Dec 05, 2000

Seagate SeaTools Delivers 85 Percent Drop in Unnecessary Disc Drive Returns

Seagate Technology reported today that customers who use SeaTools diagnostic software have seen a dramatic decrease in unnecessary returns of healthy disc drives, saving time, money and the precious data stored on the drives. SeaTools has reduced returns of healthy disc drives by a whopping 85 percent among these customers. Before Seagate introduced SeaTools, almost 40 percent of all returned drives turned out to be healthy, with "No Problem Found." SeaTools has helped customers find the true source of system problems often mistakenly attributed to the disc drive - helping to protect customers' data and avoiding the expense and hassle of returning a healthy disc drive.

Resellers understand the value of reducing product returns. A misdiagnosis costs everyone - resellers, end users and PC makers alike. The cost of misdiagnosis can extend far past the disc drive itself to encompass the cost of the system returned. With in-person service calls costing approximately $150 each, many companies are looking for automated, self-service oriented means of reducing service costs.

SeaTools serves as a first line of defense in a reseller's return procedures. It shrinks the cost of shipping and tracking returned drives, speeds the solution when diagnosing a system problem, and increases customer satisfaction by keeping a good drive in the customer's system. Service departments and technical support groups use SeaTools to screen drives before going through the Returned Materials Authorization (RMA) procedure, further streamlining operations and reducing overhead.

Bell Micro Latin America uses SeaTools to keep operational drives in-country - a benefit that goes straight to the bottom line when complex customs regulations add exponential time and expense to the RMA process. "Moving product between countries in Latin America can be a nightmare. SeaTools provides us with an accurate and time-effective way to identify system issues while reducing drive returns," said Mike Mashin, director of engineering for BMLA. "We used Seagate's excellent training materials to teach our channel partners how to implement SeaTools. Now, our customers are using SeaTools to screen all their drives - including brands other than Seagate's - before they start the returns process."

Megahaus, a Houston-based reseller, offers SeaTools as a download from its website. "Our tech support staff relies on SeaTools to help us reduce returns. It's a win-win situation for our customers, for Seagate and for us," said Tim Briggs, vice president of marketing for Megahaus. "We encourage customers to use SeaTools as a first line of defense whenever they're experiencing system issues."

SeaTools is now available in several versions that meet the specific needs of Seagate reseller customers. The standard Seagate-branded SeaTools provides the consumer with Seagate technical support and return information. A second SeaTools version appears to the end-user as an unbranded product and refers the customer to the appropriate reseller or PC manufacturer for return procedures. The new SeaTools ATA Depot can test up to 16 drives at a time on a properly equipped PC test station. Finally, the STrun version allows batch testing of larger quantities of drives in a workbench environment.

SeaTools is easy to use and works quickly. When a user suspects a problem with a PC system or hard drive, the customer runs SeaTools from a floppy drive. SeaTools requires just a few keystrokes from the user and no technical knowledge. In just two minutes, SeaTools runs a full array of tests, checking for data compiled by Seagate's SMART and Enhanced Drive Self Test diagnostics. SeaTools points out the source of any problems, and goes beyond simple diagnosis to suggest corrective actions. If the disc drive proves to be functioning normally, SeaTools suggests how to work through many OS, file system, partitioning and other system issues. If data was lost, SeaTools provides helpful tips for recovering that information.

SeaTools is superior to many other diagnostic tools because it works independently of system software - it can do its work even when the system has crashed. It works with all current and legacy ATA and SCSI drives - even other manufacturers' drives. By providing SeaTools as well as Seagate's unique SeaShell packaging, which has reduced returns of damaged product by as much as 70 percent, Seagate has successfully attacked the two major causes of drive returns.

SeaTools is easily accessed via Seagate's always-open Web support. Seagate's expansive Web support system includes a fully automated RMA process, Diagnostics for Disc and Tape products, Self-guided Troubleshooting Checklists, DiscWizard Installation Software, Q&A Email Forum, Multi-language Email Pre-sales and Technical Support, Customer Satisfaction Surveys, and complete historical product line support. Also on the Web, the Seagate Partner Program provides interactive product training, customized email information delivery, selling strategies, promotions, customer success stories, technical papers and other sales, marketing and customer service tools.

Seagate is the world's leading provider of Internet Infrastructure storage technology. The Company's products include disc drives for Enterprise applications, PCs and Consumer Electronics, Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions and Server Appliances. Seagate's market leadership is based on delivering award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.

Seagate, Seagate Technology, SeaTools, SeaShell and DiscWizard are registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.