Do you need as close to 24x7 as practical, or can you afford to be down for a
week or more ... some companies might be willing to have tech support that
cannot hold a candle to IBM, based on the notion that IBM hardware is so
great that it hardly ever goes down & when it does, if we have to shut down
for 2 weeks it won't kill us.

If that other support company goes out of business, will you see it coming in
ample time to find another outfit to take their place, or will it be
surprise, here today gone tomorrow in which you do not know they are gone
until you make a service call to them?

How soon can you find a replacement outfit, and what will be the expense when
you discover at time of need for tech support that your current support is no
good?

I have this problem with calls to ma bell tech support.  They change their
phone #, they put it on the bills, but only accounting sees the bills.  It
does not occur to accounting that they are the only people seeing the new
tech support phone # & people in our company who might need to call tech
support might need to know the new #.  So along comes a crisis & I call ma
bell tech support & get "That number is no longer in service" and there have
been cases when it took us DAYS to figure out what the deal is.

Unfortunately we also have a similar problem with IBM ... it is not that they
change the phone # for tech support, it is that they screw up the billing,
which can lead to cancelling the tech support contract, in error.

Do you have a lot of non-IBM equipment attached to your AS/400?
If you are not able to get that stuff added to IBM support contract, can the
folks who can service that other equipment also service your AS/400?

This is one of the major advantages of the 3rd party support places.

Perhaps the AS/400 needs to be 24x7 protected but not the other equipment.
Can a user be without their PC for a month?
Is the user's stuff sufficiently well backed up that they can have part of
their backup restored to some other PC accessed temporarily, then when their
own PC fixed, recover what they updated on the other PC, and combine it with
the total backup, or is your PC backup strategy not that sophisticated?

In our reality we can cope with a user without access to their work station
or printer for a lot longer than we can cope with everyone without access to
the AS/400.  Users can use some other less convenient work station.
We do have alternative printers, not as fast, not as convenient.

However if you have sites in different areas of the country, it is important
to have tech support place that does both ends of your communication
connections.

Here is a true horror story ... we had a communications glitch installing a
connection to a remote site 60 miles from our HQ a few years ago.  There was
the long distance carrier doing the phone line between the two sites.  There
was the local phone company, different in each city ... that's 3 phone
companies right there.  There was the contractor who did the wiring of the
phone infrastructure at each site ... 2 more outfits.  There was tech support
for AS/400 stuff at each site ... 2 more outfits.

Ok, the long distance carrier said the problem was in the part of the circuit
that was the responsibility of the local carrier at one end.  That carrier
said the opposite.  The contractor who had installed the infrastructure said
all their stuff checked out, the problem had to be either with ma bell or the
computer.  Fortunately an IBM CE found the problem.  The local contractor's
phone plug was badly wired so that the TO signal was going to the TO, and the
FROM signal was connected to the FROM, when the TO from one should go to the
FROM other if you get my drift.  Rewiring one phone plug solved the problem.

My point is that you can be in a world of pain when you have multi-vendors
pointing fingers at each other ... the problem is not in our stuff, it must
be one of those other guys, and incidentally here is a bill for wasting our
time.

You can avoid this risk of pain by finding one outfit that will service
everything.

Do you have a lot of non-IBM equipment attached to your AS/400?
Are you able to get that stuff added to IBM support contract?
Is there still a hassle when you call IBM on it?

Example: non-IBM modem comes with alleged 48 hour replacement service but
when we tested that, it took 4 days, so we have a spare copy of modem sitting
in closet .... actually we have ONE spare that is backup for both ends,
because we can get the ONE to the other end of the connection faster than any
non-IBM guarantee, let alone what we get when we do a service call.

Another true story ... years ago I was hired at a retail place that had an
NCR cash register hooked up to an IBM punched card machine & they were
forever having problems ... the NCR repairman said the NCR part working fine,
bill us for wasted trip ... the IBM repairman said the IBM part working fine,
bill us for wasted trip.  I went to management & asked for a check on the
paperwork ... when this was installed, was there any responsibility any place
for who handles the interface between IBM & NCR?  Yes, they found contract
where IBM took responsibility for that.

I got a copy of that contract to be shown to IBM repairman in all future
visits, because every visit they always said same thing, then we showed them
the contract, and then they fixed the problem.  I also took copy of contract
to accounting department so they could get IBM to reverse the billing on all
those alleged wasted visits.

Are you aware of the fact that IBM is like Star Trek Scottie?
IBM gives a prediction of when they will be here, when the job will be done,
and sometimes their prediction is right on, but more often they get the job
done sooner.

Are you aware of the fact that IBM competition is the inverse of this.
If their guarantee is that the problem will be solved in 2 days, you can
figure 2 weeks would not be unusual service.

> From: DHelms@Lance.com (Debbie Helms)
>
>  Could anyone give me opinions / reasons for and against IBM hardware
>  support?  We have IBM support which I personally think is excellent but
they
>  are on the expensive side.  I already know "you get what you pay for".  I
>  need something tangible and convincing when we go to the negotiating table.
>  As always I appreciate the feedback.
>
>  Debra Helms
>  Senior Technical Analyst
>  Lance, Inc.
>


MacWheel99@aol.com (Alister Wm Macintyre) (Al Mac)
BPCS 405 CD Manager / Programmer @ Global Wire Technologies Incorporated
http://www.globalwiretechnologies.com = new name same quality wire
engineering company: fax # 812-424-6838

Sep 11 Favorite Links:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/pdf/middle_east.pdf
http://www.semitrue.com/thankyou/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TYR
http://www.skirsch.com/politics/plane/disable.htm
http://www.geocities.com/wasabidoh/Pictures.html - select Attack on America

Newspapers World Wide
http://www.wheretodoresearch.com/news/foreign_newspapers.htm
http://www.wheretodoresearch.com/news/US_Newspapers.htm

Intelligence Briefings by country
http://www.nsdmg.org - click on REAL WORLD RESOURCES
http://www.c-span.org/international/links.asp
http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/09/17/asia.support/
http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html
http://www.economist.com/countries
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/world/search/list/index.html
http://www.debka.com/
http://www.stratfor.com



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