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Custom Technical Support

Successful business environments are growing more complex every day, and so are the IT systems that support them. The possibility for business disruptions has increased exponentially, and so have the ramifications. The devastating consequences of system failures can include:

  • Loss of revenue
  • Loss and/or damage to mission-critical data
  • Diminished productivity
  • Increased costs for resiliency improvements
  • Potential litigation expenses
  • Degraded trust from key stakeholders
  • Damage to client brand and reputation

IBM Power Systems* servers are robust, dependable products that are designed for complex IT environments running mission-critical applications in a highly optimized, secure manner. They have the ability to scale based on changing workload requirements. Having this robust platform as a core element of an IT solution is a great start to business continuity and resiliency.

Additional Support Needed

The best way to increase resiliency, reduce risk and lower operational costs is to use IBM technical support to supplement in-house resources in terms of the breadth of skills, depth of knowledge and availability to handle problems quickly. Even if organizations have a strong business continuity program, insufficient levels of technical support can put them at risk on a day-to-day basis.

Organizations must incorporate a sufficient level of external technical support into their business resiliency and continuity plans to mitigate outages and costly downtime. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, sponsored by Vertiv (formerly Emerson Network Power), the average cost for a single outage has increased by almost 40 percent over the last few years to approximately $740,000 (bit.ly/2s4TcYm). Having a holistic technical support solution focused on server, storage, network and application availability is critical. The solution should include the following critical support elements:

  • Integrated hardware and software support
  • Cross platform and multivendor product support
  • Proactive support to minimize the business impact of problems and costly downtime
  • Managed support
  • Rapid expert response and problem resolution for unavoidable issues

A technical support solution that includes hardware, software and cross-platform multivendor support enables the most efficient problem determination and problem source identification (PD/PSI). Having a single technical support provider enables faster problem resolution and eliminates the frustration of bouncing around between various hardware and software vendors and managing multiple vendor agreements.

Proactive support is critical to mitigate the impact of technical issues like data corruption, disk failures, application outages, network problems, and software and/or hardware system failures. An OS without the latest patches and fixes installed can spread a virus to backup servers. Likewise, an older version of microcode on a server can cause failures when new applications are installed. Proactive microcode and software release management can help prevent failures and remove complexity.

Managed support is also a key ingredient to a resilient technical support solution. Having an account manager who understands a client’s entire IT ecosystem, support needs, associated product life cycles, environmental change management and emergency maintenance positions is key to a successful technical support solution. Account managers should regularly review all of these items with their clients to ensure high IT availability.

Lastly, a core requirement of any technical support solution should be rapid response and problem resolution. If a problem arises, a timely response by a highly skilled technical team should bring the issue to a resolution quickly.

Robert Laraman is an executive for U.S. Technology Software Support Services at IBM with over 22 years of experience with Software Support Delivery, Operations and Sales.

Seamus Keane is the business executive for all Technology Support Services for all U.S. enhanced services on Linux on z Systems, Power Systems and Storage. Seamus has many years of experience across all aspects of enhanced services—delivery, operations and sales.

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