As we announced at the SHARE conference on Monday, z/OS Communications Server is moving to RFE for the management of external requirements. RFE (Request for Enhancements) is a Rational tool that is accessed through a standard web browser interface, and allows our customers to directly submit requirements. For many years now, external requirements have come into us through a system known as FITS. FITS access is generally limited to IBM employees, which forces the involvement of a “middle man”, such as IBM Level 2 Support or an IBM account team representative, to input requirements or even to obtain status of an existing requirement.
RFE allows any customer to submit a requirement directly, and also provides several other capabilities:
- Search for requirements
- Watch requirements of interest
- Interact with our team via comment threads if more information is needed for our evaluation
- Vote on requirements submitted by other customers
Submitting a requirement against z/OS Communications Server is very straightforward:
- Go to our RFE Community page located at: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rfe/?PROD_ID=498
- Click on “Submit RFEs”
- Fill out the web form, completing all required fields
- Click on “Submit”
That’s it! Unless you unchecked the “Add this RFE to my watch list” box, your requirement will automatically be added to your watchlist for you to easily find later. You can also bookmark your RFE, email it to a colleague, and even follow RFEs via RSS feeds.
A few comments about privacy: RFEs submitted against Communications Server will initially be private (meaning that they will only be visible to the submitter and IBM). However, after an initial screening we will convert the RFE to public unless we believe it represents a security or integrity concern that merits retaining the private status. Converting it to public status allows other customers to find it via searches (which reduces the submission of duplicate requirements), vote on it, and add it to their own watchlists. Note that two fields in the RFE (those marked with the key symbol) will always be private: the “Company” field and the “Business justification” field. So, other customers will not see the company name associated with the requirement, nor will they see any details about your own business that you wish to provide via the “Business justification” field.
The ability to submit z/OS Communications Server requirements via RFE is available now. Bookmark the above link and give it a try the next time you have a requirement you would like us to consider!