Ok, it's the "Thoughts from Information Management Support" blog. Somehow "the Thunderdome" seemed more exciting...
On the other hand, this blog will benefit you in working with your IBM Information Management products (unlike a steel cage match to the death - yikes!).
In coming weeks, we'll deliver information to you regarding ways that we can help you, ways that you can help yourself, and hopefully in the process we'll help each other by getting to know each other better.
The Magical Mystery Tour is waiting to take you away!
(maybe that's an overstatement, too)
How about this: Join in, follow along, and we'll try and make the trip a good one!
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For Information Management Support, it is.
Throughout 2009, a tremendous amount of time and effort went into shifting Information Management Support teams to using a Knowledge-Centered Support, or KCS, model. I hear you asking "KCS, what does that mean?" The basic premise: if information is useful to resolve one problem or question, then it's probably good for other problems or questions as well. Easy enough? Well, it's a little more complicated behind the scenes, but that's our problem - you only need to reap the benefits!
Our implementation of KCS is essentially that when we have useful information, we reuse it. If we can't find it, we write it down. We are constantly shuffling through our content to see if we have the right information available, creating it if we can't find it, improving it when necessary, and making it available when it proves useful. Your online information will just keep getting better and better with every question we answer or problem we solve!
We have also made a significant investment in "targeted" content - information on certain topics and in particular formats that will help you in very specific ways - understanding fixes that are available, information to collect when you experience a problem, how to perform a task, guides to information around a topic, etc. In the coming weeks, we will be highlighting the information that we're creating and sharing with you - what it is, when it's useful, how to use it, tools to find it, etc.
Stay tuned! The Hits just keep on coming!
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First off - time flies when you're having blog! I turned around to do a weekly update, and it's been a month. Ouch! Let's try and get together more often!
So, what to talk about? Let's pick up where we left off - the documentation that IBM Information Management support is putting together for you!
Let's start with the documents that get the most traffic - "fix" documents. There are a number of kinds of documents related to "fixes", so let's try and sort some of them out:
APARs are "Authorized Program Analysis Reports", but basically you can call them problems, defects, bugs, issues, sometimes features requests, etc. In general, they document something that should be fixed or changed for a specific product, most often for a specific version. Each APAR documents a single issue. When you are having a problem and go looking around for a solution, you might find your problem or error documented in an APAR document, such as: http
When you are looking at an APAR that is already fixed (like the one above), you'll see a link to the document that describes the Fix or the Fix Pack where the APAR is fixed. (Checking Thesaurus now for another word for "fix" before I go nuts here.... How about "where the APAR is corrected"? (Ah, better.) Following the link in the APAR above, you get to this Fix Pack document: http The Fix List document for the Fix Pack described above is here: http Some products also offer Recommended Fixes, which can be individual APAR fixes or Fix Packs that support feels it would be beneficial for you to have. So... you have a problem: Or, you want to keep up with updates to your product: We're busy busy busy making sure that you have the documentation to find the information you are looking for - we hope that our Fix information works for you! Coming up: Fix Central (and more work for my thesaurus!)
The Fix List document for the Fix Pack described above is here: http
Some products also offer Recommended Fixes, which can be individual APAR fixes or Fix Packs that support feels it would be beneficial for you to have.
So... you have a problem:
Or, you want to keep up with updates to your product: We're busy busy busy making sure that you have the documentation to find the information you are looking for - we hope that our Fix information works for you! Coming up: Fix Central (and more work for my thesaurus!)
We're busy busy busy making sure that you have the documentation to find the information you are looking for - we hope that our Fix information works for you!
Coming up: Fix Central (and more work for my thesaurus!)
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Get Your Fix
"Fixes" provide changes to your software that address known problems or add new functionality. Last post, we talked about the various kinds of "Fix" documents: APARs, Fix Pack, Fix Lists, and Recommended Fixes. In most cases, these documents will lead you to where you can "get your fix". One of those outlets is Fix Central: http
In Fix Central, you can search, select, order, and download fixes to your system with a choice of delivery options:
Anyone can access unrestricted fixes. However, some fixes are protected through entitlement and export control. In this case, you need to have a valid Passport Advantage (PPA). However, even with a valid PPA contract, there can be delays when you need maintenance if you don't have a valid online ID. Be sure that you are registered properly by going to this web page: http
Check out Fix Central and get acquainted!
Next up: Collecting data (thank goodness, no more "fix"!)
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The Power of CollectingYour IBM software isn't working as you expected it to, so you're ready to call IBM Support to get the help you need. Before you pick up the phone, search the IBM knowledge base and see if there is a Collecting Data document related to your situation.
Collecting data documents (formerly MustGather documents) aid in
problem determination and save time resolving problems by explaining
what information needs to be gathered before calling IBM.
Collecting data documents are an extension of the natural
problem-solving process that IBM Support pursues. They assume that a
problem or situation has been recognized and information must be
collected for further investigation. Often, during the process of
collecting data related to a problem, the nature of the problem, and
often the solution, becomes apparent. Therefore, Collecting Data
documents serve two purposes:
Here are some popular Collecting Data documents:
Begin your collection today!
Next up: Analyzing data
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Analyze This!Let's continue last week's scenario: your IBM software isn't working as you expected it to, but instead of calling IBM right away, you found an appropriate Collecting Data document. You've collected the data, but wait--there is still one more step you can take before you pick up that phone. You can return to the IBM knowledge base and find an Analyzing Data document related to your situation.
Analyzing Data documents explain how to analyze the data captured in the Collecting Data document. They document the best practices that IBM tech support follows for leveraging the collected data to quickly identify the root cause and take appropriate action. They also suggest tools that you can use to analyze the data to identify a solution faster.
To find an Analyzing Data document, go to the IBM Support Portal. Enter some keywords that describe your issue along with "analyzing data". For example, entering onbar "analyzing data" returns Analyzing data for Onbar problems.
Here are some other popular Analyzing Data documents:
We want to improve our self-help documents! Fill in the feedback form at the bottom of a document and tell us what worked or didn't work for you.
Next up: IBM Education Assistant and Knowledge Now
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Watch and learn along as a problem is solved by an IBM Support engineer! The Knowledge Now collection is a library of short multi-media presentations available via IBM Education Assistant. The purpose of Knowledge Now modules is to provide quick, targeted assistance on-line for the most common product issues. Knowledge Now modules capture and use the experience and abilities of the engineers who solve technical issues via the phone. Each module provides a solution to a common problem or issue identified by customers like you!
Access Knowledge Now conveniently from where ever you are, on-line, 24/7. Put this on your to do list - access and take a tour of the Knowledge Now modules:
1. Go to the IBM Education Assistant website.
2. Click on Information Management.
3. Click on the product you want from the available list:
Check it out and get some Knowledge Now. Let us know what you think!!!
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In search of knowledge
Suppose you're getting ready to install and configure the latest version of an IBM software product. You're gathering all the information you need to complete the project. Planning guide? Check. Installation Guide? Check. Product readme? Check. Release notes? Recommended fixes? Training modules? Hey, that's a lot of stuff to find! Let IBM help you pull it all together in a Knowledge Collection.
A Knowledge Collection is a collection of links to information that shares a common theme, such as a task, topic, or issue, or a product feature, component, or release. They typically point to a variety of information, including technotes, product documentation, Redbooks, and forums.
Knowledge Collections focus on the highest-impact content, not every single possible document about the theme. They consolidate resources about a specific subject in an organized and focused manner, even when these resources are about different products or components, and eliminate the need for you to search and review lengthy results lists. Our goal is to help you quickly find relevant information.
To find a Knowledge Collection, go to the IBM Support Portal. Enter some keywords that describe your topic along with "knowledge collection". For example, entering Informix migration "knowledge collection" returns Knowledge Collection: IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) version 11.50 Migration.
Here are some other popular Knowledge Collections:
Knowledge is power! Find yours in our self-help documents. And while you're there, please fill in the feedback form at the bottom of the document and tell us what worked or didn't work for you.
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Tell us what you'd like to hear!
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Help Me Help You! We hear you and are making it better!
When you view one of our online documents, scroll down the page...... keep going...... don't stop......
........right past the "Copyright and trademark info
"Rate this page" - YES, that's the place! Some of you are kind enough to provide rating these three characteristics:
WE LOVE IT WHEN YOU GIVE US THIS FEEDBACK! We review your input and address the documents that receive negative feedback. We raise documents that receive positive as examples to learn from and emulate! The more you tell us, the more we can do to help. Here are some recent examples of documents we've improved based on your input:
Keep those card and letters comin', folks!
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Bit by Bing? Saying Yuck to Yahoo? Google gotcha down? Try www.ibm.com - really! IBM has made extensive changes to the search that you see at the top of most pages on ibm.com. A search using the "masthead" search will return you results from throughout ALL of ibm.com, so you won't miss a thing . If you need a more filtered search, there's always the
Check it out and let us know how it works for you!
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Where do you like to go to get your Information? Hopefully Information Management Support is already there - Drink UP!!!
You can get RSS feeds or subscriptions from almost everywhere, it that's how you like to get your info. We're doing our best to capture, polish and deliver the information you need to help answer your questions, solve your problems, or otherwise meet your needs.
If you can't find the information you need - ASK, PLEASE! You can comment here, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc. We're not just talkin' - we're listenin', too!
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OK, we're not going to try to fool you here: IBM solutions can be complex, requiring several pieces of software working together to meet your needs.
Use IBM's System Requirements documents when you are planning, installing, or troubleshooting your software systems to make sure that the appropriate products or components are implemented, and that the correct versions of all co-requisite and pre-requisite software are installed. This information is created by the product development team and reviewed by the product test and support teams to verify that the solution setup matches the environment that customers typically use.
To find System Requirements, go to the IBM Support Portal. Enter the product name along with "system requirements". For example, entering Informix "system requirements" returns Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) System Requirements.
Here are some other popular System Requirements documents:
Add our System Requirements documents to your reading list, and let us know what you think about them by filling in the feedback form at the bottom of the document.
Next up: Proven Practices
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Apparently, where everyone else goes - on vacation! I know that everyone has been hanging at the edge of their seat waiting for another "Thoughts from Information Management Support" entry as if it were the next Harry Potter novel or a new iPod release. Sorry to have kept you on edge for so long. Fortunately for us all, summer is quickly drawing to a close (though not the heat) and soon we'll have nothing to do but blog (as soon as the pool closes).
Stay tuned - more to come.....
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Product Lifecycles - A Primer
Just like any other product you may encounter in your day to day activities, software has a lifecycle as well. It's almost like a "best before" date. Even though the software still works it's time to move to a newer release. The IBM Software Support Lifecycle policy explains the details of the length of support and all other information that may come in handy as your customers approach the end of support of any IM product.
Some key points in the Lifecycle policy are:
As per the policy, announcements come out a year in advance so many customers either forget or feel they never even received the information. It's a good idea to review this site every once in a while and look up your product either by the brand it is in or using the alphabetical list. You can update your "My Notifications"to receive important support information or you can customize their IBM Support Portal site to focus on the products you care about.
It's a good idea to move to a newer version of software before it goes out of support. The last thing you want to hear is that you have been denied support because the product is no longer in service. Proactive steps in the year prior to the end of service of a product can help you avoid those embarrassing "of course my card still has a balance left on it" type moments! :-)
If you are interested in finding out about Service Extensions, contact your sales rep. Refer to the following site to find inside sales contact numbers Planetwide.
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A Proven Practices document provides rich technical information that is tried, tested, and proven to help you succeed with IBM products in a specific technology environment. It can be about any topic: problem solution or problem preventative. Proven Practice documents are usually written by senior support staff, based on real customer experiences.
To find Proven Practices, go to the IBM Support Portal. Enter "proven
practices" in the Search support portlet and click the arrow. Here are
some new and popular Proven Practices documents:
Prove it to yourself: use our Proven Practices and become a master of IBM software products! Let us know what you think about Proven Practices, or send us a proven practice, tip, technique, or guideline that you would like to share with others by filling in the feedback form at the bottom of the document.
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