Notes from the, well, not underground, how about from the ground floor? (Originally published in April 2017)
In the early 1980s the company I worked for, Project Software & Development, Inc (PSDI), sold a project management scheduling system that ran on IBM mainframes called PROJECT/2 (P/2). 75% of the nuclear power plants in the US used P/2 for outage management. That is when they shut down the plant for major maintenance work. Many other plants, power as well as other industries, too, used it the same way. This lead to a call for PSDI to come up with a more maintenance oriented product in addition to the project based scheduling application of P/2. So, in the early 80s we started talking up a possible maintenance management system. Immediately we were steamrolled by this big company called IBM who announced a similar system and had several volumes of manuals already written to prove it. So we at PSDI retreated.
When nothing more was heard of that system we were re-energized. We searched for a company or a product to acquire and found what we thought was the perfect one. We bought it planning to convert their code in Basic to a more modern language. We found a product that converted Basic to C and we were all set. Until we saw the code, all the variables with meaningful names in Basic were now just sequential numbers and the code was unusable.
But the product we bought came with a great set of flowcharts so the business rules were easily deciphered and re coded by the team we assembled. And Maximo was born (yes, the name came from the polo connection of our owner). Maximo 2.0 was released in 1985. It was green screen, IBM PC AT based, single user system (can you believe it, it needed 4 mgs of RAM!) but it was Maximo. Work Orders and Inventory. And had two of the distinguishing features of Maximo today:
- the screen were editable using Maximo tools
- the database was modifiable also using Maximo tools.
Early customers included one in the food industry who would send us a yearly package containing one each of all of the types of cookies, etc, they made. That was a good day to be in the office, if the Maximo-ites were in a sharing mood.
Maximo progressed to Windows in a client/server format in the late 80s. The first web-enablement of Maximo was in the late 90s. Parts of Maximo became Java based with Maximo 5 in 2001. By 2005 Maximo 6 was fully Java/Internet based.
Along the way PSDI left the project management business for the maintenance management business and changed the name to MRO Software (Maintenance, Repair and Operation - an industry term). And then in 2006 was acquired by IBM where we are today.
While dwelling on ancient history a couple of observations of the cycles of the IT world as I've seen it:
- in the 1970's and 80's we used to sell P/2 for use on service bureaus around the world so you would not have to have your own mainframe and have to install the software and maintain it. You would pay by the usage. Hmmmm, now you can buy Maximo as SaaS (Software as a Service) so you don't have to....
- in our scheduling software products we went through the whole mainframe (P/2) phase with large central CPUs with users spread out all over, to a then state-of-the-art standalone PC (our QWIKNET product), to connected PC's (QWIKNET Professional), to LAN based (our P/X product). Now Maximo, which started on standalone PCs, is run on large central server farms with remote users spread out all over. Deja vu all over again. Of course there is no comparison between my 1978 punch card reader and the laptop I am using now as my RJE (Remote Job Entry) station for running Maximo, typing this or surfing the net.
- and another circle - I started with scheduling, was the last person out of the scheduling side when I started working with Maximo and now am the Subject Matter Expert on the Scheduler in Maximo. Some will say I never fully left scheduling with the Microsoft Project Adapter and the Primavera Adapter and that is true, too.