Updated by Bill Wentworth: September 12, 2012
The way that IBM Support works on addressing customer issues with the product, is through a problem ticketing system where each issue is logged as a Problem Management Record (PMR). WebSphere Process Server and IBM Business Process Manager Support adheres to this process. There are a few best practices that should be followed when opening/ managing PMRs with WebSphere Process Server or IBM Business Process Manager Support.
First, IBM provides a couple ways to open a PMR. The most popular way is by using the Service Request (SR) tool. This tool is accessed using the IBM Support Portal web site and is a great way to log new requests and track your open requests. The SR Tool is the preferred way to interact with IBM Support due to the amount of control that you have as a customer over your PMR. You are able to make sure that all your contact information is correct and up to date and can directly make updates to the PMR this way.
Alternatively, IBM also provides a phone number at 1-800-IBM-SERV that can be called and the problem explained to a representative. As this is a generic number, the person taking the call will most likely not have any intimate knowledge of the product itself.
Once the PMR is opened, the the PMR can be tracked for its latest updates via the SR tool. You may also request an update at any time and this will notify the Support team to follow up with you as soon as possible.
Second, for the most efficient support experience, a few guidelines should be followed:
- There should only be 1 problem per PMR. This helps to keep the focus on a particular issue for the duration of the PMR, which later allows for quicker resolution of issues that are seen by multiple customers. This also makes the PMRs easier to navigate, both for Support and on the customer end, so that if there are new people that are involved they can quickly be brought up to speed. This policy of only addressing one problem per PMR is very important for WebSphere Process Server and the IBM Business Process Manager products as well because these products are stack products. What this means is that these products have many different components that come from multiple products and therefore PMRs can often be passed between multiple teams within IBM to come to a resolution. If there are multiple issues addressed in 1 PMR, this resolution takes a much longer time than if the PMR is addressing only 1 issue.
- PMRs also have the concept of "severity". This is a ranking that is set by the customer to indicate the urgency and importance of the issue. This setting is how the Support team determines the priority to give to each issue. Please be be honest in your setting of this value. The Support team does realize that all issues are important to our customers. However, in order to ensure that when a very critical issue is encountered and needs immediate resolution is handled properly, we need our customers to also prioritize their issues. These severities range from 1 (most critical) to 4 (not critical). if all issues are logged as severity 1 issues, this is a misrepresentation and IBM will be unable to provide adequate timely resolution for the truly critical issues.
- Also, when opening your PMR, try to be as complete as possible in the description of your issue. Our IBM Support Portal sites for WebSphere Process Server and the IBM Business Process Manager products have a MustGather section that provides guidance on what should be sent to the Support team. Keep in mind that any inside knowledge about your particular problem or environment is good to provide because Support deals with a wide variety of issues and test cases and might not be aware of how a particular customer is testing their application or what the expected result is. The more complete you are in your initial description will help to get the PMR on the correct track to resolution.
Finally, try to be prompt in your responses as well. Especially with high priority issues, the quicker you can reply that you have received any updates and let us know your response, the better. Again, due to the large volume of issues coming in, by quickly responding it can ensure that your issue remains at the forefront of the minds of those involved.
IBM does provide a Support Handbook that is a great resource to show how to properly use the Support organization for the best results:
The main Support Portal pages are available here:
- WebSphere Process Server
- IBM Business Process Manager Standard
- IBM Business Process Manager Express
- IBM Business Process Manager Advanced
By following these guidelines, your experience creating and managing PMRs will be as satisfactory as possible.