John Q. Todd
Sr. Business Consultant/Product Researcher
Total Resource Management (TRM), Inc.
A bit of a disclaimer… be sure to refer to official IBM documentation for specifics as to the new/enhanced features discussed in this article.
Another thing we’d like to point out before continuing: Be sure to refer to the IBM Compatibility Matrix when seeking understanding about which components are compatible with each other. This service from IBM very clearly shows which operating systems, database, etc. are supported by the various releases of not only legacy Maximo, but also MAS.
As the new releases of Maximo Application Suite (MAS) continue to hit the streets at a rapid rate, MAS 8.11 has some refinements to the more advanced functionality that we have been waiting for. While MAS continues to support the tried-and-true features/functions of Maximo via the Manage component, there is far more to MAS than just processing work orders. Three major areas of enhancement that 8.11 brings are:
Monitor is not a new component or concept at all. Rather, Monitor facilitates the capture and analysis of data coming directly from equipment or a historian. Monitor also contains pre-built models that can detect anomalies and present alerts for humans to act upon.
What has been missing up to release 8.11 are “easy” ways of making the connection between the source(s) of data and Monitor. Since the number and differences in format of equipment sensors out in the marketplace are diverse, you needed to have a middleware/REST API expert available to help you set things up. That has changed with IBM acquisition and embedding OMNIO into Monitor. Keep in mind that the configurations you perform with Monitor to gain access to and ingest sensor data are basically creating an integration.
The OMNIO addition to Monitor makes it easier to connect to Operational Technology (OT)/Edge devices and technology, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), and Open Platform Communications (OPC) servers. It also has a collection of many 1000’s of pre-built connectors to commonly used devices across industries.
The advantage for us now is that we do not need to start with a blank slate when it comes to the interface between the equipment telemetry and Monitor. Within Monitor, you can search by manufacturer, product, and product type to start the configuration process. While the pre-built interfaces may not always fit your context exactly, it gives you a head start. Then you can modify from there.
Further, Monitor now has the capability to normalize incoming data, based upon the pre-configured interface framework. Now that Monitor is aware of the type of device it is receiving data from, it can better format/display the data to users and to the models you are using.
MAS Health and Predict
It is important to recognize that Predict is a more capable version of Health. While much of which you can do in Predict is also available in Health, Predict also includes models and functions that are not in Health.
With the new version of Health, you can form risk matrices about your Assets, just as you did with the Scoring function in previous versions. Your view of risk can be configured within Health, as it was in Health and Predict-Utilities, of which is now part of Health allows you to identify and drill down into assets at risk using the OOTB matrices. Also, you can create new matrix configurations with custom scores. With Predict in the mix, you can apply future forecasting to an asset risk matrix as well.
Also new is an Asset Investment Optimizer that is part of Health (it too used to be in the Health and Predict-Utilities). However, it does require a set of AppPoints to be reserved out of your pool as with other MAS “add-ons.” You can build projects and run replacement scenarios to determine which assets should be replaced and when, creating or using replacement plan templates. Of course, you can compare current plans and optimized strategy results.
Specific to Predict, there have been improvements in the scoring and trending visualizations for anomalies. We would expect over time that components like Health and Predict will evolve in their visualizations of incoming data, becoming as capable as the typical business intelligence tools on the market. (Cognos is an example)
Previously, APM for Utilities had several models that needed to be added to Predict. With MAS 8.11, these models are now simply part of the product. Now Maximo Models for Electrical Distribution is available for free through MAS v8.11 upgrade for any Health or Predict users (no install AppPoints required). They might have some usefulness for the typical organization, but they remain focused on the Utilities context.
There is a growing list of “accelerators” out in the RedHat Marketplace for these components of MAS. Companies are adding their value adds on a weekly basis, so it is always worth a look.
Maximo Visual Inspection (MVI)
MVI is becoming a very compelling component of MAS. In essence you train MVI with sets of pictures that you have classified perhaps as simply as those showing “good” and those showing “bad.” Then, as pictures are taken by workers in the field, drones, or even production line cameras, MVI determines with confidence levels if there is action recommended.
Dataset pattern insights is a new capability that automatically groups images in a dataset according to common visual patterns detected in the images using Watson AI. Also, storage of inspection images has been expanded to support millions of images.
Anomaly detection has been improved by enabling the selection of an optimized model based on the available inferencing hardware: servers, edge devices, or hybrid systems.
Seamless upgrades in MVI Edge: enables the platform to be smoothly and transparently upgraded from one release to a more recent version.
If you are capturing images of equipment issues and then simply attaching them to work orders or in a file system, look at MVI to see if your picture taking efforts can turn into beneficial automation. No doubt there is some configuration, setup, and training needed, but having a computer to analyze your pictures and point out issues can have huge value.
But wait… there is more…
- Here is a list of other 8.11 enhancements across the other components of MAS:
Now MAS Admin can configure multiple login options per User record. A single User could login as local, LDAP, or even SAML as needed.
- SAML can now be configured as the default login path, taking the User directly to the identity provider.
- Users’ status changes (active/inactive) can be set at the MAS level now, as well as a duration set for the status. User status changes can also be made in bulk on the User page, as well as via a .csv file import.
- There is now the ability to define API Keys in MAS Admin for MAS Core functionality.
- To support FISMA requirements, RHOS audit logs can be exported to an external system.
- Version locking and roll-back functionality can be performed by Administrators via RHOS Operators.
- For Mobile apps:
- New Inventory Issues app.
- New in the Assets app, the Asset can be viewed on a Map and the User can edit the Asset record as well as Classify/Reclassify the Asset while off-line.
- Both the Technician and Inspection mobile apps have had performance changes made
- In the Technician app, the number of Attachments on the record is displayed, making it easier to know if there is an attachment or not. Comm logs are now also visible, and if Spatial is implemented, there is a Map view on the Work Order list.
- There is a new Dispatch Dashboard available.
- Also, for the relatively new Operational and Scheduler Dashboards, there have been several additions and enhancements. Refer to IBM documentation for details.
- Several enhancements in Spatial and Civil Infrastructure add-ons.
- The Parts Identifier functionality has been removed.
Remember, the licensing scheme for MAS is via AppPoints. No longer do you need to purchase specific licenses for the components or add-ons for MAS. The smaller user communities who would use Monitor, Health, Predict, and even MVI just need enough AppPoints in the pool for them to login.
MAS 8.11 is focused on bringing new and refined feature/functions to the more sophisticated components, namely Health, Predict, and MVI. It is good to see these components being organized and enhanced, obviously because of client input.
TRM has been implementing Maximo, and now MAS for many years in many industries. Please contact us to see how we can help you take advantage of these advanced MAS components to the benefit of your business.