Imagine you’re a dedicated breeder of fine thoroughbred race horses. You love horses. Your whole life revolves around horses. You love everything about horses but you have a special affinity for fine animals at their peak physical strength and beauty.
You’re walking through a carnival and you run across a beautiful horse…you can see that it was born to race. Trouble is, it’s being used for pony rides.
This is how I feel every time I visit a site and see they are using Maximo like a spreadsheet or have it so over customized that all it does is digitize an antiquated process. I fully realize I am a Maximo nerd, but it just hurts my heart.
Maximo, out of the box, is a powerful asset management tool. Hardly the new kid on the block, it has been revised and updated to include many of the best practices used by various industries for IT asset management, facility asset management, inventory, purchasing and so many other functions. This incredible cadre of skills doesn’t even take in account the industry specific solutions designed for oil and gas, transportation, aviation, nuclear and health and human services.
Far too often, I walk into a site that uses Maximo and the users are less than satisfied. Most are convinced ‘it doesn’t work’.
But, as a devotee, I usually can pinpoint a couple of issues that have nothing to do with base Maximo about why ‘it doesn’t work’.
So, going back to my horse. A good breeder understands that the animal can have an outstanding pedigree, but they are only as good as what goes into them. Bad food, bad horse.
Maximo needs good data. The data needs to be in the right tables and fields. You can have 50 years of data, but if it’s in the wrong table or wrong field, it’s not useful. Most people tasked with ‘making Maximo work’ for their company often don’t have a strong background in database design. They are usually the go to internal ‘tech support’ person, or if they are the database manager, they have multiple databases to manage and are far too strapped for time to build out their Maximo system properly.
Building a Maximo database isn’t easy or intuitive at set up. Companies would benefit greatly from help in this area. The process takes time and a keen eye for detail.
Feed your system good data and you get good things out.
I wouldn’t let just anyone touch my thoroughbred. I want the vet to be an expert, the groom, the farrier, the jockey, everyone who touches my horse to very well trained. They need to be good at what they do. They don’t need to be expert in everything… just the things I’m asking them to do with my horse. If they bring on someone new, I don’t want them to touch my horse until they are good at what they’re supposed to do.
It’s true for Maximo too. The database could be set up beautifully. Fields, tables and front ends could be a work of art. But, if the people working with the system are not trained or haven’t had enough of the right training, it will look like the system doesn’t work.
Most IT projects skimp on training. Usually this is the first casualty of the implementation budget. Ironically, it tends to get cut when the build and test go well. “It’s easy…we don’t need any more training.” Two years later, suddenly what was a great system doesn’t work.
The quality of the system didn’t change. The usual culprit is the training wasn’t entrenched as part and parcel of the program.
Training matters. The training needs to stay current with versions and with processes. It is also important when employees change, they get the training they need to be successful.
We’re Doing All Organic Now
If I change my horse’s diet to an all organic source, I should make sure that everyone in my imaginary stable knows about the change, buys into the change and follows the new protocol. This doesn’t happen just because I say it once. I must manage this change.
Change Management is not a buzzword for training. It’s a separate discipline that includes training, but also communications and work process evaluation. Good change management starts when the project is approved and continues through the go live, through the early days of use and into the maturity phase.
Are Those Steel Cut Oats or Rolled?
Implementing a tool like Maximo properly will change your process. It is important to avoid the trap of just automating your current process.
Recognize that the changes can affect how people see themselves within the organization. People may think they are being replaced by the program. It’s hard to buy in to something new if you think you’re losing your job and no one is talking about life after Maximo.
Communication and process planning are essential for a successful implementation. If someone’s role is going to be impacted, they deserve to know. Companies need to plan for the how it will operate once Maximo is implemented and share how current employees will be expected to perform in the new environment.
But What Do I Have? What Should I Expect? How Can I Improve?
Every race horse runs on data as much as their legs. Everything gets measured…their weight, their fluid intake, output, food types, jockey weight, hours of exercise, hours of rest, every vital sign imaginable. Owners need more than their horse’s history; they want to be able to see results from choices with feed, trainers, hay type, everything associated with that horse so they can anticipate performance.
Maximo is a great repository for your asset history and actions. The relational nature makes it perfect for gleaning information that would normally be only lightly related items like vendors and failure occurrences. Adding something like Cohesive’s Propel to Maximo brings even clearer focus in your database function.
Is my data good? Am I seeing reliable results? Are all areas consistent with data entry? Do I need to focus resources in one area over another? How timely are entries made? How are anomalies handled or even identified?
Data matters. That’s true for both good and bad. It matters to get bad data corrected just like it matters to employ good data in decision making. Too often companies make decisions based on imprecise data.
Maximo is an excellent tool. But just like a butter knife wasn’t designed to be a screwdriver, poor use of a tool can produce results…sometimes desired results…but not the most efficient or cost-effective or repeatable results. With the help of Cohesive Solutions, you can Maximize IBM Maximo Performance.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pay my dollar and enjoy a thoroughbred pony ride.
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