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Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

  • 1.  Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Sat August 08, 2020 12:38 AM
    Edited by User1971 Mon August 10, 2020 08:52 PM
    What are the pros and cons of Work Centers in

    Have Work Centers worked out well for you? Or are there still kinks to be ironed out?

  • 2.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Mon August 10, 2020 08:28 AM
    Edited by Steven Shull Mon August 10, 2020 08:31 AM
    Unfortunately there is going to be a wide variety of opinions here, and I'm only speaking for myself. I think both the Inspections & Inventory work centers are usable in the current form and have some advantages over the legacy options.

    In the case of Inspections, there is no legacy app, but the use case is compelling enough and the ability to choose what to show based on previous responses is significantly better than anything you could have done with Work Orders before. When they get to the point where you can have multiple answers for the same question (think check all that apply), this will be one of the best additions IBM has added since I've been working with Maximo in the last 10 years.

    The biggest negative to Inspections right now is performance. The work centers in general download a significant amount of supporting resources and make thousands of HTTP requests, so there's a much more noticeable delay than using core applications. The SR work center takes about 30 seconds for first run (no cache), which is a poor experience when you have users who use it infrequently. We haven't thoroughly tested yet to see what improvements exist in this release, but have a case open with IBM to try and improve the user experience inside the app.

    Inventory (Manage Inventory) is another interesting improvement because it makes a lot more things actionable from the "list tab". With the new work center you can quickly perform counts (and now reconcile in the work center). You can quickly issue/transfer items. You can quickly see any reservations, use the new process for picking and staging (which is only in the work center), etc. It's a good example of rethinking the experience for inventory that enables users to be effective quicker than they could with the legacy UI. 

    The rest have core experiences that work better today IMO. For example, Work Execution doesn't work well for me because you can't easily add new fields (and almost all customers have custom fields on work orders that they need to capture). The idea of cards isn't an improvement to me over the textbox approach because it takes up significantly more space and is harder for me to remember where things are on the screen. I like the idea of a header bar (similar to what Control Desk has) to allow you to see key information at a glance such as status, priority, etc. but beyond that I'd prefer a standard form layout closer to what exists today in core. And once you can't do what you what you need to in this app, you have to navigate to the core application which is a very disjointed experience to have two extremely different UIs. 

    IBM is investing in work centers, and with the new designer they're working on with a new technology platform & UI design they could quickly change my opinion. If nothing else, I expect their coverage of legacy applications will increase significantly faster because they won't have to write nearly as much code to implement a new attribute like they have to today.

    Steven Shull
    Director of Development
    Projetech Inc
    Cincinnati OH

  • 3.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Fri August 14, 2020 01:09 PM

    Great insights! 

    I notice a lot of API calls as part of the framework for Work Center and image rendering that took most of the time - for example: when loading Business Analyst WC: ~58% time is taken to make 38 API call with 6.89s of total 11.74s (see image - when I debug the). Rendering image is also taking too long (this could be cached?) ~3.06s (26%).

    Do you know if any documentation or architectural reference so we can better dissect the API components and try to improve it? 
    performance on loading ba work-center



    Dianne Woodley

  • 4.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Fri August 14, 2020 02:52 PM
    Edited by User1971 Fri August 14, 2020 02:54 PM
    You know, IBM would get a lot better uptake of their products if they just showed us what they're stuff looks like once and a while.

    That screencap of the Business Analysis Work Center looks pretty slick. But you'd never know it by looking at the IBM website.

    Cool. Thanks.

  • 5.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Fri August 14, 2020 03:41 PM

    Honestly, my preferred approach is to test it in a non-production environment and configure an APM (Application Performance Monitoring) tool against the Maximo environment that includes some sort of code profiling feature. This is not to be confused with the IBM Asset Performance Monitor product which serves a completely different purpose. 

    Application Performance Monitoring is a monitoring tool that provides deeper insights than standard monitoring tools. This allows you to identify bottlenecks in your application, even if you aren't the one who wrote the product (like in this case). It'll help you see how much time is being spent with database queries (and which database queries are taking the longest). And if it has code profiling (tracking how long it spends time in the various java methods) it'll give you understanding where in the code Maximo is spending the most time.

    As an example, we found that Maximo was executing a count query in part of the logic for asset specs. While each count query was executing quickly (<4 ms), the query was being executed hundreds of thousands of times to download all the asset data so it added almost 30 minutes to the total time to retrieve all the assets. These sorts of issues are really difficult to identify without a tool like that.

    If you're trying to do it without using APM tooling, try to look at the individual network requests to see if it's certain requests that are taking a significant time (IE is one request taking 4 seconds) or are they each taking a low amount of time? In a test in our DEV Maximo system with actual data, we have the uxfailurecode query against the mxapiasset taking 1.93 seconds for example and that's our longest request. That request is looking for all assets where failurecode is null (you can lookup the query in the object structure application and choosing Query Definition), with a pagesize of 50 records. There's not really a way to improve the query itself without changing how it functions (such as filtering to just the user's site). So unless I noticed something in code profiling, there isn't really much I could do with that particular request. 

    To help troubleshoot you can consider lowering mxe.db.logSQLTimeLimit in a non-production environment for anything that takes longer than 150 ms instead of the default 1000 (which is good for a production environment, otherwise you might have too much noise). If you see queries related to the work center, see if they could be improved somehow. Anything less than 150ms the odds of you being able to significantly improve the performance in the query are typically slim. 

    Steven Shull
    Director of Development
    Projetech Inc
    Cincinnati OH

  • 6.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Fri August 14, 2020 06:17 PM

    I think the issue here is not how to monitor the slowness on work center, but it is more on the framework on how the work center MVC was designed or built.
    The UI is great and it will be even better if IBM provides any documentation on the application flow (or Customization Gudelines for WC). There are a lot of 3rd party javascripts lib being used for WC (?) - located at:  ..\ibm\smp\maximo\applications\maximo-x\script\libraries.

    Dianne Woodley

  • 7.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted 23 days ago
    I can see what you mean about the Work Center cards not being an improvement.

    It's a lot to look at. I think users would get "lost in the boxes".

  • 8.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Mon August 10, 2020 10:17 AM
    We are in the process of rolling out the Service Request Work Center on our campus to be used as the primary 'customer facing' Maximo element. We have noted some serious UI performance issues with the initial loading of the work center from an uncached browser. It can take up to one minute to render and display the work center for users, which may as well be an eternity in web response time.

    Timothy Pratt

  • 9.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Mon August 10, 2020 12:04 PM
    One issue I have run into is that eSig cannot be setup against an inspection. Either completing or reviewing as a supervisor. Am I missing something?

    Roy Cline
    Business System Analyst
    North Haven CT

  • 10.  RE: Pros and Cons of Work Centers?

    Posted Mon August 17, 2020 07:11 AM
    I have recently started working on Work Center and I believe Steven has covered almost all the topics.
    Here below are some points on work center from me:

    1. Performance: The initial load time is real problem of work center. IBM has provided the solution of Vulcanization  to resolve this issue for my current client. Vulcanization has resolved the initial loading issue to some extent. I am not sure if it comes with the product. You can explore this option to improve work center performance:

    2. UX/UI: I believe Work Center's UX/UI experience is really good. We are mostly working on Work Execution app and it adapts to all types of devices (mobile, ipad, desktop). User experience and flow is really good and as Steven said IBM is investing in this so we will have better product in term of UX and performance soon.

    3. Customization of Work Center: The design of the application is based on Web Components and Google's Polymer. Everything in the product is either web component or Polymer library. I was able to understand the code in couple of days of exploring. Much Much easier than working on Anywhere customization.

    I believe with the upcoming releases Work Centers will be more enhanced more giving better experience to clients across the world.
    I like the product!

    Biplab Choudhury
    Maximo Consultant
    Tata Consultancy Services