Whilst working at various companies that use Maximo, I have heard “Why should we bother sending anyone to a Maximo User Group Meeting?” or “What can we possibly gain from going to that Maximo User Group Meeting?” or “What’s in it for me?”. This article will describe the incredible benefits of becoming part of the larger Maximo Community, giving to that community, and gaining knowledge from that community.
Get to Know the Community
Firstly, if you are working at a company that uses Maximo, I always assume that you know there is a large network of user groups (over 270 at last count) out there for every flavor of Maximo you can imagine.
There are regional and national Maximo User Groups (on every continent in the planet), there are Industry Specific Maximo User groups and there is the grand-daddy of them all the IBM Interconnect Conference which brings together hundreds, if not thousands, of like minded Maximo professionals. These user groups are most often sponsored by an IBM Maximo Partner, other IBM Partners or IBM themselves. IBM participates in most if not all user group meetings.
Don’t be put off by the Sponsors
Sponsors provide a few very important things to the Maximo User Community. Probably the most important of which is the funding for the group to hold the meeting. Without sponsorship, the meetings would have to held in someone’s place of business, a home, or a basement somewhere in the suburbs!
With sponsorship, the venues, meals, entertainment, brochures, posters, audio visual equipment etc. are all possible. Sponsors also attend the meetings and are there to provide answers to the difficult questions, show you what great things they can add to the Maximo mix, and give away door prizes. Seriously though, it is a chance for you (the Maximo User) to speak to Maximo Experts in a non-threatening, non-sales environment.
Top 5 Reasons to go to a Maximo User Group Meeting
- The number one reason to attend any MUG Meeting is the chance to meet other users from other companies that also use Maximo. If you attend a MUG don’t just sit at a table with other people from your own company. During the networking session and group participation sessions – participate! Talk to the end-user presenters about their presentations, find out how they did certain things in Maximo, how they tackled a certain problem that is your main pain point. Just by talking with other users from other companies, you will build a relationship with them, you can email them after the conference, you can even pay them a site visit. Most people are very proud of their achievements with Maximo and are happy to share with you.
- The second reason to attend a MUG is to learn something that you can immediately bring back to your company to solve an issue or a clever idea that you had not yet thought of. While at various MUGS I have learned for example how to automatically email a purchase order to a vendor when the PO is approved using an automation script. I have also learned how a company configured and used the Operator Log application in Maximo HSE and was immediately able to implement the same solution into our Maximo. Over the years the knowledge gained has more than justified the costs of attending.
- The third reason to attend is to get your own name and the name of your company out there. You can raise the profile of your organization in the Maximo Community in several ways. Don’t be afraid to be a presenter at a user group meeting. None of the presenters are professional speakers but they are giving you knowledge, sharing their Maximo stories, and giving to the community. Once you have done one presentation at a MUG, doing the next one only gets easier and easier. For myself, I have sometimes given two presentations at a single user group meeting. I have also given the same presentation at three different conferences. The second way to raise your profile is to volunteer to be on the user group steering committee. Organizing conferences and user group meetings takes a bit of work and helping getting things organized can be very rewarding.
- The fourth reason to attend a MUG is to get out of your normal routine. Getting out of the office to attend a conference is very rewarding intellectually and spiritually. It is great to get away form the Maintenance Schedules, Outage Planning, Support Backlog for a single day. Shake things up a bit, go meet new people, listen to some great Maximo war stories, talk to some experts and come back to the office revitalized. Companies should know that sending employees to conferences is a great way of educating and improving the morale of their staff.
- The fifth key reason to attend a MUG or the grand-daddy of them all (IBM Interconnect) is to see a different part of the country and learn that no matter the industry, no matter the version, the Maximo journey of every customer echoes your own journey. They all struggle with technical upgrades. Customization of Maximo is a bad word in most companies, and they are all venturing to take advantage of the huge investment IBM has made to continuously improve the product. IBM usually does at least one presentation at each user group meeting. They will tell you what is coming in the next year for Maximo (called the product roadmap), they will demonstrate the latest and greatest analytics, and they will quite often provide free certification testing at some user group meetings. I have learned over the years from IBM presentations, how their support model works, what the plans are for analytics, when certain versions of Maximo go out of support, and who to call with specific Maximo questions. Through my participation in user groups I have been invited to be a part of special focus groups with IBM, BETA testing new features and having input into the future releases of certain industry solutions.
Some Useful Links
Use this link to find a local Maximo User Group, when you get there select “Local Groups” then “Internet of Things”.