The Difference between Can and Should. Another Case for Out of the Box Implementations.

January 2, 2019

        Simplifying the Hectic World of HPC By Gabor Samu

Quite a few Maximo implementations end up being re-implemented. In fact, there are more than a few Maximo houses that start over upon a new product release rather than continuing to patch an existing implementation. No doubt, this topic is also applicable to other implementations of large ERP systems.

In this brief article, we will discuss specific areas where things can go awry though, of course, this is not an exhaustive list.

1)    Change the business processes or change the software

It is true that Maximo can be configured to do just about anything that a client requests. But, this is where an implementer and client must constantly ask themselves the following; “Can the change be made? Should the change be made?”. The answer to the first question is likely yes. The answer to the second question often should be no.

In some cases, Maximo users have gone down the route of controlling every field within an application fearful that someone will enter or change data. Think of the cost of this approach in terms of both system performance and maintenance of the system. Often, a better approach is to confront the business environment leading to the need to control all fields.

2)    Java Customization, Automation Scripts, Conditional Expressions and more

Most in the business of implementing Maximo are on board with not creating large numbers of Java Customizations. These customizations require a Java expert be available to support the code and this code can lead to issues when upgrading Maximo. Thus, IBM offers a fantastic solution involving the creations of Automation Scripts on the front end. These scripts can control a great deal of Maximo functionality without the need to make back-end changes that require shutting down the system to implement.

One example where you might use an Automation Script is to prevent a work order from closing when all lines on an associated purchase order have not been received. This can be of great help in controlling the timing of work order status changes. On top of such Automation Scripts, you will likely implement Conditional Expressions. Perhaps it is decided to control who can change work order statuses and when. For instance, if an individual is part of a Buyer Security Group, allow that person to change status only to Approved and only on Corrective Maintenance type work orders.

By themselves, each of these scripts and conditions are quite valuable. However, creating large numbers of conditional statements and scripts can affect performance. In addition, being able to maintain all of these changes can require a great deal of maintenance. Support staff would need to be up on all the implemented changes to know why the system is performing a certain way.

3)     Security Groups and Users

For each created Security Group, there are thousands of potential configurations. For the Work Order Tracking application alone, you have the ability to grant over one hundred options. With this in mind, it is essential to have a well thought out approach to creating and configuring these groups. If you find yourself with well over 15 Security Groups, you might want to consider a different approach. How you set-up security also can affect system performance. The ability to manage a large number of groups with thousands of configurations can be daunting as well. So yes, you Can set-up a limitless number of Security Groups. However, should you?

All the factors mentioned above and many more can lead a client to re-implementing Maximo. Yes, there may be some implementers willing to implement all requests, without question. Be careful that you don’t deviate so far from Out of the Box Maximo that you create a system that can’t be effectively managed. Maximo Asset Management is a very mature product developed over time based on best practices and guided by numerous user groups and experts. It is regarded as a best in class product for Asset management. If a company finds itself in a position where it needs to heavily change that system, perhaps step back and ask why.

We do look forward to feedback, experiences, and perspectives from others. The intent, as always, is to explore best implementation methods and hear from the User community.

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