How to work with Rational Client Support: Part 2

Find out what the technical support that you get when you license Rational software includes and doesn't, plus what to do before you call tech support. This article even includes a handy chart to help you determine the business impact and severity or your issue.


Kelly Smith (, Rational Client Support, IBM

author photoKelly Smith is a self-described “knowledge activist” with the Rational Client Support organization who works out of the IBM Mass Lab in Littleton, Massachusetts. Obsessed with knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and proactive support, she is one of the voices behind the "Notes from Rational Support" developerWorks blog. You can reach her on Twitter @kellypuffs.

30 August 2011

Also available in Russian

Rational Client Support provides world-class technical support for our clients who are entitled to it through their purchases of Rational software maintenance agreements. These agreements are governed by the IBM International Program License Agreement (IPLA) Product Support Lifecycle Policy to deliver consistent and predictable support availability.

If you buy regular software Subscription & Support ("maintenance") for your Rational products, IBM delivers standard product technical support. It is available for at least five years, starting at the planned availability of a product.

IBM also offers an optional fee-based support extension for up to three additional years/ This extension is broadly referred to as a "5 plus 3" policy.

What you get from support

  • Online technical support, including enhanced self-help and search capabilities
  • Voice and electronic access to either report defects or ask questions with a 2 hour response goal
  • Voice support for new product deployments, migrations, and code-related questions
  • Fast problem resolution by phone for all situations that you decide are severity 1. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no extra cost
  • Remote problem determination and resolution during normal country business hours
  • Online problem status reports and management
  • No limits on the number of IT professionals who can call
  • Worldwide infrastructure: support in most native languages & time zones
  • Industry standards (ITIL) recommended 'incident management methodology' for all levels of Support (Kepner-Tregoe Resolve)
  • Ongoing customer communications on problem submissions
  • Assistance with understanding documentation
  • Assistance with gathering and analyzing traces and core dumps
  • Installation, usage, and base product configuration assistance. For example, product compatibility and interoperability
  • Configuration samples, if available
  • Technical database searches
  • Proactive notification of important information through My Notifications

What we do not provide

Yes, there are limits to what we can provide with a standard support contract. The following services are not provided:

  • On-site support
  • Network design
  • Support for products past their end of support (EOS) date
  • Analysis of customer programs or custom code (For example: applications, APIs, etc.)
  • Data or database design and recovery
  • Diagnosis & analysis of non-IBM products
  • Application or 3rd party product integration help
  • Performance and tuning

How to find technical support information

As mentioned in my previous article, we spend a lot of time and attention on our electronic support client experience. Our goal is to provide a vibrant, up-to-date, searchable, findable corpus of technical knowledge to help you to find the answers you need.

Find information through your favorite search engine, or visit our award-winning IBM Support Portal. In either case, when you find the information you need, we would also appreciate your feedback on that content, so we can ensure we are meeting your needs.

If you cannot find the information you need, contact us to open a problem management record (PMR).

Before contacting support

There are a few things you should do and gather before contacting support. This will help us help you get the answers you need as quickly as possible.

  • Have your ICN (IBM customer number) ready. This bit is very important.
  • Define the problem. Be specific; include the error messages, if any.
  • Gather the following background information:
    • Software version numbers
    • Version numbers for the operating systems
    • Patches or fixes that you've installed, if applicable
    • Information about whether this problem has happened before
    • Steps to recreate the problem, if possible
    • Information about recent changes in the environment
  • Consult the "Must-Gather" document, if available for the product. Must Gather documents outline the diagnostic information (For example, core dumps, traces, screenshots) that can help speed up the resolution of your issue. Here is an example of a Must-Gather document for Rational Application Developer:
  • Determine the business impact & assign severity

Determine business impact and severity

Figure 1 is a handy chart that will help you determine the business impact and severity of your issue.

Figure 1. A chart to classify business impact and problem severity
business impact chart

Text view of Figure 1.

How to contact Rational Client Support

We provide several ways for you to reach us: electronically, via email, or by phone.


IBM Service Request (SR) The Service Request tool is a consolidated, customizable, online problem management for clients with valid software and networking support contracts.

With the Service Request tool you can: open, update and track PMRs; attach troubleshooting files; and monitor service request activity with customized reports.



1-800-IBM-SERV (1-800-426-7378) option 2,1,6 (North America)
List of global numbers

How to exchange data with IBM Rational Support

To diagnose or identify a problem, it is sometimes necessary to provide technical support with data and information from your system. In addition, technical support might also need to provide you with tools or utilities to be used in problem determination

For information about exchanging data with technical support, review this technote from IBM Electronic Support.

What to do if you are not satisfied

If you are not satisfied with the service you receive, you have several options:

  • Ask the engineer to raise the severity level of the problem.
  • Call Rational Client Support at 1.800.IBM.SERV and ask for a "Duty Manager". At any given time, there is a Duty Manager on call to assist as required.
  • Escalate the issue through your Software Sales Representative. Ask him or her to consider opening a complaint or a critical situation.

Get more from support

Check out the IBM Accelerated Value Program!

This program delivers a proactive, cost-reducing, and productivity enhancing advisory service. The program pairs you with an assigned team who builds a foundational understanding of your overall environment. Through that understanding, the trusted partner works to facilitate faster deployment, lifecycle leadership, risk mitigation, and more by identifying ways to improve your environment, staff skill set, and processes.



  • IBM Support Portal: Single, unified and centralized view of all technical support tools and information, covering all IBM products
  • developerWorks: Premier technical community resource for software developers, providing a wide range of tools, code, and education
  • IBM Education Assistant: IBM Education Assistant is a collection of multimedia educational modules designed to help you gain a better understanding of IBM software products and use them more effectively to meet your business requirements.
  • IBM Software Support Handbook: Worldwide numbers, escalation options, support processes
  • IBM Support Assistant (ISA): Free local software serviceability workbench that helps you resolve questions and problems with IBM software
  • IBM Passport Advantage: Acquire new IBM software licenses, renew maintenance, and technical support
  • Service Request (SR): Submit and manage Problem Management Records (PMRs) on demand: 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year
  • IBM Publication Center: Provides customer searching for IBM manuals and documentation.

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ArticleTitle=How to work with Rational Client Support: Part 2