fields more cohesive. She equipped these power users to prevent issues from occurring as well as doing more effective troubleshooting.

One participant said, “I’ve been in DNA Fusion for a few years, but I had not been taught how to use it properly. I’m actually learning stuff in this class that I can change right now." Another participant said, "Those drag and drop options are amazing. I never knew there were so many ways to assign access levels and even copy levels from one card to another. Open Options makes things easy."

Because of the training, those responsible for adding hardware and time schedules now understood how their descriptions impacted those responsible for access levels and personnel. Furthermore, learning about the option to add a card block was so well-received that one participant called it “a game changer for us.” 

Tate summed it up: “With the help of providing real-life scenarios, one-on-one attention and live equipment, Open Options Training was able to bridge the knowledge gap. By the end of class, everyone had a better understanding of how their department could work together to make DNA Fusion work best for them.”

How Is Technology Reshaping the Security Discussion for K-12 Schools?

Ben Vestal, our VP of Sales and Business Development, sat down with a few security professionals in the education world to discuss the changing security protocol for schools.

A shift is happening in the security industry because of a tighter alignment of technology and the human factor within K-12 school environments. It is evolving the security discussion for schools from traditional managed security to a new, thought-provoking stream of conversation around “managed freedom.”

Read the full article in the: September/ October issue of Security Technology Executive