back to article IBM launching American-only software support

IBM is rolling out a new software support package manned entirely by United States citizens. Big Blue says its Software Secure Support via USA Citizens option provides tech support as well as data analysis and call data contained in an isolated US network untouched by foreign intents. The offer will be available October 1 to …


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  1. Ian Michael Gumby

    Smoke and mirrors...

    IBM's Information Management Lab services support (L2 and L3) are done via Markham labs (DB2) in Toronto and Lenexa (Informix). God only knows where IBM's L1 support is being handled.

    IBM inherited Informix's 'Follow the Sun' support where there was live L2 and L3 support for Informix products and you'd get someone around the globe for after hours support. DB2 has been always supported out of Markham regardless of the time of day. (This could have changed in the last couple of years, but I doubt it.)

    Clearly IBM is starting to realize that People want same shore support and that off shoring of these roles isn't a good idea.

    An alien because doing a smart job of creating a global workforce is alien to IBM.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    same same....

    didn't I read somewhere that Telstra Australia have a simiar option for their customers, for an additional fee each month you will be forwarded to an Aussie only helpdesk.

    begs the question when does nationalism become racism ???

  3. Sarah Millin
    IT Angle

    British Columbia

    The capital of British Columbia is Victoria. And last time I checked, B.C. is still part of Canada. Why Americans would be asking what the "capitol" of British Columbia is to verify the call centre is located in the States is beyond me.

    I hope the IBM move is not the beginnning of a trend in the industry. I make a lot of money off from folks who don't want their technical support to be in the Phillipines or India or god knows where.


  4. Jean-Luc

    British Columbia's capital???

    ... is Victoria, on Vancouver Island. No, not Vancouver, the city, which is the biggest city, but not the capital. Confused?

    Now, given that Americans often can't name their own state's capital, why would IBM be asking them the one for BC, which is in Canada?

    Are we due to become the 51st state soon?

  5. Nick 6
    Jobs Halo

    But how?

    I thought there weren't any skills available to IBM, HP/EDS etc....that's why they had to bring container loads of 'skilled' H1B visa fillers ashore to help us out of our jobs. So how are they going to fill the positions?

  6. Ole Juul

    Correct answer

    "... and what's the capitol of British Columbia (correct answer: I have no idea)."

    Nailed it!

  7. Zub

    This isn't so new...

    I don't mean to seem blunt but this isnt so new. Many large companies have the concept of "ONSHORE", "BOARDED" or "LOCALIZED" customers and have done for years. Some help desks I have worked on use these terms so the customers are never routed offshore.

    Some may see this as racism but it is merely to ensure no other country is aware of issues a customer (ie government ) is having. Not many countries would want citizens of another country knowing that their systems are weakened or their capacities. Any race of people are able to work on the helpdesk, as long as they are citizens of that country.

  8. Stephen Gray

    @ Jean-Luc

    You'll have to become the 52nd state as that twat Tony Blair sold our arse's to George W in order to become his bitch making us the 51st

  9. Owen Milton

    British Columbia

    To answer all the people asking why people from the US are tested, it's a joke... If they actually KNOW the answer then clearly they are not proper Americans and are clearly Terrorists or Commie Mutant Traitors or whatever the buzzword is these days.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @Jean-Luc - British Columbia's capital???

    Are we due to become the 51st state soon?

    Not unless you have oil.

    Oh wait, you have you're in.

    Not if you:

    talk funny

    dress funny

    eat strange food

    ok, you're out again.

    What redeeming features do you have?

    Stephen Gray says you can only be 52? That's ok, good. You're all safe now.

    Do you really have a capital?

    just kidding...we don't want neither o' you heathens

    we'll only let in those nice penguins

  11. Chris C

    @AC re: same, same...

    "didn't I read somewhere that Telstra Australia have a simiar option for their customers, for an additional fee each month you will be forwarded to an Aussie only helpdesk.

    begs the question when does nationalism become racism ???"

    Actually, no it doesn't. You apparently have never had to call a help desk and be connected to a foreign call center (read: India). I'm not racist, but I don't want my calls routed to India, and the reason is simple: I have a difficult time understanding them due to their accent, and they apparently have a difficult time understanding me. It was similar when I worked at a small computer shop and one of their distributors' reps was Asian and had a very heavy accent -- I couldn't understand them when they called. If I can't communicate with the person on the other end of the phone, then the connection is useless. Period.

    Also, the desire for people to see jobs kept or created locally or nationally versus in a foreign land is not a racist idea. It simply means that people want to help their local or national economy and community instead of seeing their neighbor get evicted because he lost his job so that a CEO can bring home a bigger paycheck. Racism is hating people because of their race. Wanting local or national jobs has nothing to do with hatred.

  12. BioTube

    Did anybody else see

    The fact that this service meets federal security guidelines? From where I'm sitting, Big Blue created it for Uncle Sam and's letting commercial clients use it to help pay the extra cost of the phonejockies - and the Toby Keith albums.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Those who oppose the outsourcing of US-based airline jobs overseas as U.S unemployment figures reach alarming levels, got another shot of good news recently when Delta Air Lines disclosed that it has stopped using an Indian-based call center to handle sales and reservations, bringing the work back to U.S. soil because customers were unhappy.

    Delta joined United Airlines in deciding that the cost benefits of handling calls offshore are outweighed by the backlash from customers. Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive, told employees in a recorded message that “customer acceptance of call center representatives in other countries was low, and our customers are not shy about letting us have that feedback.” Customers had complained they had trouble communicating with Indian agents.

  14. stizzleswick
    Thumb Down

    Silly, really.

    This must be due to some sort of U.S. inferiority complex, IMHO. Some ten years ago, I was working for a German company and occasionally needed IBM support. Their German support number has a Stuttgart area code... and back then got me re-routed to Ireland, where friendly and competent multilinguists (mostly Germans) were available around the clock.

    I particularly remember one call at approx. 2 am on a Saturday when I had a rather pressing problem with a software installation issue, and the support chaps in Ireland actually copied the hardware I was working on (or trying to) at the time overnight and sent me a working software fix within less than 24 hours. And no, that was not a big company I was working for.

    Given that kind of support, why do I need anything "local?" Most companies these days can't be buggered to offer anything more than a checklist-for-known-errors approach with a probable outcome of "sorry, can't help you there" from maybe 7 am through 6 pm.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM Launching American only support

    Before I retired I had many many occasions in the last say 35 years to talk with IBM support people.

    It took a *LONG* time but IBM finally stepped up to bat with excellent support for any of the products I dealt with (many many many). Approximately 10-15 years ago I opened a problem and was surprised when I got a call back from IBM ... but from a foreign country. I asked my question and got back a surely answer "How dare you question this?" I was shocked as it was really and truly the rudest person I have ever gotten from IBM. When you feel you have not been treated fairly (like I was) you can call the duty manager and ask for him to look into the issue. He listens to both sides and then calls you back with either an apology and a new person to talk with or explains why you were treated badly. Needless to say a duty manager holds a lot of sway in IBM support land. I have always found them to be honest and truthful. Of course there are times that the answer is not what you want to hear and then you escalate but I have never had reason to do so (if a duty manager was involved).

    Previously (25 or so years ago) I was offered a job at a US Government agency that routinely handled top secret and above information. As part of my job I always called IBM support and went over diagnostic "procedures" and I asked how did they do it since the computer held classified data and how did you communicate with IBM over bugs etc. I was told that you do not since the person on the other end of the phone might not be an American. I thought it was really hindering my ability to get the job done so I could not do my job effectively.

    This change might make it easier for government (some) to do their jobs better and more efficiently.

    It also might help IBM get rid of some of their .. well lest say less than good support people.

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