One of IBM's core values is "dedication to every client's success," and the company does various things to make sure that all IBMers take these values seriously. It can also show up in some non-obvious ways. For example, if you read through part of our Software Support Handbook you see that the customer specifies the severity of a bug, and further that they can change it at any time if the business circumstances change.
I recently heard a great story on this. It was a Memorial Day holiday weekend in the US, and a customer was calling with a severity one problem because sometimes the menu in a webpage pulldown was translucent. At first it was hard to see how an unattractive GUI issue was equivalent to a "production down" situtation, but then the customer explained that they sell medical items over the web and many of their customers are older with vision problems. That's all it took--a "minor" UI issue became a "sev 1" and some developer was pulled away from their picnic to go fix the menu.
Severity one is intense -- and keep in mind, the customer makes that classification. This sentence impresses the hell out of me:
If a client designated a problem as a Severity 1, IBM will work on it 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, providing the client is also available to work during those hours.and is probably why so much of the world's IT infrastructure runs on IBM products. It also scares me.
When a customer buys an appliance, you're selling them a "magic box" that meets their needs and if something goes wrong, we have to fix it. It doesn't matter if it's a hardware bug, a kernel bug, or some arbitrary piece of open source software that you're using--there's no finger-pointing to someone else, we have to fix it. There are times, at 3am, when it would be really nice to say something like "install the latest RedHat and see if that fixes it" but you can't.
It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for our support team. Almost. :)[Read More]