Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Support - Is there such a thing anymore?

The Past

Remember the days when you could call support somewhere and you would get an answer. A couple of good examples of that was WordPerfect (The good old days of WordPerfect for DOS) and Lotus. Remember when you would call Lotus Support, get a person on the phone and they would stay on the phone until the problem was fixed. Ahh, the good old days.

The Present

Of course, like many, we are not using WordPerfect anymore. We are using Lotus Notes/Domino for some applications though. I had asked the local IBM rep a question on what would be the best way to attempt to get to some specific data knowing our environment and all the many connectors (Ex. DECS, LEI, LSX, etc.) available for Notes/Domino. He past it on to another local rep, who got back with me basically stating that all of the different connectors were possible solutions. That didn't move me to a solution any quicker. He also sent a note to another IBMer in Colorado. She responded that she did not know much about what we were trying to do, but pretty much the same thing, DECS, LEI, LSX, MQSeries, etc.. might be possible options. She also went on to state that as we have a current Domino Support contract that we should simply put in a support incident as they could answer how to questions.

"Since you're a current Domino customer, for "how to" questions on what solution above would be the best for your environment, you can call the Lotus Support application development group. They now handle these types of questions and can point you in the right direction. To reach them, call (800) IBM-SERV. Follow the prompts to Lotus, enter your support ID number, and follow the prompts to application support."

Tried that. The tech said, no we don't do that.

I stated that I was under the impression that they did from the e-mail that I had received. The tech asked who told me that. I believe that got the manager of the tech, the IBMer in Colorado, and the local IBMer all e-mailing each other.

It basically ended up being stated that they don't do that kind of "how to" question. They will do something along the lines of tell you what will happen if you change this value to that on a parameter or something more along those lines.

In the end the local rep basically gave two suggested routes if we really wanted to pursue it, but stated that he thought the effort to accomplish this would basically outweigh the benefit.

Another words, a lot of time and effort past before getting a somewhat indirect answer to our question.

You may be asking yourself, what were they trying to do. In a nutshell we were looking at getting to information in a database (not SQL based) from Notes/Domino. There is another system (written in C, which our developers are not versed in) that currently does this by kicking off a CICS application that makes the request to the database and returns the information to the C program. Of course, the underlying piece is trying to do this without spending any money, so what looked to be the easiest route was kicking off the CICS app from Notes/Domino.

After having put the ticket in online and changing my e-mail address in the four or so different places that I needed to within the IBM/Lotus framework of websites/contacts, I did receive the e-mail that the ticket was opened, but upon going in to view the ticket the contract no longer shows up for me to select to view the ticket online anymore. The tech on the ticket said to send in an e-mail as mentioned on the site. This happened once before and the e-mail got me know where. One of the local reps finally got it fixed after a few months last time. I will do as requested and see how it goes. Oh well.

This is one time when I wish history would repeat itself and good support would come back to being common.

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