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Kevin Wertz

By: Kevin Wertz on March 31st, 2024

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Where Are We Headed? Maintaining a Maximo “Roadmap” (Part 1)

If you just went live with Maximo, congratulations! Maybe now you’re thinking, what’s next? 

Or… maybe you’ve been live on Maximo for several years now and you’re having trouble managing all the requested enhancements of the system. 

Or… maybe you’re supporting a stagnating system; you’re handling break-fix tickets and small enhancements, but no one has a vision of how to improve the system and really take advantage of your investment.

Hey there, IBM Maximo enthusiasts! I’m Kevin Wertz…I recently spent 23 years at a life science company as an in-house IT Maximo application analyst/developer before starting at Interloc as a functional consultant last year. All of my time at that company was spent supporting CMMS/asset management systems, the last 16 of which I supported Maximo. Today, I’d like to dive into the importance of having a roadmap specifically for your Maximo system.  

Now before I delve into this, I want to make sure you understand I’ve spent most of my career in IT so while I have written this from an IT perspective, the advice I’m going to give will work even if you’re an engineering professional in charge of taming this beast called IBM Maximo at your company. As a matter of fact, our roadmap was a collaboration between my key engineering contact (called the “Maximo Program Manager” at my former company) and me. 

But take a moment with me now and picture this – you're setting out on a cross-country road trip without a map or Waze (the best GPS app, am I right?!). Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Well, the same goes for the lifecycle of your Maximo system. A roadmap provides a clear direction to all the stakeholders, helping you navigate through the complexities and challenges of supporting what should be a continually evolving and improving Maximo system. 

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s rewind to 2008. We had just finished a nine-month hypercare period after go-live in 2007 (a large site life science company with strict documentation requirements for all changes takes a long time!). Shortly after, the company I worked for hired a new engineering manager who had a great vision for world-class maintenance which of course included many changes to Maximo. Suddenly there were a lot of new demands and great ideas to enhance Maximo, coming at us in rapid-fire fashion. We also soon realized that we could get a lot of value from our investment by moving separate systems (home-grown as well as off-the-shelf) and spreadsheets into Maximo. At the same time, we’ve got IT leadership with all their demands… “you need to move to single sign-on”, “we’re changing browsers, you need to test thoroughly”, “you need to move user management to our IT group that manages all user accounts”, etc. It was a lot, and at most points in time while I was there at “Life Science Inc” we had less than 2 FTEs total in IT supporting the application side of the system. And…until 2017 our little IT applications group also supported the middleware (WebSphere)! 

So first and foremost, we realized we needed a governance meeting, and quick. So, this is my first piece of advice to you. Get all management stakeholders of the system in IT, Engineering, and whatever other major business group might be using Maximo and get them in a physical or virtual room together at least quarterly to discuss all things Maximo at your company. You may even need a monthly meeting for the first few years after go-live if demand is especially high. 

The governance meetings are a great place to discuss and get agreement on what the next steps are for Maximo support and enhancement. So that’s where the “roadmap” comes in.  

Now one thing I want to be clear on up front: the governance meeting did not cover individual support tickets unless it was a major incident affecting the usability of the system. Management doesn’t care about each individual support ticket. Simply report high-level how you’re doing on the tickets; how many you closed, how many remain open, response time, etc. Basic KPIs. Individual support tickets don’t belong on the roadmap. 

Our first Maximo roadmap started simply, as an Excel spreadsheet with a basic list and a priority number. Eventually we added month columns next to the requests and put X’s in the months that we planned to work on that item. But where we ended up is where I’m going to encourage you to go. Make a PowerPoint presentation. 

Our roadmap at “Life Science Inc” ended up looking like this after its many iterations. I’m of the mindset that it’s important to keep it to one page even if it gets a little cluttered. Management needs that “snapshot” of where the system is headed, and one page keeps it simple.

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So let’s break this down. We decided on a 5-year outlook. At “Life Science Inc” we supported 3 organizations that used Maximo. So, to help keep things clear, we color-coded each one to the organization it related to. By the way, in case it isn’t obvious, I changed some text on this roadmap to protect the identify of my former company. 

Everything starts with basic support, so that’s how we decided to start the roadmap. Our first row laid out some of the basic things that IT and engineering’s Maximo program management do to support the system. A common element in this section was support of new buildings or companies being purchased whose data needed to be loaded into the system. Also, business units would sometimes split and that caused requests for us to restructure data en masse (one owner group might split into two different ones, for example). This is all good information for management to be aware of, as this type of support takes valuable time away from other efforts.

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It was no mistake that the second row titled “Internal, Infrastructure, Affects All Companies” was near the top, as this section often reflected high-priority things that had to be done before we could work on improvements to the system. This row reflected the demands coming from IT, the system-level things we had to do such as patching or upgrading the system, managing Maximo license counts, and more. All pretty high priority stuff.

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But it’s rows 3 and 4 that I really want to highlight, as these rows reflect the ongoing improvements that can really help you get value from your investment in Maximo. Let’s hit those next time! Bye for now.

About Kevin Wertz

Kevin Wertz is a Maximo consultant who is new to Interloc as of April 2023. Before that he spent 23 years at a leading biotherapeutics manufacturer supporting CMMS/EAM systems, 16 of which he supported two Maximo systems full-time as-in-house IT support. He recently completed his first project with Interloc, a successful go-live of Maximo asset and work management functionality at a Canadian natural gas supplier. Throughout his career, Kevin has led multiple Maximo implementations and technical upgrades, demonstrating expertise in system optimization and development. Kevin is also an accomplished speaker, having presented at conferences such as MaximoWorld, IBM Pulse and InterConnect (now part of the IBM Think conference), and the former Life Sciences Maximo User Group (now part of the Manufacturing Maximo Users Group). Kevin loves to write and share his passion for Maximo.