WebSphere Accelerated Value Management Corner

Education


Abstract

WebSphere Accelerated Value Program (AVP) features address client's Proactive, Preventive and Personalized needs. This collection of articles help client leadership get the most value from their trusted advisor partnership.

Content

IBM Software Accelerated Value Features, by grouped by Scope
Scope Topic Edition
Proactive Learn How to Proactively Leverage the Accelerated Value Program 1Q2012
Building the AVP relationship by tracking named callers and primary contacts 3Q2011
Pathway to Success - The AVP Delivery Plan 1Q2013
Regular meetings 4Q2010
Preventive AVP helps with upgrade planning 1Q2011
AVP helps with preventive maintenance updates 2Q2011
Customer Alerts Make Your Deployments and Changes Visible to IBM 4Q2012
Proactive Assessments 3Q2013
Personalized Learn how to use skills transfer to grow your team 2Q2013
Getting the most from on-site days 2Q2012
APARs, PMRs and escalation 4Q2011



Full editions of the IBM Software Accelerated Value News are available to AVP clients in the IBM Support Portal, in the Report portlet. If you do not see AVP portlets on the Support Home page, contact your AVP team for assistance.

All articles written by practicing Accelerated Value Leaders and Accelerated Value Specialists.




Learn How to Proactively Leverage the Accelerated Value Program
Written by: Kim Cook-Boyd and Lee Perlov

Work Smarter, Think Proactive, is the best way you can describe Accelerated Value Program (AVP). AVP is your single point of contact, your liaison to IBM support, development, product managers, and other IBM contacts. While AVP offers problem management in critical issues, coordinates solutions, provides status update and manages escalations, our primary focus is proactive problem avoidance.

AVP’s proactive advice and technical assistance helps build a more stable environment; improves understanding of product design and functionality; and increases the knowledge and capabilities of client teams through knowledge sharing. AVP can help improve the availability of mission-critical applications and reduce deployment times, while helping to optimize how in-house support teams work.

AVP helps you to resolve issues quicker; and helps identify proactive opportunities. AVP is strategically focused on issue prevention.

Here is a menu of proactive services available from AVP:
  • Facilitates skills sharing activities, and manages the application of product patches and updates.

  • Organizes IBM task forces, including Product Architects, Developers, and multiple Support Teams to assist in new application deployments.

  • Arranges on-site or remote client assistance in reviewing and analyzing deployment process and roll-out plan and schedule.

  • Provides best practices or performance tuning for improving stability.

  • Assists with developing comprehensive migration plans and strategies.

  • Coordinates onsite migration planning and assists in implementation and testing to ensure applications are successfully migrated according to the roll-out schedule.

  • Assists with developing best practices for pre-production performance tuning and stress testing, preventing potential production outage for new application deployment.

  • Leverages understanding of your environment, goals and challenges to identify other IBM programs that could benefit your business (e.g., Early Design Program, Beta Program, new technology briefings, trade shows).

  • Educates and identifies gaps in awareness of self-help information (e.g. IBM Education, IBM Support Assistant, WebSphere Support Technical Exchange and tools).

  • Customizes technical newsletters announcing upcoming webcast training, conferences, support downloads, tools (ISA), fix packs, security exposures and newly release publications.

Accelerated Value Program provides proactive assistance to help you sustain and optimize your IBM software infrastructure. To learn more about these proactive services, please contact your local AVP representative.





Building the AVP relationship by tracking named callers and primary contacts
Written by: Brian Cook, Lesley McLoughlin, Kevin Mathews and Lee Perlov
Accelerated Value Program (AVP) relationships start with getting to know you, the client.

There are two focus groups we build the relationship with:
  • Named Callers: Typically are the technical team members that Accelerated Value Specialist (AVS) / Accelerated Value Leader (AVL) work with to resolve issues through PMRs. AVP also works with Named Callers to understand how to effectively use the technology and help plan to deliver solutions that minimize issues.

  • Primary Contacts: Typically are managers and technical leaders that don't work directly with PMRs. AVLs will work with primary contacts on strategic initiatives.

AVP contracts define limits for the number of named callers whereas primary contacts are not limited. To ensure a clients' business objectives are understood as they evolve, the AVL/AVS works to build a network and maximize the partnership with the primary contacts. AVP is a customized offering that adapts to your needs and can be adjusted over time. Consider these elements the starting point:

Understanding Client's Organization
  • AVLs and AVSs work to understand people:
    • Lines of Business (e.g., operations, development, engineering and security.

    • Organizations that deliver software solutions using IBM software (e.g., supply chain, external web site, internal delivery and solutions).

    • Clients that team with AVP (e.g., schedule meetings with 1st line managers in engineering and operations to review PMRs, new fix packs and new technical documents or to meet with project management on key initiatives).

  • Understand client solutions:
    • Business goals of each line of business (e.g., manage inventory, generate sales, HR).

    • IBM technology being used and planned (e.g., requiring teaming with a product specialist - AVS).

  • Share information:
    • Request of client management to provide a skills assessment for team members (i.e., primary contacts).

    • Projects or application changes are typically shared through a delivery plan.

Understanding who will use PMRs
  • AVP Priority Call Handling (PCH) PMRs:
    • Opening and updating PMRs using the AVP assigned IBM Customer Number (ICN) requires “named caller” authority. Named callers are identified and reviewed regularly by AVS/AVL to ensure the appropriate technical team members have access.

    • AVP PMRs using the AVP ICN will receive additional benefits:

      • AVP teams are notified when high-severity AVP PMRs are opened.

      • AVP PMRs get priority response over non-AVP PMRs.

  • Monitoring PMRs (IBM Support Portal-service request):
    • Named callers that are authorized can update their AVP PMRs.

    • Primary contacts can be set up as “authorized readers” in the Service Request tool to allow the ability to view but not update PMRs.

  • PMR reports:
    • AVSs and AVLs can generate PMR reports to share at department/team meetings.

    • For more ideas on reporting and meetings, ask your AVL/AVS or see Regular meetings.

Accessing the IBM Support Portal
  • Portal Access: All client contacts that are identified and tracked by AVP have access to AVP-specific portlets on http://ibm.com/support.

  • Product Inventory: Software you have purchased.

  • Company contacts: The names, email addresses and phone numbers of AVLs and AVSs assigned to you and listed by product they support.

  • Reports: Documents created by AVP and published to the Web for easy access (e.g., APAR reports, quarterly reports, monthly or weekly reports).

  • AVP chat: If you are set up as a “named caller” or “authorized reader”, you have the ability to chat with your AVLs and AVSs through the My IBM Contacts, Company contacts portlet.

  • Portal Education:

In summary, AVP partners with our clients' named callers and primary contacts to increase value as your advocate. AVP delivers higher responsiveness to client needs by understanding their organization. AVP tooling facilitates easy and efficient communication with clients. Contact your AVP team today for any updates to named callers or primary contacts!





Pathway to Success - The AVP Delivery Plan
Written by: Jeff Perry, Chris Dacombe and Lee Perlov

Sometimes the most important action we can take is to plan. An Accelerated Value Program (AVP) Delivery Plan is a comprehensive foundation for projects and activities throughout the year. It is a feature offered on most AVP contracts, and can be the essential cornerstone of your program delivery.

The AVP Delivery Plan builds and documents a view of your expectations for the program delivery and sets up a time frame for real results. Key elements of the plan include:

  • The key Business Goals to be supported by your AVP partnership—the benefits you hope to achieve
  • Specific Projects in service of those goals—current and ongoing, or planned for the near-future
  • An Action Plan in support of those projects—to drive their outcomes and success

The plan starts with a small set of business goals, typically referencing Key Performance Indicators whose impact can be measured by leveraging AVP, such as the following:
  • Achieve certain goals for production system uptime—improving current metrics or meeting a Service Level Agreement
  • Meet a crucial delivery schedule
  • Improve defect or issues rate in development projects
  • Address cases of risk mitigation or business opportunity which are specific to you

Having identified Business Goals, we can develop project work designed to achieve them.

Let us take the example above of a Business Goal to meet a crucial delivery schedule. That objective might result in distinct Projects for enhancing the stability of test environments, identifying deployment and promotion best practices, creating a migration plan, and executing a successful cutover. Project definition here would identify AVP's role in support of your IT management. Action plans for teaming activities in support of those projects would also be identified and carried out. For example, the project for stability of test environments might include weekly checkpoints for status and issues management, skills and knowledge transfer activities, and periodic IBM product APAR reviews. Other parts of the plan might include your AVP team involving a Lab Advocate or other IBM subject-matter experts, or for using on-site days.

Partnership between you and your AVP team is essential to create an effective Delivery Plan, as it is to all elements of an effective AVP program; it takes commitment from both sides to obtain the maximum value from AVP. The process of collaboration on a Delivery Plan is a best practice for leveraging AVP.

A Delivery Plan should be revisited on a yearly basis, but it also should be considered a living document which you can reference and modify throughout the year as needed. An important purpose of the document is to guide decision making, especially with respect to prioritization of new work within existing utilizations. It is a framework for action.

In summary, an AVP Delivery Plan is an invaluable delivery tool, and the basis for an effective work process. Features and benefits of the Delivery Plan process include:

  • Close partnership with your AVL and the AVP team, based on active communication and negotiation
  • Adaptation of the AVP delivery to your specific business and IT goals.
  • A work product—the Delivery Plan document—that provides the basis for prioritization of future work, properly balanced resource utilizations, and an end-of-year Scorecard based on measurable results

Start working today with your Accelerated Value Leader to develop an AVP Delivery Plan.






Regular meetings
Written by: Lee Perlov

Regular meetings with your Accelerated Value team can help your technical team work more efficiently to solve current problems and plan to avoid future problems.

Here are some of the most common topics we see today:
  • Review open PMRs to update or expedite the action plan.

  • Identify newly discovered product issues (APARs) that may impact your applications in the future.

  • Review details on recently announced versions, fix pack and high impact interim fixes to begin planning for upgrades to your test and production environments.

  • Discuss the characteristics of your applications in order to identify opportunities to apply best practices.

  • Review upcoming End of Service dates for products in use to avoid support coverage gaps and support contract extension costs.

  • Assess skill gaps and identify areas of interest for custom skills transfer (commonly in association with using new features of IBM products).

  • Review future application and product deployments and their potential technical and business impact.

Here are some of the most common communication practices we use today:
  • Depending on the rate of change for your applications and infrastructure, we see meetings on weekly, bi-weekly and monthly schedules.

  • For some clients all topics can be covered in one hour meetings. Some clients like to separate PMR discussions from upgrade planning (e.g., interim fixes, end of service dates) and proactive planning (e.g., implementing best practices and enhancing skills).

  • Many clients separate meetings with developers from meetings with operations.

  • Bottom line: We adapt to your needs.

While talking about current problems is popular, discussing future plans has helped many of our clients save time and effort, while reduce risk.

So, regular meetings are one of the Accelerated Value team’s best tools to help you reduce risk and get value more quickly from your IBM software purchases.





AVP helps with upgrade planning
Written by: Jim Austin and Lee Perlov

Your Accelerated Value team is ready to help you determine when updates to your current versions are appropriate and when new versions will best meet your goals.

AVP understands the implementation of new or updated infrastructure software is driven by a cost/benefit analysis that shows the potential that the benefits will justify upgrade costs. Full understanding of risks and rewards is crucial for the successful implementation of the appropriate solution.

Highest Cost/Highest Benefit: Implementation of a new infrastructure platform
Redesign or rehosting impact the business as a whole, and all of the IT infrastructure.
  • Planning steps include: Design, education, training, setup, monitoring, and maintenance.

  • Expected cost savings: Running on a new, more efficient platform.

  • Other benefits:
    • Decreased development time for future enhancements.

    • Opportunity for improved reliability, availability and scalability of the application.

    • Increased availability of in-house expertise for future development and maintenance.

Migration efforts in this case involve implementing the hardware and software infrastructure, purchase of IBM hardware and software, as well as developing or changing your applications.

High Cost/High Benefit: Implementation of a new version of software
Implement new versions of IBM software, other vendor software, as well as updates to your applications. Typically multiple IBM products are upgraded simultaneously.
  • Planning steps include: Refinement of existing design, education, training, revised monitoring and maintenance processes.

  • Expected cost savings: New features and improved functionality create the opportunity for a more cost effective solution.

  • Other benefits: Same as above.

Migration efforts can involve newer versions of current hardware. For less critical applications, implementation on existing hardware may be an option.

AVP Considerations for implementing a new platform or upgrading version
For new software implementation and version upgrades, AVP offers:
  • Education and technical briefing on new features.

  • High-level review of the hardware/software infrastructure to provide recommendations based on published best practices, system requirements, preventive maintenance, etc.

  • Guidance on IBM tools and software to be implemented in conjunction with the new infrastructure.

  • Best practices for the migration process, including automation options.

  • Assistance improving processes and operations/infrastructure/development team synergy to deliver and maintain the benefits expected.

In many cases, AVP will recommend engaging IBM Services to address issues such as:
  • Time-pressure, skill gaps and resource shortages.

  • Desire for a complete system review to understand risks in the current implementation.

  • Architecture and design assistance.

  • Upgrade solution to be highly available or highly scalable.

AVP is well positioned to engage other IBM resources to help address your needs.


Summary
AVP will act as your advocate in dealing with IBM. We assist with communication within IBM, with other vendors and interested parties. While we cannot take the place of a project manager, we can be engaged to:
  • Communicate best practices.

  • Assist with setting up monitoring and support processes.

  • Assist with documenting a configuration, including dependencies.

  • Communicate support information relevant to your applications.

  • Share news from IBM that can help your future planning (may require non-disclosure agreement).

  • Monitor and manage IBM defect resolution process for your Problem Management Records (PMRs), and assist with escalation (when required).

In other words, we can be your partner during upgrade planning, deployment and maintenance.

Learn more about types of IBM deliverables
Update Strategy for WebSphere Application Server V7.0: http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27012749





AVP helps with preventive maintenance updates
Written by: Jim Austin and Lee Perlov

Beyond upgrades and updates, the Accelerated Value team is also ready to help plan for applying preventive maintenance to current versions.

AVP understands the challenges when planning to apply preventive maintenance to existing solutions:
  • Cost benefit analysis associated with avoiding future problems by applying fix packs, versus the risk of outages.

  • Time required to assess fixes found by other clients and delivered in fix packs, as well as high impact fixes delivered as interim fixes.

  • Limited time and money for regression testing existing applications.

AVP is here to help with planning and analysis, as well as resolving issues that occur during deploy.

Again, the analysis relates cost and benefit:

Moderate Cost/Moderate to High Benefit: new releases and adding new features
Significant new functionality for software versions is usually introduced with new releases or with packages of enhancements such as WebSphere feature packs. Implementing new releases and feature packs offers potential benefits from application improvements or enablement without generally requiring significant manual changes to existing applications. When the features are desirable, applications may be changed to exploit the features (in some cases, without modification).
  • Planning steps include: Researching maintenance impact, training for new features, setup, and monitoring.

  • Expected cost savings: Avoiding revenue loss and productivity loss from outages.

  • Other benefits:
    • Time savings from a highly, or completely, automated update. This is typically the "sweet spot" for migration tools.

    • Reduced complexity and increased reliability of client code when new IBM product features are enabled.

    • Minor performance enhancements that often occur within a version, over time.

The AVP program can provide understanding of migration options and tools to help save time and help reduce project risk.

AVP Considerations for releases and feature packs:
For releases and feature packs, AVP offers:
  • Technical briefings on new features.

  • High-level review of the hardware/software infrastructure to provide recommendations based on published best practices, system requirements, preventive maintenance, etc.

  • Best practices for the migration process, including automation options.

  • Assistance improving processes and operations/infrastructure/development team synergy to deliver and maintain the benefits expected.

AVP is well positioned to engage other IBM resources to help address client needs.

Low Cost/Incremental Benefit: Applying fix packs to the existing release
The lowest cost/benefit upgrade is to apply a fix pack, cumulative fix, or update:
  • Planning steps include: Researching maintenance impact, setup, and monitoring.

  • Expected cost savings: Avoiding revenue loss and productivity loss from outages.

  • Other benefits:
    • Increased stability and potentially improved performance provided by fixes.

Periodically installing fix packs is encouraged as a best practice but is frequently omitted by clients. The AVP program can provide defect tracking reports to indicate the benefit of installing new fix packs in the lifetime of solutions.

Deploying Interim Fixes
All of the previously discussed options are proactive, in that clients are planning for potential benefits and weighing costs. However, there are times when time, budget, etc. call for installing a specific fix for a specific problem experienced in production, or a known issue problem that can't be allowed to occur in production (for example, a fix for a possible denial of service attack). Cost/benefit analysis is typically limited or not required.

In these cases, AVP is ready to help understand the scope of a known problem and the urgency of applying the fix.

IBM does not recommend installing large numbers of interim fixes on a system, since combinations of interim fixes are rarely tested together. The smallest unit of fully regression tested fixes is typically a fix pack. In cases where a fix pack includes an urgently needed fix, AVP will advocate Applying a fix pack to the existing version option.

Summary
In all these cases, the AVP program will act as an advocate in dealing with IBM and can facilitate/enhance communication across organizational boundaries: clients, IBM organizations, other vendors and interested parties. While we cannot take the place of a project manager, we can be engaged to:
  • Communicate best practices.

  • Assist with setting up monitoring and support processes.

  • Assist with building appropriate documentation of the configuration, including dependencies.

  • Communicate and publish support information relevant to applications.

  • Share new developments for the evolution of IT infrastructure (may require non-disclosure agreement).

  • Monitor and manage IBM defect resolution process for Problem Management Records (PMRs), and assist with escalation (when required).

AVP can be a partner during upgrade planning and deployment.

Appendix: Learn more about types of IBM deliverables:
WebSphere Application Server example: http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27012749





Customer Alerts Make Your Deployments and Changes Visible to IBM
Written by: Kim Cook-Boyd, Lee Perlov and Sarah MacIntosh

This article describes how you can increase your visibility within IBM Support and Development, and save time when resolving your Problem Management Records (PMRs).

Are you planning for an upcoming release weekend or migration where a mission-critical environment is at increased risk? Leverage the IBM Software Group Customer Alert process, so IBM Support can plan ahead as well. Creating a Customer Alert allows IBM Support to anticipate workloads during periods critical to our clients to ensure you will get the support you need, when you need it. Also, when you open a PMR, Support will already have a concise summary of your business impact for all related PMRs, increasing attention to your PMRs.

The simple three-step process to create and leverage a Customer Alert is as follows.

Step 1 - Open Customer Alert prior to the deployment/change period

Contact your Accelerated Value Program representative and provide the following key information about your upcoming deployment that will be needed to open an alert:

  • The environment changes (overview)
  • Your contacts (7x24 contacts)
  • Relevant system information (IBM product versions, OS version, non-IBM software in the configuration)
  • Business impact (risk if a problem occurs)

Your Accelerated Value Leader or Specialist will communicate these changes to the focused customer-care support team. This ensures the proper staffing will be in place to proactively support any issues that may occur during a critical time in your company's business.


Step 2 - Ensure your organization knows their responsibilities

To get maximum value from a Customer Alert, your team members will also need to know their responsibilities and prepare as follows:

  • Ensure you have at least one person for each shift on the Named Caller list.
  • Make sure your Named Callers have access to the IBM Service Request (SR) Web application and are able to submit PMRs electronically in order to upload specific data (such as logs) and download any files IBM Support may provide for your environment (for example, diagnostic tools).
  • Ensure Named Callers understand the IBM Support and Escalation processes. See the previous Management Corner article entitled AVP, PMRs and Escalation for a short explanation.
  • Know your Accelerated Value Program representatives. Your Accelerated Value Leader can provide you with a Quick Reference that includes contact information for all the Accelerated Value Program professionals associated with your account.

Step 3 - Open Accelerated Value Program PMR when problem occurs

  • Open a PMR using an Accelerated Value Program IBM Customer Number (ICN). Using an Accelerated Value Program ICN raises visibility to both your Accelerated Value Program team and IBM Support.
  • Remind IBM Support to use the Customer Alert to ensure your business impact is understood; this will alert IBM Support to treat your PMR with appropriate urgency.
  • Make sure the team member opening the PMR is a Named Caller and is engaged or available to work with IBM Support during the deployment.

Partnering with the Accelerated Value Program to proactively engage IBM and prepare your team will help you save time and reduce risk. The Customer Alert is an important tool in contributing to a successful partnership.

Learn more: IBM Software Support Handbook





Proactive Assessments
Written by: Jonathan S. Ricci, Lee Perlov, Tiffanie Watkins and Lesley McLoughlin

As the Accelerated Value Program evolves we are working to formalize the proactive, forward-thinking assessments we deliver to help Accelerated Value clients address pain points and reduce risks. We are currently defining the scope and process for the following three new Accelerated Value Program Proactive Assessment deliverables that Accelerated Value Program clients can request from their Accelerated Value team.

  1. Initial Assessment: This is an assessment of a new client's environment where information is gathered to understand the usage of IBM products in place, including workload and potential pain points.
  2. Health Assessment: The objective of this assessment is to determine the wellness of the environment from efficiencies to inefficiencies when compared to published best practices. We look for indications of possible capacity issues, risk of encountering known and high-impact defects, and exposure to any known security issues. Data is collected and then compared to published best practices along with recommendations reported. The scope of the health assessment is adapted to each individual client's needs within the limits of the Accelerated Value Program contract deliverables.
  3. Risk Assessment: With this assessment, we leverage published documentation about IBM products (such as best practices, detailed system requirements, or IBM identified critical situations) to determine if an environment has any exposure to risks, such as a single point of failure in architecture, security risk, being in an unsupported mode, or missing key fix packs or APARs. Your IBM Accelerated Value team has the knowledge and experience to identify the possibility of an outage or a disaster recovery scenario due to factors such as known defects or high-risk configuration settings.

We hope you will find these new Proactive Assessment deliverables valuable additions to the proactive, preventive, and personalized services you currently receive from the Accelerated Value Program. Contact your Accelerated Value Leader to learn more.





Learn how to use skills transfer to grow your team
Written by: Chris Dacombe, Emma Bushby, Brian Cook. Lee Perlov, Lesley McLoughlin

How do you grow the technical skills of your team members?

Did you know that one of the most important proactive activities your Accelerated Value Program (AVP) team can provide is in the area of skills transfer?

The AVP team has the following current mechanisms in place to provide skills transfer knowledge:

1. Customized Skills Transfer

Each client has different needs where customized skills transfer is needed. For instance: The client may be going to a new release and requires understanding of new features and differences, or there may be a pattern that shows up in PMRs over a period of time or, there may be specific areas that the client has asked for. In all these cases AVP can provide customized sessions.

An example of an AVP customized skills transfer would be: one that was created for a large client in order to address a skills gap that was identified in the way that they maintained their environment. In this case, AVP delivered monthly skills transfer sessions focused on increasing problem determination skills, product knowledge, and understanding of new features. Here are some of the topics which were covered for this client:

  • WebSphere eXtreme Scale v8.5 – Overview and New Features
  • WebSphere Application Server v8.5 - Overview and New Features
  • WebSphere Application Server Automation and Scripting
  • WebSphere Application Server Problem Determination and Root Cause Analysis
  • Java Troubleshooting and Tooling
  • Java Performance Tuning and Issues and Performance Troubleshooting
  • Best Practices working with Level 2 Support and Improving Time to Resolution

For more information on customized skills transfers contact your AVP representative to discuss your needs.

2. Tech Talks: “Expert Call Series”

The Expert Call Series is a series of technical calls specifically set up for AVP clients. Past talks from the WebSphere brand:

  • WebSphere Application Server V8.5 features, capabilities & benefits of migration
  • WebSphere BPM Error Handling and Solution Recovery
  • Accelerate With Cloud Computing
  • WebSphere Application Server Administration Using Jython

Future planned WebSphere sessions:
  • WebSphere Application Server v7 and v8 Performance Tuning
  • WebSphere MQ Troubleshooting and Tools
For more information on the WebSphere AVP Tech Talks, see: http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27038322

3. IBM conference event created hands-on workshops

Impact is the IBM WebSphere brand annual software and technical conference. At Impact every year the AVP team presents a number of technical sessions.

All these sessions are available to you and can be presented to your team. Contact your AVP representative for more information.

For a full list of available sessions, see: http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27025014

4. AVP Seminar Comes to YOU

Similar to the Impact conference workshops, AVP sets up customized onsite sessions for clients in a particular geographic region. Past sessions have included:

  • Java Troubleshooting
  • WebSphere Application Server Migration to version 8.5
  • Several hands on labs
For more information see Getting the most from on-site days.


5. Other technical presentations available shared by the AVP team

Not everyone is able to attend the Impact conference or to keep up with sources such as the IBM Support Portal or developerWorks. The AVP team has access to all of this material and can provide you with presentations and articles that may be of interest.


6. Engaging Subject Matter Experts

In cases where there is a deep dive requirement, AVP will reach out and engage Subject Matter Experts to talk to clients. Some recent examples of this include:
  • Looking to use IBM Support Assistant (ISA) v5 in a non-standard way with some requirements. AVP engaged the ISA Architect and a lead developer to discuss how the product could be used to solve the clients use case.
  • Looking to use the Application Optimization Feature with a WebSphere DataPower XI52 Appliance. AVP engaged the product architect and members of the development team to discuss the product and to review the customer architecture

Please note, that AVP skills transfer compliments the day to day business needs through the program but it does not replace formal IBM Education classes (see ibm.com/education). Although we are using WebSphere as an example here, the concepts would apply to all of the Software Accelerated Value Program brands.




Getting the most from on-site days
Written by: Jai-Leta Colvard, Lee Perlov, Lesley McLoughlin, Brian Cook

The Accelerated Value Program (AVP) is even more effective when on-site days are used to drive your business goals. In addition, on-site days help build a better understanding of your environment and a stronger partnership that aids in providing innovative solutions.

AVP recommends using on-site days for planning/proactive efforts. Emergency on-site days are generally used to react to critical challenges, such as outages or deployment issues.

Some suggested uses of on-site days:
  • Analysis of system requirements based on your business needs, recommending best practices to help meet your goals
  • Skills transfer, including hands-on labs
  • Product adoption and feature enablement planning
  • Migration planning and implementation
  • Support of pre-production and production deployments
Note: Typically, emergency on-site days are used when engaging AVP on short notice.
Examples of successful client engagements:
  • AVP delivered on-site a hands-on lab using client machines in order to speed automation through use of scripting
  • AVP delivered on-site support during a deployment to create a strong IBM presence, getting all of the client's technical teams (system administrators, DBA, developers, etc.) working together to complete the deploy tasks in 5 days instead of the previously required 10 days
  • AVP delivered on-site migration plans, skills assessment, and provided best practice recommendations. Based on the results of the skills assessment, this client requested a follow-up visit for skills transfer
  • AVP delivered on-site support and risk management during scheduled deploy events in order to expedite problem resolution for any issues that occurred. As a result, this client used on-site days for ALL major deploys
  • A client regularly utilized emergency on-site days to expedite resolution during critical outages and deploys that impacted multiple lines of business. AVP worked as a single point of contact for IBM to collect data, identify circumventions, expedite root cause, and provide post-mortem

Engage your AVP team TODAY in planning the use of future on-site days to:
  • Better align AVP delivery with your business needs
  • Accelerate deploying IBM software
  • Achieve your long-term business goals





AVP, PMRs and Escalation
Written by: Lee Perlov

AVP and PMRs
One of the top priorities of the Accelerated Value Program (AVP) is to provide proactive support. Of course, you can't think about proactive support when you have to overcome problems, so we also help with PMRs.

As part of the IBM labs that develop and support IBM products, AVP offers the advantage of having a close working relationship with the engineers that work these PMRs. We also have a deep understanding of the IBM lab processes. We leverage these relationships and this knowledge to save you time.

You are already entitled to PMR resolution through annual software maintenance renewal programs, such as Passport Advantage. AVP delivers added value to the PMR process through:
  • Providing project management for collections of related PMRs.

  • Delivering PMR trend analysis, identifying issues such as reoccurring problems using default JVM memory settings.

  • Tracking delivery and deployment of fixes.

  • Expediting/escalating PMRs.

Solutions or circumventions to PMRs are not always found as quickly as your business requires. AVP can assist with expediting resolution by sharing our deep understanding of your business with Level 2, Level 3 and Development. We can:
  • Explain your constraints and challenges, such as requiring a root cause before implementing a circumvention.

  • Communicate environmental factors that Support needs to consider as they work the problem.

  • Apply additional problem determination skills, taking unique approaches based on our understanding of your environment.

  • Expedite a PMR by communicating with subject matter experts, team leads and managers within the lab.

  • Help you leverage the IBM escalation process.

AVP and Escalation
If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of PMR handling (e.g., responsiveness, time to resolve, quality of support), the IBM Software Support Handbook explains the IBM escalation process: http://www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/set2/sas/f/handbook/getsupport.html#9

However, each client situation is unique. Please discuss the best escalation approach for you with your AVL.

There are many avenues for escalations. AVP's unique understanding of the PMR lifecycle enhances our ability to be your single point of contact, maximizing the effectiveness of the PMR process.

Summary
Resolving problems is the foundation upon which all proactive support is built. We are here to help you leverage the IBM escalation process, address the issues, and partner with you to avoid future problems.





Related information

IBM Software Accelerated Value Progam
WebSphere Accelerated Value Program
Contact Accelerated Value Team

Cross reference information
Segment Product Component Platform Version Edition
Host Transaction Processing CICS Transaction Server
Application Servers WebSphere Application Server for z/OS
Application Servers WebSphere Extended Deployment
Application Servers WebSphere Virtual Enterprise
Business Integration WebSphere Adapters
Business Integration WebSphere Business Monitor
Business Integration WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus
Business Integration WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances
Business Integration IBM ILOG Views
Business Integration WebSphere Message Broker
Business Integration WebSphere MQ
Business Integration WebSphere Process Server
Business Integration WebSphere Service Registry and Repository
Business Integration WebSphere Integration Developer
Business Integration WebSphere Business Modeler
Business Integration WebSphere InterChange Server
Business Integration WebSphere Lombardi Edition
Business Integration IBM Business Process Manager Standard
Business Integration IBM Business Process Manager Advanced
Networking Communications Server for AIX
Application Servers WebSphere eXtreme Scale
Host Transaction Processing CICS Transaction Gateway
Business Integration IBM CloudBurst
Application Servers IBM Workload Deployer
Business Integration IBM Operational Decision Manager
Application Servers PureApplication System
Business Integration WebSphere Cast Iron Cloud integration
Mobile- Speech and Enterprise Access IBM Mobile Foundation

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Document information


More support for:

WebSphere Application Server

Software version:

7.0, 8.0, 8.5, 8.5.5

Operating system(s):

AIX, HP-UX, IBM i, Linux, Windows, i5/OS, z/OS

Reference #:

7024991

Modified date:

2014-01-22

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