Watch'll be surprised, and then VERY sorry! Seems to be a great product--with limited to no support.
Updated July 15, 2017

Watch'll be surprised, and then VERY sorry! Seems to be a great product--with limited to no support.

Terry Higbee | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with IBM Cloud PaaS (formerly IBM Bluemix - PaaS)

Visual recognition demonstration for our customers. We used it for this single demonstration, which took only about a week to 10 days, and the results were presented to several levels or management and we well as 3 levels of customer management with VERY positive response. We trained the the Watson visual recognition tool with 1250 'positive' images of five different objects (250 training images for each object), along with 125 negative images (25 negative images for each object). Then we tested the visual recognition software with pictures of the same type of objects (but using none of the training images) to see how well, and how fast it performed. The positive hit rate was very good (typically 70% or better) with images of the same object, and the rejection rate was typically very good as well (again, better than 70% when the trained object was not in the image). It also did very well when we combined 2-3 objects in the same image. The really surprising thing was that the images could be screen shots (not terribly surprising perhaps), but we could also take a picture of the screen shot with a cell phone and use that--with almost identical results. (When these images were blown up they were quite grainy, so that's why we were surprised.)

However, the problems we encountered with billing, technical support (or total lack thereof), quickly demonstrated that this service was not something we could use for serious work or production.
  • Visual recognition. We put together a number of very effective demonstrations, over a short period (7-10 days) to show our management team as well as customers how it would be done, how the Bluemix applications could be integrated with other services (eg. Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft's OneDrive) to create one very capable, automated, integrated application that could solve one of our customer's knotty problems.
  • The visual recognition application was the only thing we tried during this 7-10 days period. Significant issues with technical and account support (there was absolutely none in any time of what would be considered a 'timely' manner, led us to realize that it was not a service we could use for production, and we therefore did not continue to try out other services.
  • Although we didn't get to the point of using several services, the services for storage and visual recognition, as well as those for integrating with other cloud provider services (e.g., AWS) were smooth and effortless.
  • ALMOST EVERYTHING. Account support was virtually non-existent. We had set up a trial account on the basis of how many training images we could use (they advertised that it was something like 100 per day--but it turned out that the actual number was for the entire trial period. Thus, we almost immediately ran into our limit and could not proceed. We set up a second trial account, but couldn't get that one to work at all (with no meaningful error messages to why it wasn't working). Finally in desperation, we set up a third account tied to a personal credit card. (It was the weekend and we had to have a demonstration ready for Monday afternoon.) That third account, although setup, also would not work. (Some of the problems could have been the result of not having three separate, easily available emails, phone numbers, and billing addresses to use in setting up the accounts, which certainly exacerbated the issues.) On Monday morning we were finally able to reach someone that helped get the 'billed' account turned up--but even they admitted they could not figure out why it had not worked on Sunday.
  • Over the period of about three days we made multiple attempts to reach both technical and account support. Generally the wait was something close to 24 hours, far, far beyond what we would be able to use in a production environment.
  • Technical support was generally quite a bit more helpful that the account support team. The technical folks were able to get 'stuck' and non-working account working again, but the account support team was completely unable to provide any billing information. This included how much had been billed to the 'personal' credit card (the one we had to use because it was setup during the weekend when our own internal finance folks couldn't provide a company credit card), and they were completely unable to provide an actual statement, either then or for months later.
  • One thing of particular note--the 'on-line help' feature for account services was extremely disappointing. There was absolutely no way to get any kind of billing or accounting information using the on-line services. You would think that you could, but you simply can not!
  • We were finally able to get an accounting almost 6 months later and ONLY because it had gone to some form of 'collection' department within IBM and they were trying to get the final $24 paid. (The biggest part of the amount due from the demonstration period, which was about 7-10 days and had amounted to about $350 in charges, at least 10 times what we had expected) had been automatically charged to the 'personal' credit card we used in desperation to get an account set up so we could get a very important demonstration for our out-of-town customers who were expecting a demonstration the following Monday afternoon. However, the billing fell across two accounting months, with only about $24 in the second month, but during that account, the bank had changed their association with MasterCard to Visa and had issued new cards and rejected any automatic billing to the old card. This left a balance of $24 to be paid, which we had no clue of. We noticed that we had only received the one bill, but not the second, but again, calls to IBM were either not returned or the people we reached told us they could not find out how much was still owed or how we could pay the balance by phone. Finally, almost 6 months after our demo, we received an email from their 'collections' department. We told them that we were not going to provide every 1 cent of funds UNTIL they provided us with an accounting of the services used, etc. That took a few days and we were finally able to get the $24 resolved.
  • We explained most of this to at least five different technical/account support people along the way. At NO time, did ANY IBM representative ever offer ANY kind of 'consideration' for the trouble we had had, even after learning that the company was unable to reimburse us for 'personal' expenses BECAUSE we could not receive a standard billing statement.
  • See previous notes. We decided, for good reason, not to pursue any real production applications with the Bluemix products because we, our management, and our customer and their management realized it would not work in a real-world, down and dirty production environment where company reputations, financial performance, and customer satisfaction were at stake!
Not even close--as noted in previous answers, we will likely use the competition before even considering IBM Bluemix.
It is well suited to a number of applications we are pursuing, BUT, with the difficulties we encountered setting up accounts, getting billing information, fraudulent practices, NO attempt to resolve complaints, months to get bills and sort out payments, there is NO WAY ON THIS EARTH that I would ever, ever recommend using Bluemix to our customers. By the way, the ONE demo I was able to put together, at GREAT PERSONAL EXPENSE, over $350 (which due to your awful customer service resulting in me NOT being able to be reimbursed by management or the customer) was not only a huge success, but for a couple of weeks the customer asked me to repeat the demo for anyone who visited us. However, I let them know in no uncertain terms, that I could never recommend using Bluemix after my experience, and we would do much better utilizing competing services.

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