In recent years, the proliferation of large numbers of microcomputers has greatly changed the requirements for user support. Companies which have historically had strong centralized mainframe computer staffs are now required to support users in ways which were not necessary in the past. In mainframe systems, user support is usually limited to help in running programs and occasional hardware repairs. As microcomputers have spread throughout the workplace, support must now be expanded to include software and hardware distribution and installation, as well as training for a greatly expanded user community. The petroleum industry is a unique case in the user support problem, particularly for exploration and production companies. The normal support problems are complicated by the need to put computing assets in remote locations, often with hostile environments. The user community will often span a wide range of educational experience and computer experience. This paper discusses several concepts involved in developing a microcomputer user support strategy in the petroleum industry.

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