Don’t Go Mobile unless….

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What’s great about PULSE is it gets you re-energized, gives you a shot of adrenaline, and a kick in the butt to get back out there and fight the good fight. The use case presentations for those of us that have been around Maximo for many years help re-affirm what elements lead to successful and not so successful implementations and for those new to the game provide valuable advice on what rabbit holes to avoid.  Having recently been put in charge of a new Maximo implementation I had to test my temptation of avoiding just that.  One of those rabbit holes is Mobile.  Mobile is the hot topic but be aware that the consumer experience is very different from the enterprise business experience and mobile isn’t the answer when you haven’t clearly identified where you are and where you want to go with your business processes.  You need to pay close attention to what elements lead to a successful implementation before you ever say the word mobile.  I may be preaching to the choir but it bears repeating that the following elements always seem to be at the core of successful implementation experiences:

Partnership between IT and Users – These two groups must work together towards a common goal, but the measurement of success if very different between the two.  IT’s success can be measured in a more objective way in terms of getting the software installed and configured, debugged according to the technical and software performance specifications.  But it is a completely different situation with the users.  They measure success in a very subjective manner and their definition is based more on how they perceive the user experience regardless of how well the software is running and doing what it is supposed to do.    ently been put in charge of a new Maximo implementation I had to test my temptation of avoiding just that.  One of those rabbit holes is Mobile.  Mobile is the hot topic but be aware that the consumer experience is very different from the enterprise business experience and mobile isn’t the answer when you haven’t clearly identified where you are and where you want to go with your business processes.  You need to pay close attention to what elements lead to a successful implementation before you ever say the word mobile.  I may be preaching to the choir but it bears repeating that the following elements always seem to be at the core of successful implementation experiences:

Good Data – The foundation of success is rooted in clean, reliable, accurate, fact based data.  The credibility of your system depends entirely upon the accuracy of your data.  Spend the time it takes to really find out what information you need, why you need it, and who needs it.   Don’t collect data that doesn’t matter.  Remember the more you want the more it cost to get it.  Make sure is serves a useful purpose.

Business Process Analysis – Just as important as good data is the processes of getting that data into and out of the system. This requires really understanding how your operation performs the work, obtains the required information, and how it gets that in front of those that need it.  Assessing these workflows and streamlining these processes is critical in establishing configuration requirements in support of your business.

Managing Expectations – Someone needs to be in charge of defining the dance floor.  Typically this tends to be someone from IT.  This is just the opposite of what should be.  Operations/Users are the ones that have to use it, live with it, work with it, and have to own it. Truly successful implementations are driven by users with realistic expectations and a good technical support team.

To get the most from Maximo there is nothing more important than getting processes defined and streamlined in support of what management has set as the vision and direction for the organization.  Mobile smart devices become the tool of choice when you look to eliminating paper processes and making Maximo “work like we do” to get and deliver the data to those that need it, the way they need it.  High expectations base on our personal “There’s an App for That” experience sets the standard and becomes a challenge when trying to deliver a similar experience with an enterprise business mobile application.  The solution that is “right” can be a bewildering and a hotly contested debate between users and IT.  That is why it is so important that use cases are firmly rooted in well-defined business process requirements established by users.

A few obvious and not so obvious considerations when assessing your mobile solution include:

  • Platform for devices (IOS, Android, Windows Mobile)
  • Device Compatibility – what types of devices can be used on the platform
  • License Structure (named vs concurrent)
  • Online – Offline connectivity
  • Support services
  • User interface – ease of use
  • System Architecture
  • Configurability of applications
  • Skills required to develop applications
  • Administration and deployment of applications
  • Integration needs with other systems besides Maximo
  • Security and BYOD policies
  • Device management and hardware support

Mobile is hot, so be careful that you don’t get burned. Success depends on meeting user expectations.  Get your requirements act together, set realistic user expectations, and —–partner with IT to architect a solution that simplifies the user experience.

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About Randy McDaniel:
Randy has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the California State University at Fullerton and has spent over 35 years in the field of maintenance engineering, maintenance planning, capital projects construction, and facilities maintenance. His industry experience includes oil refineries, petrochemical plants, universities, steel mills, assembly plants, lumber mills, and utility plants.

He has spent time as a Maximo senior consultant providing business process re-engineering assessments and managing Maximo implementations. A vocal advocate of Maximo, Randy has been the Chairman of the Southern California Maximo Users Group since 1998 where he often presents best practices, tips and other real life Maximo experiences.

Currently Randy is the Maximo System Administrator and Facilities Management Information Systems Integration Manager at the University of California Los Angeles. He manages the implementation of Maximo and provides IT integration direction and vision for the General Services business unit.

This post originally appeared on the Tivoli User Community boards on March 3, 2014, and is reprinted with permission of the author

 

Help! Your Maximo Questions Answered

Are you stuck on a particular Maximo question? You can either post up at the MaximoUsers.org/forum for specific questions. But, if you are looking for more general information, IBM has a wealth of information, such as manuals and training videos.  The IBM Education Assistant, or IAE, provides training videos, educational demonstrations, tutorials and other information that is targeted toward the IT professional.

The IEA has just released several new videos:

Other topic of interest:

Maximo V7.1

Maximo v7.1.1

Maximo 7.5

Information originally posted to http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21373538

Supporting Windows Mobile 6.5: Why it is still important.

Many folks are very excited about the growth of iPads, Android tablets and smart phones for their Maximo mobile strategy. Field users obviously love the large screen and great interfact. But, as noted in a previous post, there may be a few drawbacks, such as scanning capabilities. For serious enterprise asset management implementations, a mix is very important. Obviously, you would not use a hammer to turn a screw, so the right tool for the job is very important. And if one of those tools is missing, or may be removed from the tool crib, there is every reason to be concerned.

Microsoft has recently announced their latest mobile embedded framework. The latest operating system for handhelds, Windows Embedded 8, as it stands now, will provide a full featured operating system, with a new set of APIs, full device encryption and a “modern intuitive, multi-touch app experience”, which will make using tablets even easier to use.

Yes, once again, the Field worker may appear to be getting most of the love.
Here’s the big drawback.

No Physical Keyboard.

That’s right: No support of physical keyboards. Only on screen keyboard support, which hurts right in the old 10-key. I think several veteran inventory workers just visibly shuttered. Oh, and that user out there that takes meter readings all day just turned a little green, too.

Martin Cooper, Father of the mobile phone

Martin Cooper, Father of the mobile phone

Many of us have taken in stride the on screen keyboards that let you see what you are typing. The idea of “touch typing” is disappearing, especially if you cannot feel the keys as you type.  So, the result is stopping, looking at what you are typing, and resuming your work. These few seconds really can add up. If you haven’t been in the warehouse when a seasoned cycle count worker is kicking out their job, then think about the person at the bank, or accountant that is using 10-key. They fly through those digits without nary a glance. And they are all the speedier for it. Imagine if they stopped and looked at every key before entering it into the system, and you get an idea of how bad an idea of is is to eliminate support.

Now, there is no reason to gather the pitchforks quite yet. Microsoft has said they will support Mobile 6.5 until at least 2020. So all of those commercial handheld units with scanners, including you folks in the Oil and Gas industry that require I-Safe devices for your calibration equipment have about 6 years to make sure Microsoft understands how important physical keyboard support is to your bottom line.

Or, perhaps a new technology will come out in that time, so that this is just a “cry wolf” situation. Since the days of Martin Cooper’s first cell phone call, technology does march on (Or we’d still be using “Brick” phones). I just hope that technology conforms to improve the end user experience, and not the opposite.

Kat Pullen is a Convergence Specialist at DataSplice, LLC, a mobile computing company founded in 2001 to deliver handheld technology to Maximo users in the field. While DataSplice Mobile supports iPad, Android and Windows 8.1, the majority of clients are still very happy with Windows Mobile 6.5. DataSplice is committed to supporting a full range of devices, both mobile and desktop, because you shouldn’t have to compromise.

Maximo for Service Providers

Welcome to our continuing series on what is Maximo, or at least, what is available for the vertical markets from IBM’s asset management solution. We’ve covered a few of the verticals over the last few months. This time, we’ll give our Maximo Cloud providers some love.

IBM Maximo Industry Solutions for Service Providers

IBM Maximo® for Service Providers helps manage assets for multiple customers in a single deployed instance.

IBM Maximo for Service Providers helps lower total cost of ownership and increase profitability and customer satisfaction by managing your customer’s assets either through third-party outsourcing or internally shared services model.

  • Provide detailed and accurate billing with a review and approval cycle.
  • Reduce TCO by leveraging a single deployed instance to manage multiple customers.
  • Improve efficiency of service delivery with automatic notification and automatic assignments.
  • Manage multiple customers with many physical locations and provide unique customer agreements and rules to define entitlement of services and pricing.
  • Automatically bill your customers for recurring fees, for asset management, and asset usage.
  • Based on leading standards-based technology: web-architected platform built on J2EE with advanced business process management, based on SOA, web services and XML.Mouse in a Cloud

Features

  • Billing Functionality
  • Customer Agreements
  • Response Plans
  • Multi-Customer Operation
  • Interactive, Action Based Workflows
  • Versatile Reporting Engine

Advantages

  • BenefitsRich functionality allows for multiple billing methods across managed assets and services.
  • One repository for data such as a listing of the Services you will provide to your customers; the SLAs to provide them; the prices that will be charged and the ability to monitor the process around delivering these services.
  • Functionality includes the ability to automatically assign the appropriate person or team responsible for handling each request, will select the appropriate job plan or template to accomplish the requested work, will notify the appropriate individuals about the work in process, and will determine the next steps that are needed.
  • Complete segregation of customer data. Provides the ability to run multiple customers on one instance.
  • Comprehensive engine allowing you to automate service delivery.
  • Report tooling includes canned reports, Key Performance Indicators displayed on a dashboard, Ad Hoc Query functionality and a query wizard allowing users to define and schedule their own reports.
  • Gives a service provider visibility into all of the costs of maintaining assets and providing services. Provides transparency for the customer into their usage of those assets and services.
  • Documentation of the services that will be performed for the customer. Entitlement checks against these agreements allowing you to ensure the Customer is entitled to that service under the requested conditions, and, most importantly, the prices that will be charged for the services provided.
  • Provides for a smooth and consistent response to any request from customers. Provides visibility for Service Provider mgmt and the customer on the progress of the response.
  • Reduced cost for maintenance and upkeep.
  • Ensures consistency of service delivery and process management.
  • Provides Service Provider management with in depth results on their business.