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“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln

IBM has released the latest update to its Maximo Enterprise Asset Management Solution, now known as the IBM Maximo Application Suite v8.0, or MAS 8.0 for short.

As expected, any new functionality to “Maximo” will only occur within MAS going forward. Current Maximo releases will remain as they are with issue fixes only until end of life. Maximo 7.6.x will continue to be supported for 3+ years, but you should start planning to transition now.

What is New for MAS 8?

The difference between MAS 8 and Maximo 7.6x can be broken into three points:

  • Licensing via Application Points (ie. AppPoints) where you only pay for what you use
  • Familiar and vast amounts of new functionality accessible via a single-entry point
  • The use of Red Hat OpenShift as the application hosting platform

TRM’s Maximo Prime offering naturally supports a client moving from current Maximo to MAS. Under this program, migration paths are clear and you have access to TRM software and enhanced technical support. Whether you are running the current releases of Maximo or are planning to migrate to MAS, this existing program is a good fit. Licensing, including App Points term arrangements, are available as well.

Application Points

Software licensing schemes for enterprise applications like Maximo are complex and ever changing. Just when you think you have the right balance of licenses you are paying for with the actual usage of the apps by your staff, the scheme changes, or you are presented with cost-saving options. When you provision additional functions, such as Maximo add-ons, there are additional licenses/entitlements that you need to account for. While all of this can be to your benefit, change is often a bit disorienting.

The licensing scheme for IBM Maximo Application Suite will be via your entitlement to application points that you either purchase outright or “lease,” via a term contract. In a sense, AppPoints are a form of currency that you can use to support the use of MAS functionality.

Purchasing points outright, just like the perpetual licensing scheme, will also have the annual support and maintenance fees as in the past.

Lease or term licensing is where each term, typically 1 to 3 years, you can adjust the number of licenses you need based upon real usage.

These application points are a single part number in IBMs entitlements system, making the purchasing much simpler than having to sort through all the add-ons and other functions that you might have implemented. Now you will have a single entitlement for the entire Suite… and for any new capabilities added to MAS in the future.

Given this bucket of AppPoints to draw from, your Users can go about their work without you having to worry so much about who is using what. AppPoints are only used while your Users are on the system using the software. When the Users are off the system, the AppPoints are returned to the bucket. This is like the current concurrent license approach. We can infer an “AppPoint,” service running behind the scenes that keeps track of the usage activity.

As IBM Maximo Business Partners gear up to support MAS, there will certainly be programs and offerings for AppPoints that you can easily benefit from financially short and long-term.

Familiar and New Functionality

Journey to Predict Chart - IBM Maximo Application Suite Is Here! – Get Prepared

The Maximo Application Suite (MAS) platform contains the following capabilities/application sets:

  • Manage – Maximo functionality as we know it now
  • Monitor – an integration
  • Health – an integration
  • Predict – an integration

Related capabilities are:

  • Virtual Inspection
  • Digital Twin Marketplace
  • Maximo Mobile
  • App Connect
  • Work Center Development Framework
  • There are more… just not covered in this article

The Manage set of applications is where the familiar Maximo functionality will reside. Somewhat incorrectly, call it Maximo 8.0 if you would like. It is here where asset, work, inventory, purchasing, and all the other management functions are available for Users to interact with. Rather than landing on a Maximo menu and set of Start Centers, the User will initially see a screen with the main capabilities/application sets of MAS, from which they would select Manage to start working. Manage continues the success of the Maximo approach to unifying and coordinating maintenance activities and processes across the organization.

TRM has a preconfigured, turnkey offering called Maximo Advanced Asset Management (Maximo AAM). It is founded upon Maximo 7.6.x and provides an excellent first step for those clients who wish to begin their journey to Predictive Maintenance but are not quite ready for all the functionalities of MAS 8 (ie. Monitor, Health and Predict). But when clients are ready, the same best practice configurations, complementary software and support included in Maximo AAM will apply to MAS Manage implementations.

Of particular interest to me is the integration of device data for condition-based monitoring, now present in the Monitor integration. Given that modern assets often have built-in sensors that report back to a central system vast amounts of data, we can take advantage of this data to make asset and maintenance decisions with. Internet of Things (IoT) is upon us! While these integrations between Maximo and data historians have been possible for quite some time. Now the Monitor integration has made the device data much more accessible to the User vs. the need for development and scripting. The amount of data that these connected devices can provide is quite substantial and detailed. The Monitor set of applications provides tools to understand the data your assets are sending and use as foundations for decisions.

Related to Monitor is the Virtual Inspection function. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cameras, MAS facilitates inspection tasks. Visual detection of issues with assets, without the need to be physically present can be of significant value to the maintenance operation. This inspection method can be used for operational assets out in the field, or internal assets on a production line. Based upon the results of these inspections, which can be occurring 24×7, alerts and work orders can be generated for immediate processing and scheduling. Using models that you build; the system will understand what things should look like and be able to detect anomalies as they are encountered.

The Health integration brings together the maintenance and reliability teams at your organization. As maintenance data is collected by the field staff, this information is made available to the reliability staff using words and concepts that mean something to them. Having been a Reliability Engineer in the past, I have appreciation for what IBM is trying to do here.

With work orders and downtime reporting continuing to be the main vehicle for asset failure data, the maintenance crews can go about their business of fixing things and entering just enough data to support the needs of the reliability team. Like current functionality in Maximo, access to the work history plays an important role in replacement and asset lifecycle planning.

The reliability team, even if you do not have one, is presented with visualizations of the current asset health situation. Asset, “bad actors,” become obvious, decisions can be made, and actions taken to remedy the situation. Also, over time, the impact of the actions/changes made as well. This built-in integration of maintenance and reliability data greatly reduces analysis efforts and, if you do not have reliability skills in the organization, you can now benefit from the discipline.

The Predict integration takes us to the next level of asset maintenance. With our efforts to be less reactive in maintenance, more preventive, the ability to predict failures to a good degree of certainty has high value. IBM Watson Studio plays a critical role in facilitating decisions and predictive model building. Predict provides an approach to create failure models that include the factors that can lead to an actual failure. Then, putting actual sensor data into the models, asset health is visualized. Predict comes with a set of common predictive model templates to start you on the right path.

The Digital Twin Exchange, being a marketplace means vendors can post digital asset data to the site for a cost to those who wish to use it.

Depending upon the extent of the data/content the price will grow accordingly. The exchange currently supports the following data:

  • Bills of materials and Parts lists
  • User, engineering, maintenance, operations, and service manuals
  • Fault Codes
  • CAD, BIM files/models
  • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality models
  • Procedures, job plans
  • Forecast models, stocking strategies

IBM Digital Twin Exchange 1024x441 - IBM Maximo Application Suite Is Here! – Get Prepared

The goal of the Digital Twin Exchange is to make available asset data that can be directly used in Maximo, saving the research time and effort to piecemeal the data over time. Using the shopping cart method of obtaining the data, the Exchange truly provides one-stop shopping for asset models and information.

Maximo Mobile continues the functionality of accessing Maximo via true iOS, Android, or Windows applications. As one would expect, all MAS functionality is not contained in the mobile applications. Rather, the approach taken is to provide users in the field the necessary functions to process work orders, inventory transactions, and a host of other activities they would perform multiple times each day.

Red Hat OpenShift

What are the implications of the Red Hat OpenShift “run anywhere” platform for MAS? To begin with, if you are hosting your Maximo on premise, your IT support staff will need to become versed in this relatively new approach to hosting applications. We can assume that the best practice to implementing MAS from an existing Maximo will be to stand up a new environment for MAS, then migrate the existing Maximo data to it.

If your current Maximo is hosted in the cloud, then not much is going to change for you. Red Hat OpenShift provides hosts a suite of tools including load balancing, monitoring, and authentication that will enhance their capabilities to serve MAS to you. Your host will work with you to plan the migration from Maximo to MAS, making the process seamless to your User communities.

App Connect is an intriguing element of MAS. The idea is to provide a catalog of connectors to many of the commonly encountered external applications. Point and click interface development and monitoring will go a long way to getting interfaces established. Whether the external system is on-prem or in the cloud, App Connect will facilitate the interface to copy/sync data. Event capture, to then take actions, is also a function of App Connect. It is stated that you will be able to create APIs as well to your home-grown applications.

A final aspect of MAS to ponder is the Work Center Development Framework. Via the familiar Application Designer app in base Maximo, it has been an easy thing to modify Maximo applications and create custom apps as needed. Now with the focus on “Work Center,” look and feel of the user interface, it is important to have a method to modify the UI as we have had in the past. The framework provides standardized navigation, visual configuration tools for developers, and disconnected data support. This will surely be an element of MAS that implementors will look to for flexibility and capability.

Sharpening the axe…

In the end, MAS delivers significant new functionality, yet continues that which we have come to rely upon over the years. With the introduction of the new licensing scheme, the financial side helps to balance any perceived complications of moving users to a different, albeit more comprehensive platform. The underlying hosting using the container approach opens significant opportunities for application development and deployment. As a Maximo business partner for over 25 years, TRM is looking forward to this next generation of Maximo and we certainly have the skills, experience, and offerings to help you get prepared.

 

Article by John Q. Todd, Sr. Business Consultant at TRM. Reach out to us at AskTRM@trmnet.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss deploying MAS 8 or Maximo AAM.

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