I recently delivered a project where my role was to implement a solution for IBM Maximo which receives emails from a Microsoft Exchange Central Email Box over Active Directory authentication and imports email content and attached Excel templates into Maximo.
Maximo by standard only supports IMAP and POP3 so the first thing I checked was which protocol was enabled on the Exchange side. Standard MAPI over http and EWS were enabled. Either IMAP or POP3 were disabled. This is a typical configuration for larger enterprises and they don’t change it.
I quickly realised that no similar solution has been published so far, therefore I had to design and build a custom integration solution on the Maximo side to support standard Microsoft Exchange communication protocol and Excel template import.
High-level solution design for Exchange Central Email Box – Maximo Business Object integration:
Exchange Integration Solution (ExIS) was built by merging several technologies: a java exchange framework, Maximo standard email listener and MIF functionality, plus specific java libraries. These technologies are orchestrated in one main ExIS workflow which is triggered by every new incoming email.
The main steps of the workflow:
- A new email is received in a shared email box containing a Service Request (SR) or Incident template attachment. This event is recognized by ExIS.
- It creates an inbound communication record in Maximo, downloads attachments into DOCLINK, marks email as read and moves it into a processed subfolder on Exchange.
- ExIS converts the content of the email and template attachment to Maximo standard MIF messages.
- XML consumers pick up these messages and loads into the defined object structure. We have extended the standard record load with an option to be able to validate and load a record on field level. This means the load doesn’t stop at the first error, it loads all data and lists all errors.
The ExIS solution has a management application where the admin user can manage import loads and related errors. I will go deeper into technical details in a following blog but for now I am concluding this post with the solution capability and compatibility information:
ExIS supports two areas, operating with business objects and with user data:
- Central Email Box – Maximo Business Object integration: this work and blog post covers this scenario.
- Exchange User Account – Maximo User Account integration: users’ availability and tasks synchronization. This could be useful at planning and delegation process.
ExIS is compatible with Exchange server versions 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016. On the Maximo side 7.1, 7.5 and 7.6 are supported.
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