Vetasi Blog Posts

Adding value with IBM’s MAS

Today Natascha Heyman interviews Tony Turner, Vetasi’s Director of Innovation, and Damien de Gouveia, one of our lead consultants, about the replacement of the range of IBM Maximo packages by the new Maximo Application Suite (MAS) and the importance of this for asset performance management.

Also read: IBM Maximo Application Suite: Accelerated Asset Performance Management

Tony & Damien, today we talk about IBM’s new Maximo Application Suite that is marketed under the acronym IBM MAS and the advantages of that in asset performance management.

Tony, please tell us why MAS is different from the current existing Maximo applications that we and our customers all over the world have been working with so long?  Why the change?

Thanks Natascha. IBM’s Maximo applications have been with us for many years. Maximo was initially launched as a computer based maintenance management system enabling companies to get a better grip on their physical assets, the health of assets as well as their productivity. To understand how MAS is different, it is helpful to realise how best practice in physical asset maintenance and management has evolved.

Assets have always been important in manufacturing, mining, utilities, oil & gas. However, the maintenance of assets was for a long time treated almost as an afterthought – a nuisance to deal with when something goes wrong. In factories maintenance of machinery was often minimised since the whole production line had to be stopped and interrupted for that. Many factories worked their machines till they broke down and then the repair team had to react and repair swiftly.

Breakdowns often upset production for lengthy periods. To minimise lengthy unplanned breakdowns, asset maintenance morphed into preventative maintenance with regular servicing, like that of a motor car that has to go in for a service every 15 000 km. Unplanned downtime through breakages was diminished, but maintenance cost increased. If the manual says a pump had to be overhauled fully after 8 000 hours of work with numerous parts to be replaced, that happens whether the working parts of that machine are still robust enough for another cycle of 8 000 hours.

The asset management practice then matured into the acknowledgement that maintenance of assets as a support function should be replaced by proper asset management as a core function of the enterprise. Thus, the concept of enterprise asset management (EAM) emerged. The role of individual asset components and their criticality in the production process could now be captured in far more sophisticated software and cloud solutions.

The technologies of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that are enabling refineries and oil fields to become mammoth smart devices have now unleashed a tsunami of digital data emanating from asset components. With Big Data and Artificial Intelligence and more sophisticated multi-layered IT systems it is now possible to move one gear up to Asset Performance Management where the predictive life span of assets and their components is possible.

Maximo had a core Manage package and through the years there developed several additional Maximo packages, like Asset Health, Monitor, as well as industry related packages for Oil & Gas and Transport that clients could subscribe to. IBM now packaged all the current Maximo 7.6.1.x components into MAS – a suite of applications. So, MAS is a single platform for intelligent asset management, monitoring and predictive maintenance. At Vetasi we call this EAM Extended.

Thanks Tony. But is this simply a case of bundling all the existing Maximo applications into a single application? What is the difference then?  How will this enable APM?  

No Natascha, MAS is not merely a full package comprising all the existing Maximo applications. There’s more to that. Artificial intelligence and Big Data are changing the industrial environment. That’s massive. EAM Extended with AI informed instantaneous analyses of data enables quicker and more informed decisions resulting in improved outcomes. MAS is the ‘here and now’ application that can keep you competitive in the professional game.

Companies that still utilise the current Maximo 7.6.1.x system need to take note that IBM will not enhance these applications any longer and support for Maximo 7.6.1.x will end in September 2025. By embarking on the route to utilise MAS, companies can future proof themselves.

Thank you Tony. Damien, I would like you to tell us how you see the advantages of EAM Extended that IBM MAS offers.

Thanks, Natascha. Predictive maintenance is becoming a very precise data science rooted APM practice with immense advantages. It will not only minimise the risk of asset failure and resultant production losses, it will also maximise the life cycle of assets. If a pump’s life cycle was estimated at 12 years with regular servicing and maintenance at say, 4 month intervals, predictive maintenance based on the constant digital ‘heart beat’ of the pump will indicate for example that an oil change is required somewhat earlier or later than what the manual prescribes. And condition monitoring may indicate that the pump is still after 11 years in such a good condition that it could last a further 8 years.

Predictive maintenance will largely end regular scheduled servicing and replacing what is still in good working condition . Henceforth asset maintenance and investment will focus on those assets that need attention.

But that is not where the good news stops: IIoT technologies as well as existing data, coupled with appropriate data analyses, enable a company to disaggregate the treatment of its assets by focusing on specific individual assets. A mining company operating in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana may have precisely the same bearings in their conveyor belt system than those in a power station in the UK. Though belonging to the same asset class would technically imply similar planned maintenance schedules, the environmental conditions makes a huge difference and assets of the same brand and manufacturing batch can behave differently in vastly different operating environments. Maintenance in accordance with the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s guidelines may apply to the UK but lead to equipment breakage and therefore production disruption in Botswana.

Vetasi’s maintenance optimisation services combined with AI and Data allow us to monitor and ‘personalise’ maintenance for each asset and enable the company, to predict the additional maintenance interventions that the conveyor belt in Botswana will require compared to the UK plant.

That sounds like a car that can now do 1,000 km on a litre of petrol.

Tony, please summarise in closing again the advantages of MAS for a company’s asset performance management.

MAS enables full integration of all the operational, financial and physical asset health data measuring these constantly against Big Data with the industry norms. The decision-making cycle is substantially enhanced and the data analyses compress days and even months into seconds or minutes.

Firms that will apply MAS for their Asset Performance Management will benefit from:


  1. Reduced maintenance work,
  2. Reduced downtime,
  3. Maximised asset reliable lifespans and
  4. Therefore, increased productivity at lower production cost and a better bottom line.

Thank you Tony and Damien. Really interesting.  In our next discussion, I would like to focus on the new licensing arrangements and a number of technical aspects.

You can download the new IBM Maximo Application Suite for more information