With the power of today’s mobile devices combined with the significant drop in software licensing costs, many companies are considering mobile. Mobilizing your work force can lead to a significant return on investment (ROI).
Before purchasing a mobile solution, take a closer look at the components required to support the different mobile solutions currently available for Maximo.
It’s fairly easy to build colorful and attractive mobile screens. The hard part is developing and fine-tuning the software required to support those screens and the associated actions the mobile user will perform. The mobile software needs to properly and seamlessly handle Maximo security, error handling, system performance, data integrity, and offer a wide array of mobile functionality.
Consider the following when you evaluate a mobile solution:
- Maximo user security settings versus mobile security settings:
In other words, ask specific questions about the security configurations and settings that are required to run the mobile solution. Always ask what the impact is to the mobile software when your Maximo system administrator wants to change these security settings for a specific user.
Note: Most, but NOT all mobile solutions currently available for Maximo need an additional group of user security settings to be configured and maintained. Because of this, you may need to keep multiple security environments in sync. This may cause inconsistencies with data integrity and lapses in maintaining established Maximo security rules.
- Mobile solution utilizing Maximo’s MIF (OSLC) module:
This is important: Using the MIF means your Maximo administrator needs to configure and maintain the integration component (MIF/OSLC) in order for your mobile solution to communicate with Maximo -– more about that here.
Utilizing the MIF module for mobile connectivity can negatively impact performance, error handling, and data integrity.
Note: When a regular Maximo user logs in, Maximo does NOT use the MIF or any component of the MIF (OSLC) to connect to Maximo. The core Maximo system uses RMI calls to communicate directly with the Maximo MBO’s. Your targeted mobile solution should follow this same method of connectivity as closely as possible, if not exactly.
- Does the mobile solution require an additional database (besides the Maximo database)?
Several mobile solutions for Maximo require the installation and configuration of a second database. This means additional cost and responsibility for your IT department and the headache of trying to keep these additional database(s) in-sync with your Maximo database configurations. Always confirm with the mobile vendor the exact components required to install and utilize the mobile software. This additional database also means additional server hardware and expense.
Note: Maintaining the Maximo database (SQL Server/Oracle/DB2) environment and configuration is challenging enough. Why add another database component just to utilize mobile?
- Impact of changing Maximo user security settings:
It’s not unusual for the Maximo system administrator to change a user’s security settings within the Maximo security module. Because of this, be sure to confirm with the mobile vendor exactly how these security changes impact the screens and functionality that’s displayed to the mobile user.
Also, different mobile user groups can have different Maximo security settings and, therefore, different access to certain functionality. Always ask if the mobile software displays only the allowed functionality and whether this happens dynamically.
Note: When a user’s security settings are changed within the Maximo security module, the mobile software should dynamically and automatically display and adhere to these changes.
- Offline capabilities:
Some users don’t need to work ‘offline’ because they’re always connected via Wi-Fi or cellular. But if you need offline capabilities, you should ask about the download speed of the mobile software and the available offline functionality.
Also, you need to ask how the mobile software handles a sudden loss of connection while the user is in the middle of recording information on the mobile device. Is data lost? Can the user keep working?
Note: Today, almost all companies utilizing mobile require some form of offline functionality. Companies may have “dead spots” such as basements, mechanical rooms, remote locations in rural areas, or require offline because of security reasons.
- Mobile devices:
Due to security requirements, the IT department of many companies will establish which mobile device(s) can be used to communicate with Maximo. Although a specific device may initially be identified, you want to ensure that you have options moving forward.
In a majority of client environments, the field work force may utilize a specific device. Other mobile users may take advantage of the capabilities of a different mobile device. Inventory personnel may want a mobile device with enhanced scanning capabilities, while the field worker may require a more ruggedized device. In addition, management may want to use a larger device such as an iPad or Windows Surface for better monitoring and management.
Note: Inquire about the flexibility of the mobile software to dynamically incorporate a variety of mobile devices into their work force.