AKWIRE for Maximo User Group

7 Compelling Reasons IBM Maximo Users Enhance the CMMS with AKWIRE

by Mariah Patterson on November 17, 2016

No matter how good a program is or how skilled a user may be, there are times when you simply need to reach out for help. When an AKWIRE user needs technical assistance, chances are you’re going to be tapping into the expertise of Solufy’s Elliot Bonilla.

Elliot has been called on to address quick questions, assist with implementations and upgrades, and also to solve in-depth problems.

Hailing from Puerto Rico, Elliot began in the pharmaceutical industry.

He encountered a replacement of an outdated CMMS system to IBM Maximo EAM, which had been delayed six months. “But I needed this done now,” he said. “So I went into my boss and I said, ‘Give me a month to try to figure this out.’” He did work his way through it and from then on, began working with Maximo in earnest.

As he moved through different positions over different industries, including a career stop at NASA, Elliot continued to learn the ins and outs of the Maximo CMMS system.

Finally, he began working for CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation). At one point, CSC was working with another company on a joint venture. The other company was already working with Solufy. As part of his support tasks with that joint venture, Elliot was tasked with implementing AKWIRE with Solufy’s Gerry Lamarche.

ElliotBonilla-Solufy.jpg

“The beauty of that project, is that even today, it’s still working. They haven’t upgraded it; they haven’t done anything to it. It’s still running. It’s the classic, ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’ They haven’t touched it.”

That was more than three years ago.

Continually impressed by the AKWIRE software, it wasn’t long before he decided to work with it on a full-time basis and joined the Solufy team, as the director of technical support.

Based on his experience, he has outlined some of the major benefits of utilizing AKWIRE.

1. AKWIRE is a quick and easy add-on for the IBM Maximo CMMS/EAM

“A pro of AKWIRE is simply how easily and quickly you can go from nothing to a fully-working environment and getting the data you need from your system in a matter of hours.

“If you know your parameters and what you’re setting up, and you have all the right permissions, within a few hours, you can have AKWIRE installed for your IBM Maximo system. You can have a schedule up and available for you so you can start moving work orders around.”

Other client sites, he said, can take longer if the users don’t have everything in place or if they don’t know their data well enough.

2. AKWIRE is highly configurable

Another strength of the AKWIRE software is that it is easily tailored for each client’s needs. For example, he recently did a major upgrade for a customer. This particular client “is really creative. They’re big in the sense of usage and application, because the application gives them what they need. And all the stuff that’s really hard to do in Maximo; it’s really easy to do with AKWIRE.

“Using creative methods, or creative code, you can establish the equation that you need to give you the data you need, and how you need it, in the application without having to go to Maximo to change it.” For example, he said that a user can program AKWIRE to assume “1 plus 1 equals 4 on Wednesdays if the temperature is 72 degrees. If that’s your rule, it doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong. It’s your rule and it’s your business.”

Any changes made in AKWIRE can also be written back to Maximo seamlessly, updating the Maximo system with the new data in accordance with MBO (Maximo Business Objects).

3. AKWIRE is extremely adaptable to business realities

In general, AKWIRE has earned its reputation for being easy to work with. He recently collaborated with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) who had users that needed to access information for work that that was the responsibility of a different group.

In other words, “You might be responsible for something to happen but you don’t have any actions attached to it. There is no way to get the needed information out of the Maximo system without overly complicated equations.”

Elliot worked with TVA to set up a simple check system that assigned the work orders with different numerical values. “A ‘1’ or a ‘0’ fulfills so many things for them. Users can take a list and shrink it from 1,000 work orders to 300. Now that list makes more business sense to them since they can now see what they need to work on and what they are responsible for. Users can take a combination of both elements, slicing and dicing the data to meet their specific requirements for that day.”

Doc Palmer-Testimonial.jpg

4. AKWIRE can be used as a platform to help solve Maximo data issues

In fact, Elliot mentioned that some problems that he helps to solve are not necessarily AKWIRE-related, but he is able to use the software as a platform to help mitigate the roadblock. “At times, people express a problem that is not an AKWIRE-core problem. We can use AKWIRE to solve that Maximo data problem.”

For example, in a company he used to work with, they wanted to use AKWIRE to determine which of two jobs were conflicting with each other for various reasons. 

The actual solution to de-conflict the work orders was created by Solufy President Mario Boileau. “Mario put together a set of logic that said if two jobs were conflicting based on certain criteria, the jobs will turn red on the screen. As soon as you move one of the jobs so they’re not conflicting anymore, they will return to their normal colors.”

Elliot highlighted another creative solution, this one with Sinclair Oil. “They needed to create a baseline that was configured in a specific way for each day of the week. This was done the same way every Monday, Tuesday, etc. to prevent human error and prevent users from second-guessing what was needed to be done.”

A plug-in was developed so that by the simple click of a button, AKWIRE will be configured for the exact way to create the baseline that day. “It’s another great example of ‘Set it and forget it,’” Elliot said.

As a third example, a client had a large number of work orders that needed to be closed; each of which would take an average of 2 minutes through Maximo. Wanting to make the process more efficient, they reached out to Solufy. “We wrote an application for them and the process went from 2 minutes to 30 work orders in 1 minute. The effort of closing work orders went down by 81% and they have closed hundreds of thousands of work orders.”

In fact, this customer presented the solution in a user group, estimating at the time that they had saved over $250,000 just by using this tool. With 44 sites, they will save $21,000 per year per site by continuing to utilize this approach.

“It’s just a simple grid,” he said. “There are some smarts and some rules behind it but it’s the simplest thing in the world. You tick the boxes on work orders you want to close, you click save and it closes them.

“That’s the beauty of it,” he continued. “You can take AKWIRE, which is this Commercial Off-the-Shelf application that is so easy to install that we can install it in a couple of hours. Then go on to add something on top of it that saves you so much time and so much money that it becomes an integral part of your processes.”

5. AKWIRE is incredibly easy to upgrade and maintain

“Not only is AKWIRE easy to install,” he said, “but it’s also easy to upgrade.” Recalling a recent major upgrade project with a client, in which they upgraded by four versions, Elliot said that the entire process took less than two hours.

He said a similar upgrade also had the same results. “The difference was,” Elliot said, “one client was very, very proficient at using the application and the other was using a service provider who knew nothing about AKWIRE. If both situations have similar results, you know you’re doing something right.”

6. AKWIRE upgrades and troubleshooting can easily be handled remotely

In both situations, all the support that Elliot provided was done remotely. The first client was halfway across the US and the second client was based in Texas and utilizing a service provider from India.

“I work with customers all over the world,” he said. “I’m in Florida and I never have to go on site.”

In fact, he has worked for years with one client in Australia, whom he has spoken with for a total of 15 minutes the phone. “And the reason we spoke – the problem that he had – wasn’t even related to AKWIRE.” Even though it was a networking issue and not a problem with AKWIRE, Elliot still helped the customer resolve the issue. “It was the right thing to do,” he said.

Any other issues have been handled seamlessly. “He emails me his problem; I tell him the solution. Boom, it’s done.”

7. AKWIRE has auto-updating capabilities to sync with Maximo upgrades

As with any computer program, software or platform, updates and upgrades are a natural process in the AKWIRE product lifecycle. “We use certain files that we need from Maximo EAM. But every time the main application gets rebuilt, those files get updated. So now the customers need to get the updated files.”

But how do they ensure these files get moved every time for everyone? “Solufy wrote a little piece of code – a tiny set of files – that you put in the folder and every time the Maximo Administrator rebuilds the Maximo file, this code takes care of the updates for the Akwire side. So part of the rebuild process is actually making a copy of that file and making it available for the customers.”

This integrated syncing system is readily available to all of Solufy’s customers. “Last year around this time, we had a customer going through a significant upgrade from one major version to another major version of IBM Maximo and the same with AKWIRE.” Where they had historically had to rebuild their system’s file, now that information is automatically updated.

It’s important to have a solid system with AKWIRE’s solutions and the way it integrates with Maximo to retrieve and write back the information. AKWIRE only has to be configured once. When it is integrated with Maximo as designed, everything will work together automatically.

“You want to be able to ‘set it and forget it,’” he said. “How can you do the least amount of work after you build something? Make it solid enough that you don’t have to touch it.”

This isn’t to say that all IBM Maximo issues can be solved through AKWIRE. “There are times when you have to sit back and say, ‘This is not worth it. Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel? It’s perfectly fine as an oval; let’s leave it alone.’”

However, by realizing when AKWIRE can and cannot solve a problem is key when Elliot is helping clients. It’s working together to make it all happen, he said.

Ironically, his perspective on problem solving is exactly why so many AKWIRE users reach out to Solufy and Elliot for assistance.

“If I don’t have the answer, I’ll ask someone who does. You don’t need to know all the answers; you just need to know how to get them.”

DustinDunawayTestimonial.jpg

Subscribe to the Solufy blog

Mariah Patterson

Mariah Patterson began writing as a child as a way to fill her time when her family moved to an isolated region in Maine. With no close friendships, developing cabin fever from intense snowstorms and only one fuzzy Canadian channel on TV, she created her own world through writing.

She began her

Read More..