No matter if your move from your current Maximo to MAS is near or longer term, there are several things you should begin aligning in preparation for the upgrade. As with any enterprise application suite upgrade, it is a good opportunity to take a hard look at some business operations and plan for the impact the new application suite could (or should!) have on them. Working with a MAS provider, such as TRM, early in the process will also provide you with insight into the potential intricacies surrounding your situation.
Some areas you need to consider are:
- Will you host yourself on-premises or move to the cloud?
- What should your AppPoint structure look like in comparison to your current Maximo licensing?
- How will you prepare the User community for MAS?
- Will the move to MAS necessitate or foster organizational changes?
- How will your interfaces to/from Maximo be impacted?
- Do you need to review any customizations done to your current Maximo?
On-Premises or Cloud?
Whether your Maximo is already in the cloud or not, the Maximo Application Suite (MAS) runs on a different platform than your current Maximo does. With Red Hat OpenShift providing the foundation, your support staff will need to develop new skills and achieve new certifications. Containerized applications are not a new idea but may be new to you especially in providing production instances for your business. This new overhead for your business may point you to a cloud solution.
Certainly, moving to the cloud requires some thought and due diligence. Given your support staff has been used to managing the environment on their own, they will need to understand what they can and cannot do within the cloud environment. For example, in the past they would apply patches to Maximo and perhaps restart the WebSphere application server. Depending on the nature of your cloud hosting contract, these tasks might only be performed by your host.
You might currently be paying for database server licenses that you could eliminate with a move to the cloud. Behind the scenes MAS uses IBM db2 database technology, and a couple of other open-source databases. Making the move from your current database technology to the built-in db2 structure can greatly decrease your annual license and support costs.
Of course, there is always security for your Users and your data to consider. Cloud host providers are well aware of the ongoing nature of security risks and are well equipped to combat them. Since it is their business to provide security, you will find them more adept at the concept than you are.
AppPoints vs. current license structure?
As you know, IBM has moved to a points/pool structure for MAS licensing. Gone are the days where the connection between the licenses you have purchased or subscribed to, and your user counts is vague and difficult to manage compliance. AppPoints provide a clear connection between what your Users are accessing and the pool of points available to be used. Further, you can configure the license server in MAS to block Users from accessing functions if the pool of points has run out. In the end, MAS Admins have a much clearer view into licensing needs.
IBM has also enabled existing Maximo clients to adopt AppPoints well before they make the move to MAS. TRM has several programs in place that can help with this transition, providing potential financial savings for your organization. Even better, with the adoption of AppPoints on an existing Maximo (126.96.36.199+) you can deploy the new Mobile technology. This gives your Users early access to the next generation of Mobile applications.
User Community impact and benefits?
Now is also a good time to expose your user communities to the functions coming with MAS. Sure, MAS Manage is “just” Maximo as we know it with a new interface, but there are a few new functions such as Budget Monitoring and the now included Calibration that Users should investigate. While many communities just use Maximo for work and asset management, MAS brings many new functions they need to be aware of. Monitoring, Health, Predictive functions, and Mobile solutions are now all just part of MAS. Other than having AppPoints to use these functions, there is nothing to add to the environment.
Training users on the new interface and new MAS functions is just part of the upgrade game. An excellent idea is to setup a MAS sandbox for users to experience what is coming. This gives them an opportunity to work with the new system but also helps prepare your IT support staff as they look to assist users. It is also a good opportunity to ponder how best to deliver training. Printed manuals of screenshots and days in a classroom can be replaced with videos and other media.
Time for Organizational Changes?
As you look out a few years, are there changes coming to the organization that you need to accommodate within your Maximo/MAS? Acquisitions and divestitures have significant impact on enterprise applications that are best planned for. Making separations in operational data early on can pay great dividends when the time comes to parse out data sets to whomever made the purchase.
Support for remote work and monitoring now and in the future may also force you into accommodating these actions in the enterprise application. Due to how MAS is architected, it is well suited for such requirements right out of the box.
Update your Interfaces?
It is highly likely that you are interfacing your current Maximo to one or more external systems. Given that all elements of MAS have published APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) you have an opportunity to review the technology you are using for your interfaces to perhaps upgrade. However, MAS Manage continues to support the interface methods in place today, except for Remote Method Invocation (RMI), so you will most likely not be forced to make any changes.
More native interfaces such as those for Spatial/ArcGIS continue in MAS Manage, so there will be little difficulties in that area. With the introduction of MAS Monitor and Health, these functions have direct access to data in Manage, removing the need for some home-brew asset meter interfacing. Setting up a proof-of-concept MAS Monitor environment is a way to explore your use of actual and real-time equipment telemetry for alerts and decision making.
Consider your “customizations”
It is very possible that over time your Maximo has been customized and configured in ways that reduce its efficiency and cause difficulties when it comes time for upgrades. As part of the actual Maximo to MAS upgrade process, these customizations must be considered and provided to the upgrade scripts. The upgrade process does assist in being sure they are implemented in MAS.
But it is always a good idea to review these changes before hand to determine if they are really needed in the new system or not. Hopefully they are well documented, and the business case is well understood. Take time early on to perform this review to potentially greatly simplifying your current Maximo.
An important point to leave you with is that upgrading from Maximo to MAS is not performed “in-place.” Rather, your current Maximo data and configurations are impressed upon the new and separate MAS/OpenShift environment using the IBM upgrade process. Your current Maximo continues to operate in its environment until you are ready to, “cut over,” to MAS.
Certainly, one could add to this list of elements to consider depending upon the complexity of your current Maximo environment(s). Those listed above are bearing out to be the most time consuming and perhaps complex considerations to begin looking into. As mentioned above, TRM is in a unique position to assist you in planning for this transition and helping you make solid decisions for your organization.
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 for condition based maintenance / monitoring.