IBM Configurator for e-business e-config Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Hints, and Tips

About the IBM Configurator for e-business (e-config)

Is the IBM Configurator for e-business faster than predecessor configuration tools?

The end-to-end process for producing and submitting a valid configuration is comparable between the IBM Configurator for e-business and legacy tools. Individual functions might take longer than they did in legacy tools; however, many additional end-user configuration tasks are incorporated into e-config to improve overall end-to-end productivity. These features include configuration comparisons grouped into portfolios, creation of schematic drawings, and the transmission of the configuration within the overall fulfillment process. The tool is consistent across hardware platforms, so training time is diminished. The end-to-end process, combined with the additional function available in the IBM Configurator for e-business, results in overall productivity gains after users are familiar with the tool.

Is software included in the IBM Configurator for e-business?

Software that is associated with a particular brand, such as iSeries and AS/400 and pSeries and RS/6000 is included in the product model. The user has the option to configure brand-related software as part of that brand overall configuration process. The exception is zSeries and S/390 and Passport Advantage software. In such cases the hardware is configured using the IBM Configurator for e-business, and software is configured using CFSW or the PassportAdvantage tool.

Are service offerings included in the IBM Configurator for e-business?

A subset of configurable services is available in the IBM Configurator for e-business related to each brand. Services are included with all server brands. If the user chooses not to include IBM Global Services as part of the customer proposal, he or she must specifically remove them from the configuration by going into the Services tab of the Global Settings wizard.

How do I report defects or problems?

Refer to the help desk pages of this web site by clicking Help desk support on the the blue navigation menu to the left.

You can submit a feedback by clicking Help -> Feedback... on the e-config menu bar.

How do I create a back-up copy of my configurations in e-config?

Copying just the existing portfolio database for backup purposes is discouraged. The portfolio database should periodically be backed up as part of the regular scheduled backup procedure of the hard drive on the PC. However, at times it may be necessary to copy the portfolio database in case of a transfer to another PC.

In such cases users can copy and transfer the following files:

What do I do if I need to reinstall the tool?

We suggest you do not uninstall or reinstall e-config without consulting the help desk first. Uninstalling the application should be considered only as a last resort to resolve serious application problems.

The recommended way to uninstall is to choose the uninstall button within the e-padm applet. The uninstall process within e-padm will then remove all files and folders with the exception of the UserData folder and its contents. Please do not uninstall e-config using the Control Panel ("Programs" » "Uninstall Programs" or "Programs" » "Programs and Features").

Can e-config run on Linux®?

e-config is built around technologies that utilize the Microsoft® Windows operating systems and their structures, and cannot run natively on Linux.

Is e-config a 32-bit application, and will it always be?

e-config was developed initially and continues to operate as a 32-bit application. Last year we added the support needed to run the 32-bit e-config under the Windows 7 64-bit operating system, but it runs as a 32-bit application only. It would take a significant re-write of the application to support a native 64-bit OS, which is currently not in scope.

Access, Installation, and Updates

How do I access the IBM Configurator for e-business?

The IBM Configurator for e-business is a PC-based application that is loaded using the e-padm installation tool. These installation utilities are accessed through various web sites, depending on your geography and whether you are a Business Partner, customer, or IBM user.

Your first step should be to subscribe as an IBM Configurator for e-business user by filling out and submitting the subscription form on this web site. Click Subscribe on the blue navigation menu to the left to access the correct form based on whether you are an IBM Business Partner, customer, or employee.

Then click Install/Update on the navigation menu for more information.

What are the Hardware and Software requirements for e-config?

Please see Workstation Requirements for a list of hardware and software needs for installing e-config.

Why is the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) required?

Because e-padm is currently run as an applet, it requires to be executed in the java plugin provided by the installed Java Runtime. We would need to change the entire e-padm function to something other than an applet to no longer require the JRE. It is our desire to change the applet to something better supported, but we have not started any work on this yet.

What are the JRE requirements to install and run e-config?

32-bit JRE (IBM or Oracle) is still required for the e-padm applet to work. Please see Workstation Requirements for supported JRE versions.

Can I use Google Chrome to run e-padm?

Yes, run_epadm.exe has been updated to provide support for the Google Chrome browser. Google Chrome has been tested with the supported Oracle JREs. Download the current version of run_epadm.exe from here.

Is there an installation guide that provides detailed instructions on installing or updating e-config?

The e-config Installation Guidelines provide information and specific steps to update your e-config installation or perform a new first-time install of e-config. It contains specific sections that are targeted for users on a particular supported Operating System (Windows® 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 Pro) and the type of install they are doing (upgrading existing e-config installation, performing a new first-time install on a machine that did not have e-config) and also information on troubleshooting, known problems and limitations. Please read this document prior to starting installation or updating your existing e-config installation. This will help you to perform a successful installation of e-config on a supported workstation platform.(Adobe Reader is required to view this file.)

Are there any key incompatibilities with other software?

e-config is a 32-bit application which can be installed on supported Windows 64-bit platforms. It needs to be installed using a 32-bit supported browser running a 32-bit JRE. Also Microsoft Office 64-bit is incompatible with the underlying technology within e-config and only Microsoft Office 32-bit can be installed on the machine running e-config. Microsoft recommends using 32-bit browser and 32-bit Microsoft Office in Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit platforms to ensure continued compatibility with other 32-bit programs. Please see Workstation Requirements for supported browsers and JRE versions.

What can I do if I have problems getting started with the IBM Configurator for e-business?

If you are having startup problems, click Help desk support on the navigation menu of this web page to learn how to contact the help desk. This will reduce the time-to-resolution for any startup problems you encounter.

How do I determine my current base level code?

Open the e-config folder on your desktop and double-click the Echeck icon. When you do this, the base level number displays at the top of the window. This action also generates an output file c:\econfig\docs\echeck.txt, which you can send to the help desk as an e-mail attachment.

How do I keep up to date with tool issues and code refresh changes?

Refer to the current e-config release note, which can be found by going to the e-config home page from the site from which you download updates, and also on the navigation menu of this website.

You can also subscribe to e-mail updates about the latest information. Click Subscribe on the navigation menu of this web site, complete the appropriate form, and then click Submit.

How do I get updated price files and refreshed code?

Price files and code refreshes are downloaded by repeating the initial installation steps, with the exception of the Preparations page setup actions. Only the files that have changed will be downloaded. Instructions for updating e-config are also available on this site by clicking Install/Update on the navigation menu.

How often do I have to update the price files and application code?

Price updates are released daily, but since prices normally only change on Tuesdays, you can select to update weekly early each Tuesday.

Maintenance releases containing code fixes are normally released once a month.

Subcribed users receive e-mail about code releases, so be sure to subscribe as an IBM Configurator for e-business user by filling out and submitting the subscription form on this web site. Click Subscribe on the navigation menu to access the correct form based on whether you are an IBM Business Partner, customer, or employee.

How long does the update process take?

Update time depends on the connection type and speed, and the number and size of model and price files.

To reduce the update time, download only the model and price files you need; don't download all models and associated price files. You can also update the price files once a week even though the files are updated every day. Price file updates are very fast.

Who will we contact for support with installation problems of IBM Configurator for e-business (e-config)?

If you have installations problems, you should continue to use the IBM Configurator for e-business (e-config) support information found on the web site.

HELPDESK for IBM Business Partners and Employees:
http://www.ibm.com/services/econfig/announce/support.htm

Education

Does the IBM Configurator for e-business provide product information to educate the user on new features?

No. As with the legacy configurators, a user will need to reference announcement letters, redbooks, and other such sources for product information. The release notes with each update list the changes to the e-config tool but not necessarily changes to the product.

Using the tool

Can I e-mail system diagrams as well as configurations?

Yes. The IBM Configurator for e-business enables you to export an enhanced metafile (.emf) representation of the system diagram, which can be saved on your PC. The .emf file can be sent as an attachment to e-mail and can be imported into a word processing or graphics presentation application.

Can I print configuration files, or import them into my company's word processing tools?

Click the right mouse button within the Proposed view text to bring up an option to print. The choice of printer or layout (portrait or landscape) is handled within the resulting Print dialog box.

The IBM Configurator for e-business can produce a configuration report as a *.txt or *.rtf file. Right click the final CFR: item of a configuration, click Export Options..., and follow the prompts. The exported file can then be imported into your word processing application.

Note: Formatting problems with *.txt files can usually be solved by changing the font to a mono space font such as Courier.

How do I access the shortcut menus?

Right-clicking a particular item in e-config often displays a shortcut, or drop-down menu. The shortcut menu options have many dependencies, and only available options will be seen. Right-clicking never causes an action to happen right away; it can only bring up a list of further actions that can be taken. If you don't see what you want to do, it is always safe to try a right mouse click.

Can I use a MRReport file in e-config?

Yes. The .mrr file retrieved using REQMRREPORT can be used to represent a base system especially for zSeries and S/390 servers. This application is available for Business Partners in IBMLink and for IBM internal users in Inventory Services. However, it is generally preferred that you retrieve the system using Inventory Services in order to include any relevant specify codes.

Working with Output

How do I save an e-config portfolio?

Save your portfolio by clicking File -> Save. When you do this, the portfolio is saved in a unique format in the portfolio database that is only recognized by the e-config application. This is a non-shared, single user database for which there are no back up utilities. To ensure that you do not lose any of your configurations, you should export the ones you want to keep and save them as back-up files.

Can I use configurations created with previous releases?

Generally, configurations created with previous releases can be used after the IBM Configurator for e-business has been updated. When the portfolio database is updated, the update process migrates the portfolios to the newer level so that you can select a portfolio from the database to be restored. Most configurations less than a year old can be restored. However, due to changes in the product content or the configurator logic, some configurations might not restore. It is always a prudent practice to create a hardcopy record of each configuration.

How do I view and print the configuration?

After creating and validating a configuration, click the Proposed tab in the configuration views pane to display the configuration report. You can click the bottom-most CFR item under the SYS: item in the portfolio contents list to display the report in a wider format. To print, right click in the report text, and then click Print.

You can also view and print the starting point that the configurator is working with. To view it, click on the top-most CFR listing (under the first entry for the configuration). In the resulting view, right-click in the text and then click Print.

How do I send a configuration to another person for further work or for ordering?

You can export and send an entire portfolio, but these files are quite large. Normally you will want to send individual configurations as either portfolio items (*.pti files) or CFReport files (*.cfr files). These files can be both automatically and manually exported, and the resulting file can then be attached to an e-mail. Normally the receiving user will tell you what file format they require. Portfolio item files can be manually exported by selecting the SYS and right-clicking then selecting the "Export this configuration".

To automatically export portfolio item file (*.pti), select "Profiles" » "System Profile". On the "Portfolio profile" tab, select "Auto-export individual configurations" and save your profile settings. Every time the portfolio is saved, a *.pti file will be automatically exported.

Other types of files, such as *.txt or *.rtf files, can be manually exported. Right- click the bottom-most CFR item of a configuration, click Export Options..., and follow the prompts. The exported file(s) can then be attached to e-mail.

It is also possible to send files to other users by right-clicking as above, and then selecting the EMail Configuration Data option. This allows you to send the configuration as a Priced Output (*.txt) file or as a CFReport (*.cfr) file.

What do I do if I run out of A disk space on HONE or VM IBMLink when forwarding an order using SYSLINK?

You can either clear space on your A disk or reset the Order Forward save file options.

To reset the Order Forward save file options, click Options... on the main Order Forward screen. Then select Delete file from Host. This option does the following:

Auto-export is an option that, once turned on, exports each changed configuration item and/or CFReport file in the current portfolio to a user-specified directory whenever the portfolio is saved.

To automatically export *.pti files, click Profiles -> System Profile.... In the dialog box which appears, set the folder to where you want the files stored and turn on the auto-export individual configurations checkbox.

To automatically export *.cfr files, click Profiles -> User Profile.... In the dialog box which appears, set the folder to where you want the files stored and turn on the auto-export checkbox.

Auto-exported files are automatically named by the e-config application when created. The file name will be the portfolio name followed by two dashes (- -) followed by the name of the configuration item. This can be a long name, but it does create an absolute reference to the source of the file.

How do I add a document such as a proposal or customer letter to a portfolio?

The IBM Configurator for e-business provides the capability to add word-processing, spreadsheet and other documents to the portfolio. The documents that can be added are referred to as OLE Objects. To add an OLE object to the portfolio, click Portfolio -> Add OLE Object. The Insert Object dialog box is displayed with a list of all the applications on your PC that can be used to create an OLE object. Select Create New, to create a new document or click Create From file to add an existing document.

To create a new document, click the application in the Object Type field that you would like to use and then clickOK. The application will be opened in the configuration view pane where you can begin entering your data. You will see a new entry in the portfolio contents list on the left that represents the document. After completing your document, right- click the item in the portfolio contents list, then click Shutdown Item.

To add an existing document, click Create From File in the Insert Object dialog box. Browse to locate the desired document, click the file, click Open, and finally OK to add the document to the portfolio. The document will be loaded and visible in the configuration view pane. You will see a new entry in the portfolio contents list on the left that represents the document. The document can be edited and shutdown in the same way as a new document.

Pricing a Configuration

How do I calculate discounts?

Configuration products can be discounted in the Full Price tool (WWPrice), and the resulting report can be printed or exported.

Configuration-wide discounts are added to a configuration by editing and saving the WWPrice profile (Options -> Preferences... -> Save...). The IBM Configurator for e-business does not have a way for discounts that are not configuration-wide to be saved. Only the profile with a configuration-wide discount can be saved and used with future configurations. The discount is applicable only while the Full Price tool is being used.

Machine-type/model level discounts can be added to a configuration report by first selecting (highlighting) and then right-clicking the top line of text for that product, and then clicking Enter discount.... Machine level discounts will appear in the printed report or exported file, but they do not become part of the profile so they cannot be saved.

How do I change the price file selection?

When you begin a configuration, the Pricing Options tab on the Global Settings wizard allows you to select the price file and description source for your configuration. When you click Configure, your choices are used to build the priced output, and they become the new defaults. To change that selection, double-click Global Settings in the wizard list and make the change. The Proposed view will be automatically updated with the changed selections.

If you have price files from different countries loaded on your PC, you can re-price a configuration by opening the Global Settings wizard, changing the country information on the first tab, changing the price file, then clicking Configure.

Ordering an RPQ outside of e-config

How do I add an RPQ that could not be configured within e-config to my order?

An RPQ (Request for Price Quotation) that is being added as part of a new order shipped from IBM should be listed in order comments. You need to tell the IBM administrative organization what it is you want them to add to the e-config generated part of the order.

A standard (P-listed or Published) product can be ordered just as any item in the Sales Manual. A nonstandard (R or I-listed) product needs an approval number in addition to the RPQ number in the order entry system before it will be accepted. To get the approval number you must submit an RPQ (on-line document) which is automatically sent to Special Product Marketing (SPM) to get approval for an existing nonstandard deliverable.

Key features in e-config introduced in Jan 21, 2013 release

What are the key features in this version of IBM Configurator for e-business?


Updated on 25 Jul 2014