In late 2014, IBM released version 7.6 of its Maximo product, with new features designed to increase efficiency and reliability. Maximo 7.6 has a new user interface with a customizable dashboard that displays the most relevant information at a glance. Under the hood are many improvements in functionality and reporting that enhance the value of this enterprise asset management platform. It’s no wonder that many Maximo shops are eager to upgrade to this new version.
Architecturally, Maximo 7.6 isn’t that different from version 7.5, making it a “dot upgrade” for organizations that have kept their Maximo environment current. However, any organization that’s invested in Maximo knows that upgrades are never straightforward. There are many potential traps and pitfalls for the unwary.
IBM provides validation checkers, integrity checkers and other system tools that are run as part of the Maximo upgrade. In theory, these tools are designed to help you identify and fix problems so that the upgrade will be successful and downtime will be minimized. However, it is not uncommon for these tools to report hundreds or even thousands of errors that are going to cause the upgrade to fail.
For the uninitiated, this can be overwhelming. It seems like a monumental task to try to remediate all of these issues. While the tools offer options to automatically repair the errors, often times this creates a different set of problems.
At DIT, we have successfully completed numerous Maximo upgrades over the past several years, and have seen virtually every combination of errors that are reported during the pre-upgrade validation and integrity check process. By cataloging these errors in a library and developing a set of SQL scripts to perform the remediation, we are able to help customers get a clean validation and integrity check within hours rather than days or weeks – increasing the time-to-value.
In addition, we have developed a repeatable, standards-based upgrade methodology that has been demonstrated to minimize downtime. In essence, we establish a parallel Maximo and automated testing environment to process the upgrade and conduct testing. Our test suite handles all of the basic user testing by executing common Maximo transactions, enabling us to quickly identify and address any issues as we perform multiple, mock or trial upgrades.
It’s an iterative process. With our automated tools, we save valuable time and are able to work through multiple upgrades, refining the process until we get clean, production-ready results. Depending upon the customer’s security and regulatory compliance requirements, we can also use powerful cloud-based compute resources to dramatically accelerate the upgrade.
Because all of this is happening in parallel to the production environment, Maximo users continue to access the existing system until the final cutover. There is no data loss and little or no downtime. With a parallel upgrade environment, IT can also perform rigorous testing and utilize a mock upgraded system to provide training with recent, relevant data to maximize user acceptance of the new version.
Our upgrade methodology and approach has been refined and perfected across dozens of projects and Maximo versions. Most recently, we helped a large, government manufacturing facility upgrade to Maximo 7.6 without a hitch. By contrast, their previous upgrade had cost them several days of unforeseen downtime and loss of data.
If you’re ready to upgrade to Maximo 7.6 but worried about the time and headaches involved, contact DIT. Our proven, repeatable, and automated processes help ensure that the upgrade goes quickly and smoothly, reducing the overall costs and risk of the project.