Is remote support good enough?

We've just lost the first sale (that we know of) due to staff in a pharmaceutical warehouse in Africa deciding that they didn't trust our ability to support mSupply from another country.
After we got over the depression, we thought that explaining a little of how we support clients, and our record of keeping systems running, might help for the future…


  • Remote control: we use a product called LogMeIn to give us access to a client's server (with their prior permission of course). As long as a server is on and has an internet connection, we can use this to:
    • Monitor how the server is running.
    • Install updates and new features if requested.
    • Install custom reports that the client orders.
    • Take a backup of client data (with client approval)
  • Email: We usually answer emails pretty promptly. if the solution is complex, we'll produce a detailed pictorial guide too
*Skype: We can use Skype text chat or voice to help clients step through issues.


  • We have had mSupply servers running in other countries since 2002. Only once has a server failed, and that was due to a hard disk failure. Once the hard disk was replaced, we were able to use remote control to reinstall the software and they were up and running the next day after the hardware was repaired.
  • mSupply logs each startup and shutdown, so we're able to see if a server is behaving wrongly, and alert client to the problem. The most common problem is that servers are not sufficiently protected against power outages.
  • If you're considering an mSupply installation and you need more convincing, do email or phone us for more information.
  1. You will be surprised that most people are still wary about remote support. Here in Kenya, i know of at least one firm which liked mSupply but the idea that there is no physical support presence (office in kenya), they went for a competitor. It will surely take us in Africa a lot of time and convincing to embrace IT technology.

    A bank also did the same for a major banking software untill the firm had to open a physical office!

    — Hassan Morowa · Oct 5, 12:27 pm · #

  2. Hassan,
    you’re right: we will lose sales because of this. However, we also want to keep the quality high, and we can’t do that if we have offices in countries that don’t provide the standard of support that we want to give.
    If and when we find local staff who are really passionate about mSupply, then we’ll reconsider.

    Craig · Oct 20, 11:46 am · #

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