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

 

Why Fact Based Data is Critical to your Maximo Implementation

After attending Pulse 2013 you are overwhelmed with ideas and visions from every direction; Cloud, Security, Instrumented Assets, Analytics, Mobile, and Social Media.  Big data is a big priority for IBM.  In other words a Smarter Planet.  But it doesn’t take long to descend from the cloud, get back to where the rubber hits the road and to try to relate what all of that means to many of us just trying to implement the basics of Maximo.  Clean, reliable, accurate data is the single most important aspect of your EAM because your credibility and the credibility of your business depend on making informed decisions based on accurate data.  40% of all Maximo implementations fail because they are not rooted in objective fact based data.

Data that Matters
How many of us have been in the situation of defining requirements and we ask managers or users what data they want and invariable they say: we want it all, whatever the system can provide we want it. The better question to ask is:

What data drives the decisions and improvements that you need to do your job.  Having it all is a recipe for disaster unless you have multi-million dollar budgets, a business need, and the resources required to gather, secure, analyze, and act on large volumes of random data.   The more you want, the more it cost, and the more complicated it is to get it. Collecting data just for the sake of it is a waste of time for most of us.  Don’t load Maximo up with dirty data because it erodes system credibility and the trust of the users.  Less good data is better than more bad data. Of course that leads to the argument that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.  Make sure that whatever data is deemed necessary is justified with a business case.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Don’t do things that don’t matter. Bad data leads to bad decisions.

Business Process Re-Engineering
When you finally define the data that matters, you need to determine how you currently get that data into the hands of those that need it.  Relentlessly scrutinize your business processes and get answers to the following questions:  Why you do, how you do, what you do, and who does it?

Analyze how you can do this better and streamline your business processes to support the data you need and the way you get that information to the right people.

“Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler”

Albert Einstein

It is important to simplify the user experience.  If you don’t, you won’t consistently get the data that you need. Remove road blocks and meaningless steps in your processes.  Don’t make users do things that don’t matter to them. “Make it work like I do” by using smart phones, tablets, and configuring Maximo to support the user’s work processes.  Optimize the technology to take advantage of pushing/pulling data from users, reduce double entry, make it easy to capture what was done, and access what needs to be seen.

Realistic Expectations
My definition of success is if results meet expectations.  Having realistic expectations about the data is very important to how you interpret the successfulness of Maximo delivering what you need.  For example, you want to capture labor and material costs on a work order:

Case A –

  • User enters whatever hours and materials they want on the work order

Case B –

  • Labor hours entered in a time/attendance/payroll system integrated with Maximo work orders to capture labor hours/costs.
  • Materials are charge to work orders via issues from inventory
  • PO materials and contracts are charged to work order upon receipt

Two very different expectations in terms of the data being captured and the degree of accuracy.  Don’t expect Case B results if your data reality is Case A.  Remember the more you want, the more it cost, and the more complicated it is to get it.  You have to decide how important the data is, how much it will cost to get it, and set realistic expectations.

Why is this Important?
Because everything discussed above provides the design specifications for your Maximo Implementation:

  • Data requirements
  • Business processes needed to support data gathering
  • User expectations of the results to be delivered by Maximo

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else”.

— Sidney Heyward

This is the foundation, roadmap, and the requirements for designing and building out Maximo to support your business needs.  As you build and test, you compare the functionality against the requirements and expectations.  “Going Live” is the reality check and of course never goes quite like we anticipate.  All of us have to deal with the changing winds, rough conditions, and political currents of our work environment that are constantly trying to take us off course.  Don’t lose sight of why we use Maximo:

  1. Asset Reliability – if your assets aren’t running you are out of business
  2. Improved Efficiency – streamline business processes to gather data
  3. Command and Control – your success depends on making informed decisions based on accurate data

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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 18, 2013, and is reprinted with permission of the author

Where is Your True North?

This blog will address what I feel are the more practical aspects and user considerations of what it takes to implement and manage an Enterprise Asset Management System (EAMS) in facilities or processing plants.  There are many challenges to making an EAMS work but a key component in today’s world is how do you simplify the user experience.  Steve Job’s showed us how to take that concept to reality.  Expectations from users are high – There is an App for that.  Where are we providing a similar user experience in our Maximo world?

That being said lets back up a minute and talk about the real reason we use Maximo:  Achieving Plant and Facilities Excellence.

Implementing Maximo is a daunting task.  There are a broad scope of applications, functionality within those applications, configurability options, software/hardware requirements, system administration support skills, and reporting options.  Business process re-engineering is also required to match the business needs with the software design.  The standard challenges associated with implementing and upgrading Maximo include:

  • The drive to quickly demonstrate short-term gains
  • Lack of a consistent standard for obtaining KPI measures
  • Ineffective preventive maintenance management planning
  • Inconsistent management of plant outages
  • Lack of understanding the concepts of reliability-based maintenance
  • Configuration of the asset-based work management system
  • Restrictions imposed by corporate IT governance-related mandates
  • Training and resistance to the technology
  • Integration with other core applications

The point being that there are many ways to go off the trail and into the wilderness.  So do you have any idea where your true North is? Do you have a Compass?  Here is a compass to the three things you should focus on to ensure excellence in plant and facilities maintenance:

  1. Asset reliability
  2. Streamlined business processes
  3. Optimized information technology

Asset Reliability
If your equipment or facilities are not up and running you are not in business!  Doing the right things at the right time, with eyes on what matters most better be your primary objective.  Focus here should be on asset failures that could result in:

  • Loss of life or serious personal injury
  • Regulatory compliance violations
  • Adverse effect on the environment
  • Loss of revenue or productivity

Streamlining Business Processes
The credibility of your business depends on collecting accurate data and establishing crystal clear work directions.  Focus on collecting accurate data, no more, no less. Remove un-necessary steps in your business processes that impede productivity.  Constantly question why you do, what you do, how you do it, and who does it.  Peel the onion, get down to the essence of your business processes and close the gap between perception and reality.

Optimizing IT (Information Technology)
Making good decisions relies upon having accurate and timely information. Focus on optimizing the use of dashboards, start centers, smart phones, tablets, and handheld devices to push and pull data in ways that are intuitive to the way you work.  Everyone from the person turning wrenches to the executive in the corner office reaps the benefits of timely and accurate data that is relative to their jobs.  Improve the user experience by making it easy, making it work ‘like I do’, and Optimizing IT.

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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 January 29, 2013, and is reprinted with permission of the author