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Steps to get support for WebSphere Portal

Find answers and solve problems quickly and efficiently

developerWorks

Updated: August 2005

Whether you are a new user looking for basic information, or an experienced user looking for a specific workaround, you can benefit immediately from IBM's extensive Web-based support. Download fixes, search on keywords, find how-to information, and possibly solve a problem -- all before contacting IBM Software Support directly.

Follow these steps to get help with WebSphere Portal:

  1. Describe the problem.
  2. Determine if this situation has already been reported.
  3. Enroll in IBM Passport Advantage.
  4. Gather background information.
  5. Review your complete problem description
  6. Determine the business impact.
  7. Submit the problem to IBM Software Support.
  8. Submit technical questions to IBM Support.

After you have requested assistance:


To find answers and solve WebSphere Portal problems:

1. Describe the problem

Try to recreate the problem. Document the following:

  1. Steps you took to recreate the problem, and any symptoms or error messages you observe.
  2. Recent changes that have been made to your processing environment, such as hardware or software that has been added or removed.
  3. System configuration updates.

When you contact IBM Software Support, an accurate description helps ensure your problem is routed to the appropriate product specialist for a quicker resolution.


2. Determine if this situation has already been reported

The problem might already be documented and resolved, so check these product support resources to see if the answer you are looking for is available in these resources:

  1. Information Centers and Release Notes
    Information Centers provide fast, centralized access to WebSphere Portal product information, available in multiple languages and updated regularly. The problem might also be documented in the release notes and in the readme file which are also available from this link.

  2. WebSphere Portal support
    Access APARs, Technotes, fix packs and interim fixes, register to receive e-mail notifications about technical alerts or new downloads, and use an advanced search feature that searches all IBM knowledge bases, such as Redbooks and Information Centers. To get the most out of your search:
    • Click Search assistance for help on using these pages effectively.
    • Click Advanced search for this product to narrow your search to a particular component.
    • Search for multiple products by selecting Search all software support.


  3. MySupport
    Register to receive e-mail notification about critical issues, IBM product updates, and items of interest.

  4. Software and hardware prerequisites
    Verify the product release and major update requirements for the software you are running.
  5. developerWorks WebSphere Portal zone
    The gateway to WebSphere Portal technical information for developers and administrators, featuring:
    • Zones and roadmaps for specific products, in-depth technical articles, tutorials, white papers, and links to downloads, technical previews, and plug-ins.
    • Links to many WebSphere support pages.
    • Latest news on WebSphere products and offerings.

If you still need help, contact IBM Software Support

3. Enroll in IBM Passport Advantage (if you are not already enrolled)

Users with active IBM Passport Advantage® maintenance agreements can submit problems to IBM Software Support. IBM's software support strategy combines software subscription (upgrade protection) and remote technical support in a single, easy-to-buy feature included in the license acquisition for all distributed software products.


4. Gather background information

Our software specialists need all the relevant information about the problem to help you efficiently. Gathering the necessary information before calling for support will assist in providing you with the assistance needed to resolve the problem. Choose the appropriate worksheet from these available topics:






5. Review your complete problem description.

When you are preparing to explain a problem or posing a question to our software specialists, be as specific as possible. Include all relevant information from (Step 1 and everything you recorded on the worksheets in Step 4). Please prepare any relevant files, logs, screenshots or sample code for electronic delivery to your support representative.


6. Determine the business impact.

When you report a problem, you must assign a severity level to, so it is important to understand the business impact of the problem you are reporting. The following table displays the four different severity levels as defined by the Software Support Handbook:


IBM Software Support severity levels
Severity 1 Critical business impact: You are unable to use the program, resulting in a critical impact on operations. This condition requires an immediate solution.
Severity 2 Significant business impact: The program is usable but is severely limited.
Severity 3 Some business impact: The program is usable with less significant features (not critical to operations) unavailable.
Severity 4 Minimal business impact: The problem causes little impact on operations, or a reasonable circumvention to the problem has been implemented.


7. Submit the problem to IBM Software Support

You can contact IBM Software Support online:

For distributed users, provided you have already registered and have been added as an authorized caller, you can submit and track your request for assistance on the Web using the Electronic Service Request (ESR) problem submission tool. The ESR tool logs your problem into the IBM problem management system. When using the ESR tool, you can:

  • Open a Problem Management Record (PMR) online, describing the problem in your own words.
  • View and update your PMR using ESR, whether you submitted them online or by phone.
  • Describe software problems in your own words, with the amount of technical detail that is needed.
  • Receive e-mail notification when IBM updates your PMR record.
  • Run reports on your PMR, and get output in Microsoftr Excel or Lotusr 1-2-3r spreadsheet format.
  • Get help with the ESR tool by contacting esrhelpdesk@us.ibm.com.

Submit an IBM Electronic Service Request (ESR)

You can also contact IBM by phone. Refer to the IBM software support contacts page for phone numbers that service your location.

When a software defect, documentation error, or documentation gap is identified, an Authorized Program Analysis Report (APAR) will be created by IBM Software Support, describing the problem in detail, along with any necessary diagnostic documentation that you might be asked to provide.

  • Whenever possible, IBM Software Support will provide a workaround for you to implement until the APAR has been resolved and a fix has been delivered.
  • Due to complexities of the environments supported, it might take several weeks to debug, write, test, package, and distribute a fix.
  • For distributed platforms, beginning with V5, WebSphere Portal announces an updated strategy for delivering cumulative fixes.

Closed APARs are published to the WebSphere Portal and related product support pages daily, so customers experiencing similar problems can benefit from the same resolutions.


8. Submit technical questions to IBM Support

If you cannot find the information you need, we will help you. We can help with WebSphere Portal-specific, task-oriented questions in the following areas:

  • Usage and installation of documented functions.
  • Product compatibility and interoperability.
  • Technical references to publications.
  • Locating product publications.
  • Configuration samples.
  • Planning information for software fixes.

Use the PMR process described in step 7 to submit any questions.


Support will create an APAR if a product defect has been identified

When a software defect, documentation error, or documentation gap is identified, an Authorized Program Analysis Report (APAR) will be created, describing the problem in detail, along with any necessary diagnostic documentation that you might be asked to provide.

  • Whenever possible, IBM Software Support will provide a workaround for you to implement until the APAR has been resolved and a fix has been delivered.
  • Due to complexities of the environments supported, it might take several weeks to debug, write, test, package, and distribute a fix.

Closed APARs are published to the WebSphere Portal Support page often, so customers experiencing similar problems can benefit from the same resolutions.



Give us feedback on the support process

IBM Software Support is committed to providing superlative customer service and we want your feedback. We monitor responses obtained through customer pop-up surveys and from feedback mechanisms at every step in the process to determine how we are doing and ways to improve your support experience. Please take advantage of these facilities to tell us what you think.

If you need to escalate a PMR:

  1. Escalate through IBM Software Support.
    • Regional Support Contacts - Americas:
      • Need to talk to support during the weekend?
        Call Support (1-800-IBM-SERV) and ask for the Duty Programmer (24x7 availability). Then,
      • Having trouble getting a PMR resolved satisfactorily?
        Call Support (1-800-IBM-SERV) and ask for the Duty Manager (24x7). Then,
      • Need to escalate further?
        Call Support (1-800-IBM-SERV) and ask for the second-line support manager for the product.
    • Regional Support Contacts - EMEA: Software support in EMEA is handled at the local or country level. Refer to the IBM Software Support Country Contact Web site for a list of phone numbers (24x7).

  2. Contact your IBM Representative.
    • If IBM Support and the Complaint Management processes have been engaged and were unable to resolve the problem, contact your IBM Representative.
    • If necessary, your IBM Representative can open a complaint for you.

If you need to reopen a PMR/Incident/Support Case:

  • If the recommendations provided to you fail to satisfy the requirements, you can reopen the PMR/Incident/Support Case by calling your local support center and referencing the original PMR/Incident/Support Case number. For IBM PMRs, this must be done within 28 days of original closing date.

Engage IBM Software Services for WebSphere

Deepen your WebSphere knowledge, expand your skills, and apply best practices with expert assistance from IBM Software Services for WebSphere. The mission of this team of product specialists, who have access to product development and support personnel, is to accelerate the use of WebSphere technologies by customers, IBM Global Services and Business Partners. As an integral part of all software sales, IBM Software Services for WebSphere provides worldwide support for WebSphere products through a set of services that make it easy to design, build, test and deploy applications for e-business. Together with the WebSphere Training and Technical Enablement team, they can also help structure an education program that is right for you.


Related information

More documentation and educational resources:


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