Does the Maximo Integration Framework (MIF) + Mobile = Frustration?

The Maximo Integration Framework (MIF) creates workflow challenges when it comes to true mobility. Following are a number of obstacles you may be facing, the technical reasons behind each, and the solution EZMaxMobile can offer to help you be successful in your mobile rollout. Do any of them sound familiar to you?

The bottom line is that MIF was developed for external system integrations but not for enterprise mobility. 

The Maximo Integration Framework (MIF) is defined as a framework that provides web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) technologies to support application services and coordination between enterprise systems such as synchronization and integration of data between applications.  Data transferred to Maximo should already be validated in the external system before being synchronized with Maximo and does not work well with user generated data. This creates a myriad of issues for mobile use in the field.

Challenge:  “I really need real-time field validation because I use TRM Rules Manager.”

What’s The Issue?

The integration framework provides error message handling but only once the invalid data has been sent to Maximo.  When a user creates a new work order with a Corrective Maintenance (CM) work type and accidently enters ‘CMN’, the user does not know its invalid until it is sent to Maximo and an error is thrown.  Tools like the Maximo 7.5 Automation Script and TRM Rules Manager will not be applied without real-time validation until the data is processed on the server.

Solved!

In EZMaxMobile, we communicate directly with the Maximo business layer so any rules that are applied, automatically work without any customizations to the mobile.  If the rule works in Maximo, it will work on the mobile device.

Challenge:  “My field lookup lists in Maximo aren’t the same on the mobile device.”

What’s The Issue?

There are no real-time field lookups. The majority of fields in Maximo are associated with a lookup list.  Users can also create custom table lookups.  This lookup list is validated based on business rules that are enforced by Maximo.  The MIF gives you the capability to query data, but not based on the record you are working on or get a valid list of values for a particular field.  For example, when changing a work order status in Maximo, a user can only change to a status based on its current status.  A user cannot change the status to Waiting for Approval (WAPPR) when the work order is already Closed (CLOSE).  This built-in Maximo business rule cannot be enforced through the MIF until the data is processed on the server.  This means that there is more room for error when a user is manually manipulating data on a mobile device.  Fields like the GL account will be a pain to manage. 

Solved!

In EZMaxMobile, all field lookups work and function the exact same way as full Maximo on your desktop, without any customizations. 

Challenge:  “I’m tired of manually duplicating my security group settings on the mobile device.”

What’s The Issue?

The real power of Maximo security groups is the ability to restrict users’ access to fields, values and even lookups.  Along with real-time validation, the MIF doesn’t throw an exception until the data is processed and sometimes it can even surpass all the security restrictions and save to the Maximo database.  Security restrictions will have to be manually duplicated on the mobile device and that will negatively impact development time and overall cost.

Solved!

In EZMaxMobile, the “Security Groups” application in Maximo is the only place to manage security settings for BOTH Maximo and EZMaxMobile. 

Challenge:  “I put a lot of work into setting my complex workflows within Maximo, now my mobile doesn’t work with any of them.”

What’s The Issue?

If your organization uses extensive workflows, you are out of luck when it comes to managing work orders and the workflow processes on those records.  Workflow in Maximo is a very complicated system and requires a user interface to handle all of the user interactions at any given point in the workflow process.  The MIF does not provide any type of user interface. 

Solved!

In EZMaxMobile, there are FULL workflow capabilities for any application in Maximo that has an enabled workflow.

Challenge:  “We collect enormous datasets offline and this is growing, but the system cannot handle syncing large data sets and we receive a lot of ‘failed transactions’.”

What’s The Issue?

Batch processing is essential for any mobile access in a disconnected environment because all offline data is stored on the mobile device and once connected, it will synchronize the data with Maximo.  The problem is that the integration framework isn’t built for batch processing of large datasets.  Batch processing can be done, but it’s limited by the amount of resources on the server.  Large datasets can run into hanging server processes and will require a server reboot to fix.

Solved!

In EZMaxMobile, since we communicate directly with the Maximo business objects, there are no limitations to how many records we can process at any given time.

Challenge:  “We are always changing and modifying our data structure, but this change causes a lot of work to deploy to mobile.”

What’s The Issue?

Most organizations that use Maximo have business needs that change from time to time.  These changes are often in the form of new fields within a variety of different applications.  If your organization is utilizing the MIF as part of their mobile solution, web services will need to be re-configured and re-deployed each time a change in the data structure occurs.  This sort of setup doesn’t lend itself to an agile work environment.

Solved!

In EZMaxMobile, adding a new field to the mobile screen is as quick and easy as adding a new field in Maximo through the Application Designer.  Even new fields with a lookup list can be quickly added in minutes.

Challenge:  “I can’t seem to operate in the field using multiple sites.”

What’s The Issue?

If you belong to multiple sites within your organization then switching your default insert site is something you’re probably quite familiar with.  Automatic filtering of result sets by site and creating a new record in any application are two main functions that are driven by your default insert site.  The MIF is capable of retrieving a user’s default insert site, but changing that site on the fly through the MIF is not possible, because it uses the MXINTADM (Maximo Integration Administrator) account as the default user for all inbound/outbound transactions.

Solved!

In EZMaxMobile, all transactions run under the logged in users profile so all the appropriate security settings are applied at all times.

Make Your Mobile Life Easier

The Maximo Integration Framework is designed for a specific purpose which is to directly integrate with an external system behind the scenes.  The data that is transferred between the external systems is for administrators or system integrators to manage for all inbound and outbound transactions but not for regular users.  When was the last time you gave a regular user security access to the integration framework in Maximo?  Make the switch today to EZMaxMobile and make your life easier.

Contact Us Today for a Demo!

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3 thoughts on “Does the Maximo Integration Framework (MIF) + Mobile = Frustration?

  1. Chon,

    One quick thing to note is that the MIF is different from the new Next Gen JSON API (https://goo.gl/SZwktw). The new JSON (REST) API does support things like lookup lists, multi-site, and workflows. It is also significantly faster than the older MIF. Transactions are also processed as the individual users and not MXINTADM. Basically, IBM has implemented nearly every action that can be performed in the normal Maximo UI as a function in the JSON API.

    With the creation of Work Centers in v7.6.0.5+, it appears that IBM is looking to replace the old “classic” Maximo applications with a set of modern web technology-based interfaces (work centers) that are geared to specific “roles” of users (field techs, supervisors, management analysis, etc). These new interfaces leverage the new JSON API. So it would appear that they intend to use it as a mobile interface as well.

    1. I would agree with you that the REST is an improvment over MIF and that they are moving towards a new Maximo UI that utilizes REST instead of direct java MBO. The document you sent is not yet fully complete as the section related to workflow engines isn’t even filled in yet. I am curious to see how it would work though.

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