IBM's Useless Website and Lack of User Focus

The other day, after about a week of hacking around with WebSphere (a crap product at best) I'd had enough. IBM's website is terrible, and their search engine never finds what you want (and they've locked out Google so you can't use that instead). I decided to complain/ask how I'm supposed to find stuff...

Here's what I wrote (into the website feedback box):

    Your website is really hard to use for anything "advanced". Finding "marketing" level information is relatively easy, but any technical information just elludes me every time I try to find anything.

    I'm a (trained) WebSphere administrator. I want to find wsadmin scripts related to WAS security. I've been working on a project for about a week now. I'd describe this as "should be easy" - I simply want to script the configuration and enabling of WAS security so that it can be run on numerous servers easily. I'm a competent programmer, so this shouldn't be difficult. In any other circumstances, I'd estimate about a day of work to do something like this. I've been battling with this for far longer than that, which isn't good for me as a professional, or good for you, since I can't provide a means to make Websphere do what has (reasonably) been expected of it.

    Please can you explain to me how and where to find the following items:

    - any documentation about wsadmin and programming it in scripts (official documentation, like a programming guide, would be nice)

    - Any example scripts, possibly related to my goal, but frankly anything would help (because I have no documentation as yet)

    - An article which Google still has in it's cache, on a "pipermail" service. The thread is called "Function patch: WAS and IDS integration", dated 11th June, 2003. This thread seems to contain exactly what I need, but it's not formatted properly, and I'd like to see any surrounding information to decide if I should use this or not. Google finds this one result if you search for "wsadmin "generate ltpa keys"".

    This is not the first time I've had these sorts of problems. Google used to be fairly good at helping out, but it seems you've stopped Google indexing * (at least any of the useful stuff). It also seems stuff moves around constantly, as links I've received from colleages no longer work.

    The demise of Google is a real problem. Your own search engine is appauling. Try searching for the article thread above - I cannot believe there are>8000 results that contain the phrase "WAS and IDS integration".

    I would very much like to hear how I'm supposed to do this. I imagine a company the size of IBM considers the way users interact with their website, so can you tell me what you're expecting me to do (clearly I'm not doing it intuitively, otherwise I'd have been successful).

    Looking forward to your response (but mostly the location of those documents!)

    (I'm using my personal email as my employer's opinions do not yet include mine on the subject)

And here's what I got back...

    Dear Ralph,
    Thank you for contacting IBM. We are in receipt of your e-mail requesting assistance regarding your inquiry. We would be glad to assist you in this matter, however, you have reached the contact forum for general, nontechnical inquiries. As such, please call IBM SERV at 1-800-426-7378 for further assistance and to speak with an IBM technician. IBM SERV is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Thank you for visiting our site and contacting IBM.

    Electronic Response Center or USA General Inquiries: 1-800-IBM-4YOU, Shopping Assistance: 1-888-SHOP-IBM CALLOWN Log Number: 3398103

You'll note there's no mention of anything to do with my feedback. There's no mention that they even give a toss about my comments. More importantly to me though, there's no helpful tips on how I might go about finding what I want. And thus, they break the golden rule: If a customer asks for help, give it!

Submitted by coofercat on Wed, 2004-12-15 01:05


IBM's Useless Website and Lack of User Focus

They also seem to completely disregard the fact that you might possibly be located outside of the United States.

To be honest, it looks like a bog standard answer that has been copied and pasted from the instruction book for call centre staff. I had exactly the same problem this morning trying to look for information on IBM's web site. Luckily for me I wasn't looking for anything too technical and the marketting info was just what I needed.

I suppose what they want you to do is buy a support contract before you start asking techie questions, rather than letting you find the information by yourself. This prompts a few conclusions: WebSphere's wsadmin is so un-intuitive that you can't do things easily with it; the related documentation that you would expect in such a product is non-existant or doesn't extend to complex stuff; IBM want you to believe there is "black magic" involved in doing anything difficult with WebSphere because it is extremely complex, rather than admitting some stuff are complex to do with it because it is extremely badly designed, or at least not designed with users in mind. Why am I not surprised?

Submitted by Bruno (not verified) on Mon, 2004-12-20 14:56.