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INSIGHTS
How to make Maximo Dynamic For Your Field Operations

By Sandeep Gawankar, CPA Australia, CA India, MCP and D365 BC Senior Functional Consultant

Asset Intensive industries all have one thing in common: Assets are the center of their universe.  Examples of Asset intensive industries include Manufacturers, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Facilities Maintenance, and After-Market Services organisations.  When it comes to Asset Maintenance for these industries, it is broken down between the assets that you service for your customers, and the assets that keep the company going; your internal assets.

Asset Maintenance in both situations is equally important; you need to keep your customers happy with the assets you service, and you need to keep your internal operations going to ensure production continues.  Downtime either means loss of customers or loss of production.  Both can be extremely costly.

When it comes to Asset Management, the needs are the same whether you are maintaining them for your external customers or internal operations, for example:

  • Warranty Tracking
  • Managing the Parts & Logistics to Repair
  • Parts Returns
  • Maintenance Plans
  • Work Orders/Asset History
  • Connected Service/IoT
  • Service Requests
  • Scheduling of Work
  • Calculating Cost to Replace versus Cost to Repair

The biggest functional requirement difference between servicing external customers and internal operations is that internal operations need the ability to manage the costs and value for balance sheet and tax purposes.

So even though Asset Management functional needs are basically the same, Asset Management software applications have spawned from different roots:

  • Servicing for External Customers – Field Service applications like Dynamics 365 Field Service, which tend to be a module of a CRM system and require customer engagement throughout the service life cycle
  • Servicing for Internal Operations – module of ERP applications such as Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Infor, or IBM which have financial and tax implications inherently built in

It is because of this financial requirement that Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) tools have been around longer than some of the newer CRM/Field Service Applications. The leader in the EAM field since 1996 is Maximo (per Gartner). Maximo was founded in 1985 and acquired by IBM in 2006. Built as a stand-alone application, Maximo flourished because of its’ independence from complex ERP applications, and the ease to implement and integrate with them.  The “Kleenex” of EAM was Maximo, where it became entrenched as the application of choice for many utilities, energy, and manufacturing floors.  Another term you may hear is CMMS, or Computerised Maintenance Management System, popularised in the Facility Maintenance industry.

Maximo excels in everything that defines an asset. High level features where Maximo is a product leader include the following:

  • Complex asset configurations and hierarchy’s
  • Linear Assets
  • BOM of all the part components
  • Flexible planned/preventive maintenance plans that take into account time and/or ‘meters’ (units tracked other than time; miles for example)
  • IoT and prescriptive approaches to predictive maintenance
  • Work Order Generation from PM’s
  • Detail cost capture of all Work Orders
  • Asset valuation for tax and balance sheet records

Areas where Maximo typically requires more robust complimentary application to provide a complete Field Operations solution include:

  • Robust scheduling and route optimisation
  • Service Request / Case Management
  • SLA Management
  • Inspection Forms
  • Mobile technician App
  • Procurement
  • Resource Management
  • Customer and Supplier Portals
  • Knowledgebase
  • Remote Assistance
  • Project Operations & Task Management

In addition to the above capabilities that can make Maximo Dynamic, a low-code platform is often critical to help fill some of the gaps that are not typically handled by an off the shelf application.  Here is just a small sample of PowerApps that can also help make Maximo Dynamic:

  • Resource Demand Planning and Forecasting
  • Permitting
  • Take 5 / Safety Checklists & Hazard Assessment
  • Minor Works / Small Jobs with Parent-Child Work Orders
  • Shut down maintenance scheduling / Lock-out – Tag-out
  • Vendor Invoice Reconciliation
  • Digitise Approval Processes for any Field Operations Process
  • Convert any Microsoft Access, Spreadsheet, or Lotus Notes App into an integrated PowerApps

The desire to improve administrative efficiency corporate wide has led to increased interoperability with productivity tools such as Office and Teams.  The lines of business applications and productivity tools have been blurred and have allowed users to manage daily routines where they spend most of their time or prefer to work.  Examples include:

  • Manage approvals, such as a new job request, through Outlook or Teams
  • Generate new job or service request from Outlook or Teams
  • Capture all client activity and interaction from Outlook automatically in Dynamics for a complete Customer 360
  • Add Dynamics 365 Widgets and PowerBI reports in Teams for quick information access eliminating application swivel chair operations
  • Complete Team collaboration with Employees, Vendors, or Customers on Work Orders/Jobs, Service Requests, or any other Field Operations process
  • Leverage Copilot capability as part of your Dynamics 365 or Office 365 subscription to automate processes and provide insights to your Field Operations or Copilot Studio to create custom AI solutions

Enter Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform to provide a complete Field Operations solution along with Maximo. Microsoft provides the model driven applications listed above and relies on partners like Velrada, www.velrada.com, to provide the integration, implementation, and low-code expertise for a robust Field Operations application.

It starts with getting the integration right.  Velrada has created EAM Connect: A robust templated integration package where integration effort has been reduced from months to weeks, resulting in a quicker time to value and increased ROI.  This template features a bi-directional integration that handles both Planned and Reactive/Break-Fix maintenance:

Velrada’s focus on Asset Intensive Industries have led to the creation of complimentary applications on the Power Platform and fill application gaps that are typical for these industries.  Details can be found here, www.powerworker.com, but one in particular to highlight is PowerRoster TM.

PowerRosterTM is an advanced Workforce Planning and Demand Forecasting application.  This comprehensive PowerApps can feed Dynamics 365 Field Service Scheduling and Resource Scheduling Optimisation, allowing organisations to manage employee allocations and assign staff and contractors to rostered work patterns that can be onerous and error prone.  Here are some key PowerRoster TM features:

  • Automated forecasting, planning, & allocation
  • Plan and Visualise Shifts
  • Forecast shift patterns in advance
  • Empower Frontline Workers to swap shifts
  • Compliance rule enforcement & overtime management
  • Copilot ready

That solve these typical problems:

  • How am I able manage my workforce in the coming days, weeks, or months?
  • Who is available to do the work?
  • How do I manage my shifts and am I properly staffed?
  • How do I ensure compliance and overtime regulations are met?
  • Can I leverage the latest AI technology to improve operational efficiency?

Here is how PowerRoster TM fits in a typical Field Operations organisation:

IBM’s Maximo is a powerful Asset Management application. If that is something your organisation has invested in, let Microsoft and Velrada help Maximo be dynamic to provide a complete and comprehensive Field Operations solution.

Interested in taking the next step with Dynamics 365? Reach out and we’ll be in touch.
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