MaximoWorld 2018 Recap – Did you remember to bring your Tupperware?

With the latest MaximoWorld in the books, it is worthwhile to take some time to reflect on the event.  I recently described Maximo World as the industry’s best Pot Luck dinner. A Pot Luck dinner is where each person brings forth their best dish – whether that might be the “Big Green Egg” smoked pork, the special mac and cheese or the mythical Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies.  And of course, someone is always called upon to bring the veggie tray or to be the cup and plate guy.  It is also the time where you connect with those you have not seen in a while, swap family stories and catch up on the latest successes and failures.

MaximoWorld 2018 had some amazing dishes to be sure – from the appetizers shared in the User Group Round tables or the tasty main courses served up by the Keynotes from the inspiring young Natasha Ravinand during the WIRAM luncheon, or Author Ben Pring who provided the best quote of the show, “Things sucking is the Real Mother of Invention”.  Or how bout all those casseroles – nearly 100 of them covering so many different takes on how companies have best implemented, improved, enhanced, etc.… Maximo to make a difference in their organization.

Don’t forget about the availability of the basics, like Nikolaus Despain’s “Using the Where Clause and the Power of Embedded Queries” for the newbies or IBM’s presentation on the Maximo roadmap that provided the “carbs” that we crave.  And hopefully you took part of the deserts chock full of IoT, Augmented Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Machine Learning, Spatial, mobile, etc… offered up during the sessions and in the Expo Hall, including Aquitas’ Connected Maintenance solution.


The question is… did you bring your Tupperware to MaximoWorld 2018?   There are two things that I have learned when ever my sisters throw a potluck dinner.  One, my sisters are fantastic cooks and two, there will be leftovers!  With that in mind, I make sure to equip myself with a few Tupperware containers to be sure I can easily squirrel away some of their fantastical fare for later.

So back to my question – did you bring your Tupperware to the event?  In working with Pam Denny at IBM, we loaded all the attendees and events into Watson which then analyzed the data to determine that there were approximately 3, 681 unique actionable ideas that were generated from the conference.  Off the idea buffet table, Watson then calculated each individual attendee on average, could absorb roughly 84 worthwhile ideas over the three days.  84 different unique ideas that then could be put in your Tupperware and consumed at a later date.   How many ideas did you take back to your office to apply?

Terry O’Hanlon, Maura Abad and the rest of the ReliabilityWeb team not only put together an awesome conference menu – it takes a lot to coordinate that there are a variety of dishes available- they even were handing out Tupperware at the end of the third day with the “Maximo in Action Panel”.  The panel which included myself, esteemed colleagues and customers, provided a number of “containers” to help you take home those 84 ideas and put them into action.  The theme of most of the messages was – “Take Action”.  Choose an idea and go for it.  I particularly liked Paul Crocker, from Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, discussing “stepping up and becoming a vocal leader” – just after sharing that he never pictured himself ever getting up in front of hundreds of people to share what he learned.  That is a Maximo evangelist in action!

So, what are the things I took away from the event?

  • IBM is not only fully backing MaximoWorld to make it the cornerstone event for all Maximo users, they are fully vested in Maximo! Hopefully, you had a chance to catch the roadmap sessions or go by the IBM booth or listen to IBM’s keynote session.  If you did, you can tell that IBM sees Maximo as a critical piece to their overall Watson strategy. This is good news for all of in the ecosystem to keep IBM invested and improving on the solution.
  • The Internet of Things is not on the fringe any longer for Maximo users. Judging by the number of sessions on Connecting Assets to Maximo or Using Analytics to better understand/predict failure and IBM’s product roadmap, this capability is here now at a price point that is totally doable.  There are customers exploring this capability now – more importantly, these are not just the customers with huge IT or support staffs, the Fortune 100, they are the mid-sized companies looking for innovative ways to gain control of their operations.  They are thinking big, starting small and acting fast!
  • The ability to get connected into the ecosystem is huge benefit to a Maximo user. It is rare in the software industry that you see so many willing people offer to share, help, assist, etc.  Walking through the halls, at lunch, after sessions or at the booths you could hear people sharing both their challenges and solutions.  Take some time to reflect on a few of the contacts that you met and then make an effort to reach out to them.  Be willing to take a call or two from customers looking for help.  The more you “connect” the more likely you will be able to improve upon your current implementation.  Our industry is changing more rapidly than ever – don’t hesitate to reach out to a peer to get their insight.

A final comment is that there was so much “food” that it was a challenge to taste everything.  Again, I want to give a shout out to ReliabilityWeb and all of the presenters and customers that make this conference so special.  All of these presentations have been recorded and will soon be made available in their neatly labeled Tupperware containers.  Don’t miss the chance to go back and listen to ones that you feel are most applicable or maybe even one or two that you have no idea if it is applicable.  Listen to one a week – a lunch and learn approach – and my bet is that you come away with another potential idea to implement.

Want to talk about your ideas for your current Maximo implementation or the use of new technology to advance your operations?  Feel free to give us a call or visit our website at


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What is Industry 4.0 and where do maintenance organizations fit in?

At a recent conference, I overheard two reliability engineers discussing whether or not the correct term was Industry 4.0 or Industrie 4.0.  Toe-mato or Ta-moto.  They queried their colleague who just walked up on his thoughts.  Pondering the question, he asked, “Can either of you explain to me what Industry/Industrie 4.0 is anyway?”  The two engineers then set off on giving their opinions, quite differently I might add, on what the term meant.   I later came to find out the third person was a Director of Maintenance  and what he was really trying to figure out  was Why Should I Care About Industry 4.0?

It may seem obvious, but it is worth restating, even if you don’t know the exact definition, that the wave of Industry 4.0 (we will use that term interchangeably with Industrie 4.0), is sweeping across our manufacturing sectors and it will, can and should impact the way organizations view their maintenance processes.

So, let’s start from a definition standpoint.

Ask for a quick definition and you quickly realize that there is no quick definition – other than Industry 4.0 represents the 4th Industrial Revolution behind 1) The invention of steam/water powered machines 2) Use of Electricity enabling the assembly line and 3) Rise of computers/robotics/intranet/internet allowing automation in manufacturing.  With Industry 4.0, we move from previously embedded systems to cyber-physical systems, lnternet of Things, Cloud Computing and Cognitive computing.  Simple, right?

The point is how companies manufacture, as well as how they take care of their assets, are changing.  How did we get here?   According to McKinsey, primarily because of four major disruptions that have occurred in the plant:

  • The massive increase in data volumes, computer power and connectivity (networks and sensors)
  • Increased advancement in analytics and business intelligence capabilities
  • Greatly enhanced forms of human-machine interaction – Augmented Reality or Touch Interfaces for the employee
  • Transfer of digital instructions to the physical world – Advanced Robotics or 3D Printing

Though the focus for Industry 4.0 is primarily in gaining insights and improvements in design/quality/yield/product lifecycle for manufacturing of product, there is growing realization that it is maintenance that can take advantage of these disruptions.  That maintenance of the company’s assets is an essential part of leveraging the components of Industry 4.0 to impact one’s organization.

McKinsey does a nice job of summarizing the components or “levers” as they call them, and the value they deliver for an organization.  The over arching reach of Industry 4.0 on a manufactures’ operation and where maintenance fits into the criticality of this strategy, can be viewed in the digital compass example below.

McKinsey & Company Digital Compass

The Acatech Industry 4.0 Maturity Index does a great job of revealing the various gates that are associated with implementing an Industry 4.0 strategy.


Many companies have in place the “digitalization” piece of the process – their plant floors having been automated (robotics, CNC machines, etc…) or upgraded with new equipment or sensors.  The challenge is how to make the data that is being produced visible.  For maintenance operations, gaining visibility to that data is the critical starting point for Industry 4.0. Connected Maintenance achieves that visibility and provides the ability to catch problems before they are catastrophic. It can be further enhanced with Augmented Reality (AR) to create the Digital Twin of the asset to provide real-time asset performance in a format the technician can easily digest, not to mention the visual training aids and improvements the technology provides.

With this new found Visibility, you can then move forward to the next phase which is Transparency which represents true condition based monitoring of your assets.  This monitoring is needed to move into Predictive Capacity in which you begin to not only predict failures, but potentially begin to run simulations on your Digital Twin to determine how changing variables will impact the performance of your asset.  The final stage is Adaptability – where the organization can then make actual changes to processes based on the multiple inputs weighed against cost/benefit analysis.

It is easy for one to become paralyzed by the onslaught of available technology and the tremendous benefits, both real and envisioned, that Industry 4.0. promises.  So where do you start?  Keep in mind that as maintenance professionals, the information your teams are collecting about your day to day work is the foundation in which advanced analytics, as well as machine learning, will derive its value.  That means, consistent collection of: problem, fault, remedy codes, application of job plans to work orders, resources (internal/external, tools, inventory)…are more critical than ever.  In the past you may have lacked manpower, time or expertise to make correlations about all of this information – so it only mattered if you kept the asset running or got it repaired quickly.  Going forward, analytics and machine learning can make those correlations for you to do the 3 P’s of Maintenance – Prevent, Predict and Prescribe.  But it needs information to do that.

Connected Maintenance is the first step in that information gathering process and the foundation of any Industry 4.0 strategy.  Connecting existing sensored high value (revenue or cost impacting) assets to your asset management solution is a quick win. Your mantra should be Think Big, Start Small, Act Fast.  Keep an eye on the future with a platform that can grow with you, no matter where you end up on the Industry 4.0 maturity curve.  Determine a use case that is easy to implement and has a high return and do it now.  Rest assured, your competitors are…

A solid Industry 4.0 strategy will include a platform that is scalable to any size organization, and agile enough to quickly gain returns on investment. Gone are the days of multi-year implementation projects.  Connected maintenance is the beginning of the “yellow brick road”… each brick representing a quick connected win along the journey to gaining operational efficiencies. Don’t be afraid to move, or you may find yourself unable to move and in need of oil. Use your brain, have courage Think Big, Start Small, Act Fast…