Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tips to get most out of IBM Support

I am sure many of you might already worked with IBM support to resolve problems related to the product , but here are some tips that you can follow to effectively reduce the problem resolution time and ease the process.

1) If you suspect if the problem is product related, start by opening a service request or PMR (Problem Management Record) either through online or by calling the IBM Support 1-800-IBM-SERV. You might need a IBM customer number.

2) Start with a simple description of the problem when you open a PMR.

3) Make sure you provide a clear description in such a way it represents the problem area so that your PMR gets assigned to the right team as there are several teams with different specialization within the same product , so that you will save time by getting the problem assigned to the correct team. If you know the team before hand then specify the team queue in the PMR.

4) Specify mode of communication in the PMR either by email or phone. If you think the problem is complex and need some explanation to do, then specify phone call back so that IBM support representative can call back and understand the problem, if you think the problem something trivial a little description in the PMR would make them understand then specify email.

5) Collect MustGather documents either manually or using http://www-01.ibm.com/software/support/isa/ IBM Support Assistant tool and then attach the the logs to PMR which will help in faster resolution to the PMR.

6) If possible, try to create a reproducible test case preferably outside to your custom application, so that IBM can use this test case to test it in the lab and provide a solution, Also it will also help to isolate that the problem is not related to your company's custom code or the environment.

7) Please use commonly used terminologies when updating the PMR or talking to IBM Support representative instead of the terminologies that you might use within your IT department as it might confuse the person handling the PMR as different companies use different ways to describe a problem. Clarify things if and when needed.

8) Specify the severity and priority in the PMR, Be reasonable and provide a business justification, set your expectations like when you need the next update and when the problem should be resolved, so that they can work towards it.

9) Please update the PMR with any new findings and updates as and when you come to know or also when you need progress updates from IBM.

10) Understand the escalation procedure and use it to escalate when things are not moving as reasonably expected.

11) Be friendly and appreciate the IBM Support representative work when problem gets resolved.

12) Follow the instructions from IBM even though it doesn't make sense sometimes , otherwise it would become a bottleneck to proceed to the next step in debugging the problem.

13) Besides doing all the above you can also self serve simultaneously by searching support knowledge base, infocenter , forums , etc, as there might be problems with an already known resolution.

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