Design Start Centers to Drive Business Performance – Part II

……continue from Part I

5.     Avoid Vertical Scroll (Rows to Display): Each Resultset comes with an option of configuring “Rows to Display”. Multiple factors should be considered while configuring “Rows to Display” for each Resultset since it has a direct impact on Vertical scroll.

  • Total number of Resultsets for the Start Center; recommended number 3-5 based on the Job responsibilities of the user. If more Resultsets are there, then lesser the number of “Rows to Display” for each Resultset.
  • Size of the Monitor of the users intended for using this Start Center (typically organizations have standard set of monitors for certain departments if not across complete organization; use this information effectively)
  • Importance of the Resultsets (In the same Start Center, for some Resultsets you have choose 10 while for some other you can choose 5)

Main objective should be to effectively utilize the screen space; avoiding Vertical Scroll while not leaving any unused white space.

6.       Use Object Structure effectively: One of strongest features of Maximo 7.6 Start Centers is use of the Reporting Object Structures. In simple words, earlier you were able to display columns of only the base table in the Start Centers. However, with 7.6 you can show columns from multiple related tables. This is a great enhancement and can be used effectively to show relevant data from multiple tables together. However use it carefully, as adding too many layers can impact the performance.

7.       Dropping irrelevant records: One of the problems of Resultsets is that the records keep hanging there if the purpose is solved. For example, record is approved or user is informed, however still the records continue to appear in the Resultsets. This leads to clogging and potential risk of missing the relevant information. To deal with it, apply appropriate filter criteria on the basis of status, dates to filter out the irrelevant records and continue to show only the relevant information. Again business can provide good insights for this. For example, if you want to show Cancelled Invoices to users so that they are informed about its status. However, since there is no further action on it, they continue to appear there. So applying a filter like showing Cancelled Invoices only for 7 days and then dropping them off will keep the Resultset count under control.

8.       Use Color code effectively: If you want to highlight certain records in a different color like a Critical priority record or a record which missed SLA; then you can choose to highlight them in Red color for immediate attention of user.

9.       Use KPIs for appropriate roles: KPIs should be used when the intent is to monitor the quantity of work rather than the individual work itself. Supervisors, Managers and higher Management are more interested in tracking and monitoring the progress of work. Like Work Orders Progress for the Month or Invoice Ageing Information. Leverage KPIs for this with options like KPI Graph or KPI List View.

KPI are typically on the narrow left side of the Start Center. More number of KPIs may lead to vertical scrolling. Alternative is to provide a COGNOS dashboard.

10.       Performance is key: Users live with Start Centers Day-in and Day-out. If they take more than 3-5 seconds to load, there is a problem in the long run. The problem is aggravated because unless all the Resultsets are completed loaded in the Start Center; launching any application or opening any record won’t work. So users are forced to wait till it completely loads. Therefore, avoid long running queries, optimize the queries with right indexes.

You may have certain situation where long running queries are reality and cannot be avoided.

In such case; explain the performance problem to business of the initial load of the Start Centers. And give them alternative that the information is still a click away:

  • As a Public Query in the application
  • As a separate Start Center which has this long running Resultset. This is not the default Start Center and users can launch it whenever they need to access it
  • If the number of Resultsets is becoming more than 6; then also consider a second Start Center for the same Role. Pick more frequently used Resultsets in the first Start Center. You may have to create an additional Security Group just for enabling this Start Center for the Role.
  • In case users’ security profiles enables multiple Start Center tabs for them, it is best to provide rights to users to choose the Default Start Center they want to launch. It is a great feature and helps saving performance by loading the most relevant Start Center in first attempt.

11.       Bulletin Board is great for communication: Bulletin Board is optional however having Bulletin Board at the top of the Start Center is a good idea. It takes less space if nothing is there. It is a great way to communicate common messages like scheduled outages, training issue related messages, critical production issues, etc. The messages come with an expiry date so they automatically fall out after the expiry date. You may choose to post messages to all the users or a specific group of users giving the right control.

12.       Inbox Assignments needs extension: Inbox assignments are great, however they don’t provide all the necessary information because Inbox is common for all the objects whether it is Work Order, Asset, DR, PO, Invoice or Service Requests. Secondly, if number of assignments in the Start Center is high, then it is not easy to quickly search through them.

To make the Inbox assignments more relevant for users, augment them with a Resultset. For example, if field users have multiple Work Orders assigned to them in the Inbox then add an associated Resultset for the Work Orders. It will give the leverage to add relevant columns for the users providing them more information which is not directly available from Inbox.

It is not advisable though to do this for all the Objects of the Inbox Assignments. Make the choice wisely based on the primary responsibility of the users.

Designing the Start Centers with above guidelines will ensure that Business is having all the critical and relevant information available to them; and will drive Business Performance.

Author Details

Ganesh Badriprasad Murai

Ganesh is a seasoned consultant with over 19 years of experience in Process Design, Solution Design, Integrated Solution Architecture and Technical Solution Implementation in various functional areas like Supply Chain, Business Spend Management, Work & Asset Management, Field Mobility, Warehousing & Logistics. He has worked for clients across various industries like Utilities, Railroad, Oil & Gas, Logistics and Retail customer. He has presented in global forums like Maximo World and GO Maximo on multiple topics. He is a certified Maximo consultant and certified Coupa Consultant.

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