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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