How Maximo eases the transition from legacy to COTS
Mary Gorczynski 1100006B54 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  software ibmeam tivoli service-management assetmgmt government asset-management maximo eam ibmsoftware ibmontwitter
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Today's blog comes from David Turner, Worldwide industry leader for Maximo government solutions.
Government agencies are under increasing economic pressure to improve efficiency. Challenges include uncertain force structure requirements, unpredictable future missions, disconnects between capacity and funded programs and potentially declining budgets. One cost-cutting measure that prepares agencies for an uncertain future is to implement lower cost commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software to replace custom-built legacy systems.
Custom-built systems are a money-pit in that they usually require legions of developers and consultants to keep them current with ever-changing technology platforms, CFO and CIO compliance measures. Private sector firms have moved quickly to adopt COTS software as legacy systems became increasingly expensive and difficult to maintain. COTS software is not only less expensive to maintain, but when backed by a reputable provider, it can expand the organizations capabilities and improve efficiency. Now government agencies are also rapidly implementing COTS software as solutions become available to meet their specific requirements.
Don’t risk the big bang! Over the past decade, thousands of complex enterprise information management system deployments have died a slow death because the best and sometimes only way to deploy was to follow a big bang deployment methodology.
Government agencies typically have large quantities of valuable data residing in legacy systems that is necessary to support future operations. In addition, with budgetary constraints, incremental deployments are literally the only feasible method to successfully transition business process support to COTS software. The most popular and successful incremental deployment methodology since 2001 has been the Agile software development method, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams.
Maximo Supports Agile deployment methods and includes numerous built-in utilities to support controlled, incremental deployments across the enterprise. Two of these features that directly support the situation in government agencies are the application import/export function and the Maximo Integration Framework (MIF).
Preserving and re-using institutional data - The application import/export function supports the import and export of data directly from applications, such as Asset or Work Orders. An example use case for this functionality would be where an application user has a need to provide mass updates across multiple rows of the same data. Although the user could go through each row of data (ie. each asset) via the application and update each record, this new functionality allows the user to export the data to a formatted file that can be maintained in an Excel spreadsheet. The user can apply changes across one or more rows of data in the spreadsheet and when completed, the data can be imported back into Maximo. The loading of this data into Maximo processes through the business objects for all the same validations that the data would go through if entered through the application.
Although the implementation of this functionality relies on the integration framework, the intent is that the end user needs no understanding of the framework to import and export data. There is a requirement for an integration administrator to enable the import/export to a specific application. This means that functional exports in the agency can directly manipulate large quantities of legacy data without requiring extensive assistance and programming support from the IT department.
Incremental deployments require the ability to dynamically integrate with legacy systems. Maximo’s Integration Framework (MIF) streamlines connecting to legacy systems and supports rapid development of interfaces, both temporary and permanent. The MIF’s “Launch in Context” feature provides the ability to provide flexible "punch-outs" to third party systems. This will allow government agencies to gradually introduce Maximo features while keeping legacy system access and functionality available to support the day’s work.
In summary, Maximo has two key features, import/export
function and the MIF, that are specifically designed to ease
transition of data and function, and enable an Agile deployment methodology. For more information check out our Asset and Facilities Management website.