IBM Support General Guidelines and Limitations

IBM Support General Guidelines and Limitations

End of Service considerations

Unless otherwise stated, IBM Support offerings will be valid until the end of service date for their associated product or service and do not extend the announced end of service date.

Users of IBM Support

Unless otherwise stated, IBM Support offerings are not intended to provide end-user help desk support. IBM Support offerings supplement client based support staff skills by providing access to IBM Support’s knowledge base(s) and technical support professionals.

Case limitations

Unless otherwise stated, IBM Support offerings allow an unlimited number of technical support cases. Each case should be specific to a unique issue in order to maintain clear objectives and timelines. 

Client responsibilities

IBM does not warrant that its products are defect free; however, IBM does endeavor to fix its products to work as designed. It is important to note that clients play a key role in this effort.

Providing information

IBM Support is available to provide assistance and guidance, and as part of this relationship, clients need to provide IBM Support information about their systems and details about the failing components in order for IBM to quickly and accurately resolve the problem. This information includes (but is not limited to):

  • capturing documentation at the time of a failure
  • applying a trap or trace code to a system
  • formatting the output from the trap or trace (if needed)
  • sending documentation or trace information (in hardcopy or digital copy) to the remote support center.

IBM Support also uses screen sharing tools (IBM Assist On-site (AOS) and Cisco Webex) to assist in troubleshooting. While other tools may be available for use, IBM primarily uses these tools to ensure the security of the data exchange. As a reminder, the information shared should be non-confidential in nature and should not contain personally-identifiable markers.

Exchanging data

IBM Support professionals may request that problem information or test cases be provided in order to help troubleshoot. By the terms and conditions set forth in a support agreement, this information will be non-confidential (for example, not labeled “your company confidential”). Once the information is received, IBM will use it only for the purposes for which it was provided - that is, to fix defects or to provide support for IBM products or services. IBM will not disclose it to other parties, except to contractors of IBM who may be used to help resolve technical issues. IBM will delete, destroy, or return the data when it is no longer required. If the client elects to have IBM return physical media, the client will be responsible for arranging transport and delivery. IBM will hand off the media to a client designated carrier from an IBM location, but will have no responsibility or liability for return of the media. For more information on exchanging diagnostic data with IBM, please refer to the Enhanced Customer Data Repository (ECuRep) - Terms of use page.

IBM offers Blue Diamond for US-based healthcare clients and Enhanced Secure Support for clients in other industries around the world with highly secure data requirements. Blue Diamond and Enhanced Secure Support provide extra physical, logical, and administrative security controls, over and above IBM Core Security Practices. For more information about IBM Enhanced Secure Support, refer to the IBM Enhanced Secure Support Overview document.

Applying fixes

Clients are also responsible for obtaining and applying fixes to their systems and testing the fixes to ensure success. Occasionally, removal of installed fixes may be necessary in the process of isolating problems. Sometimes fixing a problem will mean the installation of a later release of the software as some fixes cannot be retrofitted into earlier code. If a client does not have the required skill or are not positioned to complete the work necessary to resolve the problem, they can engage a services provider such as IBM Global Technical Services (GTS) or a business partner to assist, for an additional fee.

Expectation on product defect resolution

When IBM validates a defect that has been identified by a client, an Authorized Program Analysis Report (APAR) is created which describes the details of the issue, provides the necessary diagnostic information that is needed to verify the defect and suggests viable work arounds to the issue when available.  Because of the complexities of the environments supported, APARs will often take several weeks, possibly months, to debug and to write, test, package and distribute a fix.  For high impact problems, IBM Support will make every effort to develop a bypass or workaround that you can use until the APAR has been resolved and a Program Temporary Fix (PTF) has been created.  Code fixes for IBM products may be distributed from software subscriptions, service packages or in a future release of the product.

Local Language

See the IBM Support Guide – product details page for specific language support based on products and services. IBM Support strives to provide services in local language for most countries.

Response Goals

IBM will use commercially reasonable efforts to respond to cases raised by authorized contacts within the criteria outlined in the IBM Support Guide. IBM's initial response may result in resolution of the request, or it will form the basis for determining what additional actions may be required to achieve technical resolution. Depending on the complexity of the request, the next response may take days. Agreement between clients and IBM Support professionals is vital to determine what the next action is and when the next checkpoint will be. Severity 2, 3, and 4 problems reported outside business hours will be responded to the next business day, unless a 24x7 support option has been purchased where available.

Business Hours

Business hours reflect normal country business hours in each time zone. For example, in North America, those hours would be Monday through Friday, 8:00A.M. to 5:00P.M., excluding national or statutory holidays.

IBM Support Center Hours (IBM prime shift business hours)

IBM Support Center hours cover the prevailing business hours in the country where the product is licensed and/or the contract is registered. Keep this in mind if operations are outsourced to a help desk or firm that is overseas or working in another time zone.

IBM support for software on unsupported operating systems

IBM will provide support for IBM software, assuming that software is still within its support period. That support will continue normally until such time that the back-level operating system is identified as a probable cause of the problem or a contributing factor, at which time you may be asked to recreate the problem on a supported level of the operating system.

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