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Posted January 5 2018
Written by Mark Rooney

IBM Maximo: Customizing or Configuring? 7 Questions to Ask

Considering implementing IBM Maximo or looking to upgrade your software? This article is your go-to guide to evaluate which option is best for you. To configure or to customize?

Many Maximo users customize their Maximo installation, while many others leave the source code as delivered, relying solely on the Maximo configuration abilities. How can you know which is best for you?

The answer is simple: neither option, as everything depends on the user’s context. However, should you decide to customize, we strongly recommend you do so carefully.

To customize or to configure your Maximo?

Questions you must ask:

1. What is your current Maximo version?

Your Maximo version can indeed help you make a choice between customizing or configuring. As such, the latest versions of Maximo provide increasing configuration abilities. You can find those in the Maximo Configuration Guide. It will also let you customize workflows, escalations, conditional UIs, menus, push-button actions via scripted actions and conditions. For example, multiple capabilities are available in order to integrate data between Maximo and other (external) applications within and outside an enterprise.

Aside, Maximo version 7.5 and later have some key configuration abilities, such as:

  • Automation Scripting: Automation Scripting allows for customization of Maximo Business Objects (MBO) through save-point and initialization-point validations and actions, as well as MBO field validations and actions. The latest Maximo version allows us to configure code fragments before and after any given Maximo Business Object, using Java script.
  • Skins: Create your own custom publishing “skins”. This option allows to quickly and easily change the look and feel. As example, you can add user specific branding, such as colors, font and logo of a company.

2. How flexible are your process and business usage?

People might think about configuring Maximo or consider adopting process changes. Indeed, this would be an appropriate choice if you wish to align with best practices or common method. In that case system integration with Maximo may be required.

As for customizing Maximo, evaluate if there are separated obligation and compliancy needs from the existing convention. In that case, customization might be required. Also, rigid or largely varied process may not be accommodated with Maximo standard configuration ability. As you can see, the choice depends on many factors. Sometimes, when automation via workflow is required, more often then not, users will go with customization.

3. What are your Information Technology (IT) capabilities?

It is relevant to focus on in-house IT capabilities, such as skill set, methodology, support network or full-time equivalents (FTEs), to understand and adapt Maximo’s code? For example, think of your budget capabilities towards what you are trying to accomplish. There is indeed a large investment required to learn the internal structure of Maximo before coding. Besides, an experienced Java programmer will still need a significant time to understand how Maximo is built. Assess first if it’s worth hiring contractors or not. Then, choose to configure if you realize there is not enough budget for customizing the project although some of the configuration abilities do already require deep understanding of Maximo’s internal structure.

4. What is your Return on Investment (ROI)?

Once the code is opened, the costs increase quickly. Customization typically provides return over a large operation and/or time scale.

5. Have you reviewed best practice rules for customizing off-the-shelf software?

Reviewing best practice rules for customizing off-the-shelf software is also an important element. Here are some points to consider:

  • Extending the original code, rather than changing it, ideally extending or adding outside of each class or program entity;
  • Documenting the deviations clearly;
  • Labelling or somehow isolate customization extensions;
  • Keeping, if possible, an original copy for comparison and bench marking.

6. Are you aware of the available resources regarding this decision?

The Createch Group’s professionals are here to help you make the best choice for your organization. We focus on understanding your business operations, as well as designing the asset management approach which best supports your objectives. Our experts can provide the right information. The firm even offers on-going IBM Maximo training, resources and technical support to ensure you get the most out of your asset management system. Do not hesitate if you wish to benefit from world-class capabilities’ Maximo experts.

7. Are you aware of customization’s risks?

Once your installation is customized, IBM will not provide the same support. However, you can contact us, and we will be pleased to help you with any issue.

As you can see, customization or configuration is indeed a tailored decision you must take!

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