Part Three - Severity, Response, and Engineer Engagement
I am a "Level 2" Support Engineer for IBM Maximo and this is the third installment of a five-part series of articles that will give you an overview of the Maximo application support environment. These articles are based on a presentation that has been given by the Maximo L2 Support Manager, Thomas Aaron. In this part of the series I will discuss the support experience as it relates to PMRs, our support guidelines, and support engineer engagement.
Before I present any further details about working with support, it's important to mention that there are measures that can be taken to prevent, or at least mitigate problems in the first place...
-Observe the IBM Maximo Product Lifecycle: www.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycle
The Product Support Lifecycle page displays the general date of availability for a product, as well as the end of support date. You can search this portal by version and release for IBM software and systems products so that you can track how long a version and release of a particular IBM product will be supported. You can subscribe to announcement letters from here, which will generate communications to you from IBM to inform you of any of your products that will be coming to the end of support within the the next 12 months at minimum. To help you plan, IBM support withdrawal is limited to two months – either in April or September.
-Verify Software Product Compatibility Reports: www.ibm.com/software/reports/compatibility/clarity/index.jsp
As a companion to the Product Support Lifecycle page, you can also easily utilize this tool to determine compatibility between your current, or pending IBM software or system product with other current or pending products. These reports help you avoid costly problems in your environment by describing IBM product compatibility as a component to identifying potential support gaps in a given solution. An example of this utility would be to determine if you can currently upgrade to a more recent version of a Maximo industry solution without needing to update either your base Maximo version, or maybe even your browser, or java version as well.
-Use My Notifications: www.ibm.com/support/mynotifications
This portal allows you to receive daily or weekly announcements through e-mail, custom Web pages, and RSS feeds. You can select the content and frequency of the communications to include important product news, availablility of updated downloads and drivers, and you can also be notified of new or updated support content such as publications, hints and tips, and technical notes. It's significant to note that our support and development staff publishes this content very frequently, and many clients use this material to become more proficient at supporting their Maximo environments without even engaging an IBM support engineer.
- You can create multiple subscriptions to this, as well as varying frequency per subscription:
Working With Support
-Severity and Responsiveness
A chart is warranted here, and will eliminate the need for many words :)
-Engagement of a Support Engineer:
The best way to get started is to open a Problem Management Record (PMR), or Service Request (SR):
You can use this as your self-managed interface to IBM support; the PMR or SR interface allows you to open, update, and manage your open issues with Maximo or other IBM products. This will typically serve as your communication to a support engineer, as you can view engineer updates and receive resolutions through the PMR. There is a simple registration and authorization initially, and then you can open, update and manage your PMRs or SRs.
Recommended for after hours support
For US/Cananda: 1800ibmserv
Additional, country-specific phone numbers can be found here: http://www.ibm.com/planetwide/
Before we go any further, I guess now is a good time to state what is covered by IBM/Maximo Support. It can be generalized as the core product or application code. There is not support for customizations, this is handled through a client-funded, Services Engagement. This may not be identified, or apparent to the support engineer at the outset of your interactions with the support team, and may be identified at an intermediate stage of troubleshooting. This will, of course, be clarified by the support engineer at that time if appropriate.
What can be done to speed things up, or get to a resolution quicker?
It is expected that customers have basic test environments. If problems can be recreated by customer in an "out of the box" environment, then this will generally allow quicker troubleshooting and less time to resolution. Additionally, a good test environment is integral for testing fixes before deploying to production so downtime or unforeseen results can be mitigated.
-Ensure you have your complete environment information in the PMR
In addition to providing the Maximo version and release, IFIXes and LA Fixes, Add-ons, Industry Solutions; DB, OS and Webserver information, customization report, try to reproduce on demo site if possible. The following items are also helpful:
-Clear steps to reproduce the problem
-Screenshots or video recreate help illustrate the issue if possible
-Recreate in test environment to determine if behaviour changed by applying maintenance pack
-Review the Must Gather documents
Go to www.ibm.com and enter "MustGather Maximo" into the Search Field – this search will return all existing Must Gather documents
NOTE: If you are going through an upgrade / a deployment, please let us know! We can assist.
When should I escalate a PMR?
- The situation is getting worse
- The problem has been persisting without resolution for a “long” time
- When you are not happy with the response or assistance you are receiving
How do I escalate a PMR?
- Contact the L2 Support Manager/Duty Manager
- Call the local Software Support Number (www.ibm.com/planetwide) and ask to “speak with a duty Manager” 1800ibmserv for US/Canada PMRs
If you are still not satisfied, contact the IBM account team to request a complaint or request a higher level “Critical Situation” if:
- Multiple Service Requests or multiple products are involved
- There appears to be a lack of coordination from product support teams
- You can actively participate in the increased meetings, email and telephone calls
We provide after-hours support in all time zones with an on-call support engineer to respond to critical, system-down types of issues
Our goal is to provide superior customer service!
For your further enjoyment, please see the previous articles in this series, "Overview of IBM Internet of Things' Maximo Support":
Part One - The Scope, Scale, and People of Support
Part Two - Care and Feeding of your Maximo product: Maintenance, Fixes, Patches
Part Four - Additional Support Processes and Resources
Part Five - Ours Go To 11: Expanded Support and the Maximo Support Community
Tom Richardson is an IBM Maximo Support Engineer and frequent contributor to the Asset Management Blog community. For a complete index of links to his articles, visit
Index of articles by Tom Richardson, Support Engineer