Technical Blog Post
Cases and APARs – Understanding the IBM TRIRIGA Support Process
IBM TRIRIGA Support does all that we can to assist our clients, however; there are processes in place to help ALL of our clients get a consistent level of help.
To help you understand our Case and APAR process, please see the following:
A Case is created to request assistance from IBM TRIRIGA Support to help with investigating a problem or to request an answer to a question regarding TRIRIGA.
Due to the complexities of the environments supported and the potential scope of work involved in problem investigation with enterprise software, it may take some time to complete an investigation and can result in a number of outcomes; such as the following Case resolutions:
- Resolved as question answered
- Resolved as product working as designed (even when a client may disagree with the design)
- Resolved as request is outside the scope of a support
- Resolved as a defect (this will result in the creation of an APAR, see below)
With each of these outcomes, IBM TRIRIGA Support has completed their investigation and the Case has been resolved. What happens next?
When a Case is resolved as question answered, the Case is closed and no further action is necessary.
When a Case is resolved as working as designed, the client is provided with the information needed to take advantage of IBM's Request for Enhancement (RFE) Community. Opening an RFE (Request for Enhancement) allows you to communicate directly with product management and community peers. This request will be reviewed and voted for by all of our clients and support will prioritize based on client response. A client can lobby for an enhancement by engaging other clients to vote and might even post a blog or forum post to gain visibility. Accepted RFEs will be scheduled for inclusion in future releases of TRIRIGA.
When a Case is resolved as being outside of the scope of support, it means that the assistance requested is not supported by the support agreement and will require a services engagement or support from another vendor. Examples of requests outside the scope of support may include requests for assistance in customizing reports or business logic. Unsupported requests also include support for 3rd party hardware and software products like web servers, load balancers, firewalls, network devices, and/or anything that is not developed and shipped by the IBM TRIRIGA Product team.
When a Case is resolved as a defect, a new record is created in the system of record to track the resolution of defects. This new record used for tracking the resolution of a defect is called an APAR (Authorized Program Analysis Report). Once an APAR is created, the investigation phase of the reported problem Case is complete and the Case record is closed.
At this point, it is now up to the IBM team to verify root cause and provide a fix for the reported issue. This support process is now being tracked and worked as an APAR since there is no more investigation to be done.
When TRIRIGA Support is working on an APAR, we guide our clients who are interested in the progress of the defect to subscribe to the APAR online. This allows them to receive notifications related to the APAR such as when the fix is available for download. We provide instructions on how to subscribe to the APAR online as part of the Case closure process. No one is required to do this, but if you want notifications on the status of the fix for the defect, you must subscribe.
Why did you close my Case? I don’t have a fix for my defect yet!
There are times where, from a client’s perspective, they do not feel that they have been provided with a solution for their problem, even though an APAR has been created for the defect. This sometimes results in a client requesting that the Case remain open until a fix is received and verified. However, this is not how the IBM support process works, and here is why:
The Case investigation is complete once an APAR is created. At this point the Case is closed because we have completed the investigation requested and we have determined that the issue warrants either a code or documentation fix. At this point, the APAR process of working on resolving the defect begins.
When a fix is ready, IBM will deliver the fix in the form of a fixpack on IBM’s Fix Central download site. A notice will be sent to everyone who has subscribed to the APAR notifying them that the fix is available. If assistance with installing or working with the provided fix is needed, a new Case to request that assistance can be created. Sometimes our clients get caught up in the process, viewing it as being complex. However, following this process for Cases and APARs remains the most effective process for us to do a better job for you and all of our clients.
The bottom line is, clients may have a difference in understanding about what a resolution looks like based on our support process. We can all agree that resolution is getting an answer to the question or problem. When we mark a Case as resolved, it’s not lost forever. We can still update it for up to 28 days and we can reference it for years. If a Case becomes an APAR, we are still working it, just through a different set of procedures.
The important thing to remember is, regardless of the type of record we use to track the work, IBM is committed to solving your issues and ensuring your implementation of TRIRIGA is successful. We look forward to supporting you!
For further edification on the IBM Tririga Support process, you can also review our support procedures in the IBM Support Guide.