Mobile Maximo Solutions – A Neutral Guide
At a recent Maximo Users Group meeting, an interesting fact was revealed. The members had participated in a simple poll, with one question asking what topics the users were most interested in. The number one response was Mobile Solutions. In a way, this was not surprising, however, it begged the question: With all the quality marketing being done by mobile solution vendors, why is there so much demand for information on this subject? Here’s a likely answer. A wise selection has become more than a choice of one of two solutions.
Here are some of the challenges faced when deciding on a mobile platform.
- Business needs are changing more than ever before
- There is a growing number of vendors in the mobile space
- Mobile technology is evolving rapidly – Which are fads and which will stay?
- Uncertainty around newer technologies vs. perceived limitations of legacy products
- IBM has provided several means of interfacing with Maximo. Which is best? Why?
- All the mobile solutions for Maximo seem to provide similar capabilities, yet all differ. Why?
As a Maximo services consultancy, we feel that we can serve you, our Maximo users, by providing a concise high-level perspective of several of the more favorable solutions offered today. We’ll address the point listed above – (similar, yet different), because every solution has its strengths, and insight into these should help begin the evaluation process with the goal of fitting the best solution for each case. While this means that we won’t be getting into technical specifications or nuances which may apply to use or function, we will share a high level view of the capabilities and compatibility issues to help identify the best fit for your organization. You’ll certainly want to follow by doing a more detailed evaluation before making the ultimate decision. As always, Maven can help you through any part or all of your mobility planning and implementation.
We’ll discuss IBM’s Maximo Mobile Suite and Maximo Anywhere, DataSplice Mobile Computing, Syclo Mobile, EZMaxMobile and Extend 7000. We’ll touch on devices, Maximo versions and some highlights of each offering.
IBM’s Mobile Offerings
The Latest IBM offerings can be run on Windows Mobile and Android platforms along with the traditional Windows Phone/Mobile platforms. This translates to a wide variety of devices, including Android phones and tablets, plus the wide assortment of Windows Mobile devices such as numerous Motorola and Intermec rugged handhelds and Windows Phones. To
quote IBM’s product announcement: “… this new Android release will knock your socks off.”
Lesser known capability enhancements in the latest release are support for Symbol
Windows Mobile Scanners and Audit History support. The caveat here is that
Maximo Mobile 7.5.1 is required, which in turn requires Maximo 18.104.22.168. If you
are still using an older version of Maximo, it may be best to upgrade
first. Previous versions of Maximo Mobile are still supported, however they
will reduce the device list by eliminating Android devices, and in some cases
will only run on devices capable of running older versions of Windows Mobile.
Maximo Everyplace provides IBM’s
broadest compatible device list. Included are iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
devices and select Blackberry devices. Maximo Everyplace runs on top of Maximo
7.x and requires interfaces to be created for devices in a manner similar to
creating applications with the Application designer. This allows for simplified
and properly sized screens for your devices of choice. This solution is like
taking a subset of your Maximo desktop with you, and works best in an
DataSplice Mobile Computing runs on a wide variety of devices, with the company recommending twelve different Windows Mobile, Windows 7 and 8, iOS and Android devices in rugged handheld
through consumer tablets. While these range from approximately $200 to $4900
each, there are many additional devices supported, including desktops. This
variety of device options is certainly a strong point.
DataSplice was spun off from a
mobile software company 12 years ago and has focused on Maximo applications,
giving it a strong user base and history. Middleware runs on a separate server
and remote device and administrative clients complete the solution. The newest
remote client is HTML5 compliant, which makes it platform agnostic. Along with
the usual Work Orders and Inventory capabilities, Condition Monitoring and
Inspection processes are supported through unique modules.
Syclo was acquired by SAP in 2012,
yet still maintains a working partnership with IBM which began in 2000. This
long lived relationship allows them to make the claim that there are more Syclo
Maximo deployments than any other mobile solution. As for devices, SAP says
that the solution works on more than 100 different devices, and further claims
the platform works with any device, however this is qualified by the statement
“…with packaged and custom-developed apps…” Maximo versions going
back to 4.x are supported.
The majority of Syclo’s installed
base uses middleware which was created on a legacy 4GL platform, which we must
acknowledge is a bit dated. New client (device) software is certainly updated.
The Syclo Mobile Suite consists of Work Manager, Inventory Manager and Auditor
modules, providing all the basics. Since
Maximo mobility started with Syclo, which has been absorbed into SAP,
integration capability is extended, meaning that with the same system and
devices, information in multiple enterprise systems can be tapped, such as ERP,
CRM and SCM systems you may also be using.
EZMaxMobile is claimed to run on any iOS, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone device as well as laptops and tablets. This covers perhaps the longest list of compatible devices without need for customization. The company also says that it is compatible with all Maximo 6.x and 7.x versions.
EZMaxMobile is a “light” deployment, meaning that there are no additional servers to install, and because it is browser based, there are no client installations needed. While this is a recent entry, it is rapidly growing into the mainstream category through successful deployments at some considerable US and international organizations. This elegant solution seems to have captured all the basic needs plus includes all the newest bells and whistles made available through the latest mobile technology, such as GPS integration and device camera bar code scanning. To the developer’s credit, we have seen how well EZMaxMobile transitions seamlessly from connected to offline mode, which, let’s be honest – is a huge reliabilty benefit with inconsistencies in cell services and the limitations of WiFi coverage. As with any recently introduced product, we’ll have to wait to see how well it performs and is supported over time, but early impressions are of a quality forward-looking solution.
Extend 7000 from Schad Automation also runs on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile/Phone devices, which translates to a respectably long device list. It is compatible with Maximo 6.x and 7.x versions.
Schad has invested in bringing their real-time SCADA enabled solution to the US following a string of successful airport and commercial implementations throughout Europe and the U.K. If you get to view a demo of this solution, you’ll immediate notice that it was designed and built from a user’s perspective, which makes the experience somewhat unique in its friendly and common-sense approach. Along with airports, utilities, public works and distribution organizations are attracted to this solution’s direct integration of automated equipment with Maximo. While some users have created complex desktop enabled SCADA read capabilities, Schad’s offering is the only packaged solution to do so successfully. It adds bi-directional data flow, meaning that not only does it read real-time asset data, such as for condition monitoring, a degree of device control can be performed via handhelds. Extend 7000’s Maximo Work Management is both unique and elegant in the way work orders and technician availability and assignment can be managed in real-time, which keeps all hands on wrenches. The company tells us that Inventory capability is in the works.
Schad Automation’s Extend 7000 is becoming the most compelling offering where numbers of automated PLC and computer controlled assets are in use. This unique capability, it’s installed base outside the US, and the common-sense approach of its user interface tell us this is suitable not only for organizations adding mobile capabilities for the first time, but also to supplement existing mobile solutions wherever SCADA visibility and control is needed.
While this briefly encapsulates some basic capabilities and features of both legacy and leading-edge solutions, they all have their place in the Maximo arena. The rewards of deploying mobile solutions are many, yet selecting the best mobile solution – or solutions – for your organization is a complex task. All require deployment and integration, some include additional server requirements and configuration needs.
Maven’s broad experience positions us to advise you on the specific technical and functional capabilities and qualifies us to recommend by comparison of capabilities and fit- the best solution for your unique needs and goals.
We’ll gladly perform ROI and Gap Analyses to help you see what the best mobile solution can do for you, and we can expertly manage and perform the deployment and support to ensure rapid results and long-term success. Are you ready to take mobility to the next level? A call or Email to Maven is sure to help.