IBM’s System i and System x Technical Support Teams Win Accolades
November 20, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The support for IBM systems and servers is legendary. One of the reasons why Big Blue has been able to command a premium–particularly on its proprietary platforms–is the hand-holding that system engineers and back-end technical support operations give to customers to buy IBM’s boxes. And once again, the System i support operation has been selected by its peers in the support community to receive a Star Award; the System x division has received its first such award.
The Star Awards are given by the Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA). The first award was given in 1989, and it is based on super-secret tech support statistics that member companies provide to the association under a non-disclosure agreement. Rather than pick a company to get a Star Award based on voting by customers, the award is based on the support statistics that companies use to manage their support operations. The SSPA currently nearly 200 member companies, many of which are well-known technology product suppliers.
As we reported last October, the Rochester, Minnesota, labs that provide back-end support for the AS/400, iSeries, and System i machines won the Star Award for Sustained Performance, one of seven categories, and it won in that category again this year. The Sustained Performance award goes to the company that shows outstanding service and support for three years, which means IBM Rochester can win it again next year if it keeps up the good work. Of course, this year IBM Rochester had to share the award with Hewlett-Packard‘s support organization.
IBM’s System x support operations in Raleigh, North Carolina, also took home a Star Award for High Call Volume to support the System x and BladeCenter servers and IntelliStation workstations; this award was shared with Microsoft‘s customer service and support operation for consumer customers. The high volume award goes to an organization that supports more than 10,000 requests per month while retaining high customer satisfaction ratings. The System x organization averages more than 48,000 calls per month, according to IBM. (I keep wondering if that is a good thing or a bad thing myself. . . .)
Instrumentation maker Tektronix won the Star Award for Complex Support (usually for very technical products and very technical customers), while database maker Oracle won the award for Innovative Support (meaning it has cutting-edge support systems). In the Mission Critical Support category, disk array maker EMC won because it had the best metrics showing 24×7 uptime for its products; EMC was inducted into the SSPA hall of fame because it has won its fifth award as well. Personal accounting software maker Intuit won the Most Improved award in the 2006 rankings. In the WebStar Service category, which is given specifically for Web-based customer support operations, Oracle and HP had to share the award this year based on their statistics.