Anecdotal evidence suggests that IBM customers are waiting longer than ever to receive solutions to their software support technical issues - by which time most have been forced to create their own workarounds. Without a proper solution to these issues, operational efficiency is decreased – and the risk of a security breach or failure greatly increased.
Considering the fact that maintenance contract costs continue to escalate annually, this situation is completely unacceptable. Many customers are left feeling like they are paying IBM for support services, and receiving nothing in return.
For a massive blue chip organisation, maximum profitability from maintenance contracts is ensured by delivering the minimum level of support expected by customers. Delivering no support is completely unacceptable however – eventually users will begin to reconsider their commitment to a particular vendor if that loyalty is not reciprocated.
So, what is wrong at IBM?
IBM customer support
For IBM customers seeking support for older software platforms, the cause of these delays is clear – IBM simply does not have the expertise required to solve incoming support queries. Recent cost-cutting measures, and change in corporate strategy has seen thousands of jobs cut. Among the most heavily hit groups are the software engineers responsible for supporting “legacy” systems.
New Collar Jobs – new recruits, no new solutions
But while experienced software engineers are leaving the company, IBM has introduced a “New Collar Jobs” program to inject fresh blood into their workforce. Indeed talent doesn’t come much fresher than recent graduates – the only demographic eligible for entry to the program.
As IBM transitions from legacy giant to Cloud-based service provider, they need a workforce capable of adjusting quickly to keep up with rapidly evolving strategies. New Collar recruits are being selected for their “soft” skills, the ability to transition quickly into new roles quickly, as and when their jobs are automated.
Stanley Litow, president of the IBM Foundation, is on record saying, “It is going to be important to have some specific skill in a technology area perhaps, or a familiarity with it. But the more valuable employee will likely be the one with "the ability to adapt and grown and learn.”
The problem with New Collar is that although these New Collar recruits are clearly talented individuals, they do not possess the expertise and real-world experience required to solve the technical challenges of legacy customers. And in all likelihood, they never will because legacy system and software support is not a focal point of IBM strategy moving forwards.
As such, there is virtually no prospect of legacy users seeing an improvement in the level of service they receive. IBM will always be happy to take customers’ money for a maintenance contract – even if they lack the technical resources required to actually deliver support. Especially if customers continue to renew year after year, despite the poor service they receive.
Time to reconsider support provisions
Waiting over a year for IBM to resolve issues is simply unfeasible – and financially indefensible. If IBM do not have the technical expertise in-house to deal with support requests quickly, customers should look elsewhere.
The skills your business needs to support legacy software has not completely disappeared however – it just cannot be found at IBM any more. Which means that the only way to secure a speedy resolution to technical issues is to look outside Big Blue.
Indeed, third party maintenance providers like Origina have been busy recruiting IBM software engineers with legacy system experience. In this way customers are guaranteed access to support for their older applications, in a more timely fashion than their current experience with IBM.
To learn more about why third party IBM maintenance services make much more sense, and how quickly you can expect issues to be resolved, please get in touch.