Vetasi Blog Posts

Maximo Application Suite is no Rubik Cube: flexibility in a container

Smarter and faster EAM Extended

In this second discussion Tony Turner, Vetasi’s Director of Projects & Innovation and Damien de Gouveia, a Vetasi lead consultant, talk about some of the characteristics and features of the new Maximo Application Suite (MAS) that replaces the existing Maximo applications.  Natascha Heyman, Vetasi’s Global Marketing Manager, hosts the discussion.

The first discussion – EAM Extended– can be heard or read here and also read: IBM Maximo Application Suite: Accelerated Asset Performance Management

Good morning Tony & Damien. Last week we discussed how MAS really enables AI informed asset performance management (APM). Today I want to focus more on some practicalities for our clients. Let’s start with the concept of containerisation.  Damien, your turn to start.

To explain containerisation, really is something that is quite simple, but it can be complex when we go into the details of things.

Let’s just hash this out with sort of a drawing, this is the way I like to do things. Think of it as containerisation as taking the hardware-layer that applications used to run on, abstracting it into a software layer, and then placing that software layer against the hardware.

What does that actually look like? Beforehand, what you would go and do is you would have a nice little iOS device. And on that device, you would have multiple little applications, little apps running on it, each little app does its own thing. Some apps may talk to other apps on the device, but for intensive purposes they were specifically catered for on the iOS device.

Now all of a sudden, you’ve decided to shift over to a brand new Google Pixel and move over to an Android system.The problem, however, is the developers might not have developed your apps that you previously had on iOS, and so you can’t ship it to Android. The problem that leads us to: iOS and Android are two very different hardware systems that function very differently. You are kind of stuck: This method hardware specific to software is somewhat archaic, we should in theory, be able to run any software on any hardware, but at the same time, maintain all the historical stuff that we’ve previously done, maintain legacy, integrations and legacy software.

What IBM built is this abstraction layer, in which we no longer have a iOS device or physical hardware device (Very loosely using this terminology). But rather, they’ve created an iOS container and an Android container. Now, these containers over here, rest inside of the OpenShift cluster, and the OpenShift cluster. That sits on top of the hardware layer now. The beauty of all this, then, is that we don’t need to worry about getting the new iPhone, we can just run in theory, iOS on this OpenShift cluster, because the cluster goes and takes all the hardware dependencies and containerize it into a neat little box.

You need to decide where you are assembling this Rubik’s Cube taking all these little pieces and containerise them in a neat little area, assembling the cube together. If you would to remove one of those cubes, you can very easily just un-clip it, reformulate it, stick it back in again, it allows for the integration just like as you’re moving in a Rubik’s cube to sort of go quite smoothly. Because everything is of the same size, everything is of the same proportion, they all speak the same language, which allows for these integrations between all these containers within the OpenShift cluster, to be a lot more simplified, and to maintain them in future is going to be a lot easier. For example, this iOS layer just needs to know exactly what to send out in some little message format. And that message is standardized. If iOS wants to update and change and do whatever it needs to do, as long as it sends the same message this Android containers we’ve defined over here will be able to read it, which greatly reduces a lot of the DevOps required, as well as the integration ability.

So what I take from this is that containersation simplified the whole system.

Absolutely, Maximo previously used to have approximately 27 different products that you could purchase. All these products were sort of sitting on the outer edge of Maximo. What you would then have to do is either get a company like Vetasi to assist you with an integration between these two, or hope and leverage that the integrations that are available do work. If you need to leverage some integration bus, you may need to have have spun up some new servers. And you know, it does complicate things quite a bit. But now with the new maximum application suites, you get all the OpenShift cluster stuff sorted out. And then you basically just pick what you want to throw into this cluster. So essentially, what you would do is

“Hi, we would like managed to be installed in OpenShift, go ahead and install it.”

Tomorrow, we decided that we are, you know, pioneering enough that we willing to take on Monitor, we want to start doing more of the predictive AI things. So we can then just go and install those containers onto the OpenShift cluster

Integrations, IBM is great work over there have simplified a lot of those integrations to basically plug and play, which greatly reduces the implementation effort. It reduces the barrier to entry from a hardware perspective. And it allows customers this is the most important point, in my opinion, to scale and grow as the system grows, both from some of the benefits of distributed hardware and a containerized system, as well as being able to just you know, pick and choose exactly what you want. And fill it into this. I think this also holds true with some of the licensing, which Tony will sort of discuss on later on.

Tony, is MAS just a bundling of all the existing Maximo applications?

A little bit, yes. MAS is not merely the bundling of existing Maximo applications into a single application. In fact, many advantageous differences exist which enable the user to make data driven decisions on assets that demand above average maintenance whether more servicing could prolong its Remaining Useful Life or whether replacement would be better, considering also the impact on the capital budget.


Damien, you had mentioned to me in an earlier conversation that MAS Monitor is substantially enhanced? Can you give me an example?

Monitor can indeed provide enterprise scale monitoring. On first sight, a customer may look at monitor and say: We have that we’ve got a sci-fi solution, we’ve got a data library, a data store in the librarian, a SCADA system”. And for the most part, yes, Monitor can do pretty much what most things can do as well.

But what IBM is leveraged all of that historic pedigree knowledge, and they’ve incorporated it into this Monitor product. How Monitor works is it connects to various IoT sensors. Now, IoT sensors don’t need to be limited to traditional temperature, pressure, gauge reading, we could also leverage Maximo’s Visual Inspection, which effectively takes an image and converts that image into some binary output.

For example the Classifier.  It is this spray paint thick enough? Yes or No – by having a little camera. And then we can define a 1 for yes and 0 for no. And that’s a continuous data stream that then is absorbed into this Monitor platform. Once it’s in Maximo Monitor, Monitor has a lot of IBM gold standards, algorithms running in the background for anomaly detection. This is important is your traditional SCADA systems, your historians, they will have this ability to generate a work order when a control limit has been reached. But the problem is, sometimes it’s the actual equipment shouting. And other times it’s the sensor that’s just had a rough day. Now, essentially, what Monitor allows us to do is it can actually go and identify when it is a true positive as a false positive.

Once we’ve actually had a cleaned sense of data input from our equipment, Monitor, then seamlessly go straight into the Predict module. And the beauty of this is there’s this continuous data pipeline. If there’s any data transformation, feature extraction that needs to take place, that’s all catered for on Monitor. A lot of customer may not be aware of this

It’s a case of raw data does not just go into a magical AI and spews out some knowledge. There’s a lot of feature extraction, there’s a lot of here’s the typical curve, is it correlated to three months before Is it is it also correlated to a two hour window, meaning that if something happened two hours ago, are we seeing the impact right now.

You can build all of those data features those data extraction procedures into the monitor platform, which then allows it to just seamlessly flow throughout the rest of the managed system through Doing work orders and manage feeding that data back into predict for machine learning algorithms to do a bunch of root cause analysis, sort of your failure mode analysis, and then prescribe and say, hey, look, we think this piece of equipment is going to fail a lot sooner than initially. Your initial maintenance plain is going to maintain that. You should probably go ahead and repair it then. These are just some of the benefits, we can go into a lot more detail, mainly about predict. The short of it is this allows us to identify premature failures, stop them, and have a bit better understanding about the data entering into our systems, and being able to have a lot more control over how we can cleanse data.

Tony, please explain the MAS licensing model and its advantages.

Up to now with the 40 different Maximo products companies had to buy the different packages.  In some cases, due to industry changes or a repositioning of a company, some of the applications no longer were core to the company and they had an investment that became somewhat superfluous.  The MAS licensing model now gives access and full flexibility to users.

Think of the user-levels as a staircase comprising 4 steps. Let me share my screen to explain how it will work.

At the Self-service level, service requests and incident creation and reviews can be made.  Utilisation at this level is effectively free using zero AppPoints.

At the Limited User-level there can be concurrent usage consuming 5 AppPoints, giving access to 3 Manage Modules, Maximo Mobile, Assist, Anywhere as well as Monitor.

At Base User-level Concurrent usage would consume 10 AppPoints. It will give access to the full set of modules under Manage including Calibration, Spatial and Scheduler in addition to Health and Safety.

Premium Users can access the full Manage package and all the Industry solutions.  As these tend to be the power users, the authorised model may be best for them at 5 AppPoints. In addition to Health and Safety, the Predict and Visual Inspection modules are also available to these users.

The flexibility is further enhanced with the options for users to be classified as concurrent users (useful in shift operations or where a user only accesses the suite occasionally) and authorised users for the users who need regular access to the suite.

Whereas companies using Maximo products in the past were cemented into the specific packages that they bought, the new licensing approach with App points provides the customer with enormous flexibility. A company will only pay for the functionality its staff actually utilise.

Thank you Tony & Damien. To conclude this second discussion on IBM MAS, what is your message to our clients Tony?

Natascha, in short.  IBM MAS enables what we call EAM Extended.  Existing clients should know that switching to MAS will futureproof them regarding EAM technology for the medium term. Clients will experience far more flexibility and in fact pay only for what they use.   Thank you for hosting us.


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