Since Version 6, Start Centers have been the main landing page for Maximo Users. They provide users with shortcuts to applications as well as highly configurable lists, graphs and KPIs. In my experience, this power and flexibility often means that they are not always configured effectively.
When Start Centers are being reviewed, discussions often begin with what the user needs to see as part of their job. While this level of analysis usually ascertains the basic requirements, it is often where the conversation ends. In order to drive more effective Start Center usage, and increase benefits and efficiencies to users, I have found it is worth considering the following for each Start Center Portlet:
Will there be a high number of records shown on the Portlet?
Having high numbers of records listed can quickly become unmanageable and inefficient to review. Rather than expecting users to try and work through the records, consider reviewing if unnecessary data can be filtered out, or if the list can be split to make it more manageable. If a high number of records are essential then it is worth considering converting the list into a graph or setting conditional formatting to highlight records of interest.
Is the Portlet trying to show a wide selection of data?
There is often a temptation to try and include a large number of columns in a Start Center Result Set List. While this may seem useful to users, they will still need to go into the application to action the record. I would recommend that the Start Center displays enough information for users to identify which record they are looking at and use it to drill down into the record and action it from the application.
By utilizing record specific data and minimizing the use of relationships on the Start Center, the performance of the Result Set improves greatly. This not only returns the results back to the user quicker, but also reduces the overall load on the system.
Is the Portlet designed to only show records on exception?
Start Center Portlets are sometimes designed to highlight errors. As a result, they are expected to be blank by default. Whilst this provides a simple method for error identification, it also means they can easily be missed when shown.
If this type of Portlet is required and the underlying issue cannot be resolved, consider using a graph instead of result set lists. Graphs are much more visual and so draws the eye, increasing the chance of them being noticed.
The number of Portlets displayed on each Start Center
The more Start Center Portlets you have on the screen, the more data the user will have at their fingertips when they log in. Too much information can be unwieldy and also lead to performance issues. While I have not found a ‘magic number’ of Portlets, experience has found that expecting users to scroll down to see all data will often mean things are missed. Instead, consider grouping information into separate Start Centers to focus on different types of data. For example, active work for the week Vs. backlog work.
By focusing effort on the design of your Start Centers, you can enable users to concentrate on what is important. In turn, this will drive efficiency. For example, one of our clients wanted to focus on their Assurance PM Backlog. By working with us to correctly define and implement their Start Centers, we could help focus their maintenance team to reduce backlog from over 800 hours to 0 in under six months. The below graph tracked their progress: