The last few years have seen a steady stream of improvements made to the online Support experience on ibm.com, but one of the biggest upgrades has just been made to the search engine powering Support Portal. A shortlist of the highlights:
- improved relevance
- keyword matches more clearly highlighted
- 5 star document level rating data
- much cleaner UI
- ability to set the number of results per page (default is 20, but 50 and 100 are options)
In terms of best practices when searching, most of it is common sense but bears repeating:
- searching on a specific error code will bring back highly relevant results each time
- searching on a specific error message works best when the entire string is wrapped in "quotes"
- if the question you have or issue you are facing is not based on an error, start off with simple search terms, then do one or more of the following to narrow down the scope of your search results:
- refine the query (more specific if you're getting too many results, fewer words or more general terms if you aren't getting enough results)
- check one or more functional TASKs associated with the document, one or more Content Types
- under Subject, check the primary product you are concerned with (since the search results will include documents that have an association noted with this product but were not the primary focus when authored)
- try to use more than one word when coming up with a search query (unless you are getting very few, or no results)
- although most of the support content found on ibm.com does not require a valid login, you will be unable to view "open" (i.e. unresolved) APARs unless you are logged in as a customer with entitlements to the product that document is based upon.
- if you want to save or share the search results with a colleague, you can either bookmark or copy/paste the parameterized URL that is generated from the search query.
There will always be people who prefer to "search from outside" using their usual search engine of choice such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. Keep in mind that there are millions of documents on ibm.com and the only way to narrow your search results to the product(s) of interest to you is by using the Support Portal. That said, if you still want to use an external search engine, it is highly recommended that you add a site filter to the search query used, so that you can at least restrict the search results to the target domain. For example, the search query site:ibm.com CAM-AAA-0071 will only bring back results that refer to this error code and are found within ibm.com. You could extend that to something like site:ibm.com/developerworks if you wanted to be even more specific and work with content like our Proven Practices library that resides on developerWorks.
If you aren't already using Support Portal on a daily basis for all your BA support related needs, there's never been a better time to try it out. You can either start from the simple ibm.com/support shortcut URL, or follow this link which will pre-populate Support Portal with the products shown in the screenshots above.
If you'd like to know more about the IBM Support Portal in general, we recommend that you browse the resources available on the IBM Electronic Support site at www.ibm.com/electronicsupport. For a view of all these resources from a Business Analytics customer's point of view, please visit our BA Support site at ibm.com/analytics/support.