What’s Up With Mp2?
By Peter Phillips
It'sbeen quite a while since I have reviewed CMMS software in this column, so we're going to take a look at the MP2 package.
It’sbeen quite a while since I have reviewed CMMS software in this column, so we’re going to take a look at the MP2 package.
This software comes from Infor of Greenville, SC. Many will recognize MP2 as a DataStream product. (DataStream Systems Inc. was a household name for many years until Infor Global Solutions Group acquired it in 2006.) The product, which has been on the market for many years, still bears the MP2 name. Many of us can remember some of the earlier versions of predecessors Maintain-it and MP2 5.0. The software has been upgraded over the years to the latest version, MP2 6.1 SQL, which was released in 2007.
Prior to the Infor acquisition, DataStream had toyed with the idea of mothballing MP2 and had actually chosen a date that it would cease to support the product. At the time, this raised a lot of concern in industry, as there are over 15,000 installations of MP2 worldwide and approximately 800 sites in Canada.
At that time, CMMS websites everywhere were asking the question: What to do with MP2? You can imagine that with this many installations, other CMMS developers would see Datastream’s news as an opportunity to pitch their own programs to MP2 customers.
Although DataStream had launched a new EAM (enterprise asset management) product, many companies wanted to keep using MP2. When Infor acquired the software company, it reviewed Datastream’s previous decision to phase out MP2, and then decided to maintain MP2 and its support structure. In fact, it soon renewed the program with MP2 6.1 SQL, the current version. Loyal users of MP2 were excited about this decision and have been upgrading to the new version, I have found.
One of the reasons I chose to write this article was to help inform many MP2 users that the software is alive, well and on the move. A lot of MP2 users who haven’t renewed their software support are still unaware of its new lease on life.
MP2 and a few other software programs have been the industry standard for CMMS for the past 20 years. They were the pioneers of maintenance software and knew what companies required. These firms kept their fingers on the pulse of the changing needs of the industry. With their leadership, today we have many CMMS choices on the market.
Since 2002, this column has looked at how to choose a CMMS, how to implement it and of course how to maintain it. With this in mind, a recommendation we always make is to choose a CMMS that is easy to use. From the very first part of the implementation through to the end, user-friendly software will save time and money.
MP2 has managed to be a long-time favourite in a diverse group of industries — ranging from universities, hospitals and public works to the manufacturing sector. So what makes MP2 stand out in the CMMS crowd?
First of all, the actual product itself is very easy to install. For the most part, no additional hardware or software is required. The newest 6.1 version will install on a standard server and the software includes a runtime version of SQL Express 2005, so there are no added SQL licenses to buy. Downloading a free copy SQL Management Studio Express from the Microsoft website will give you SQL management tools for the SQL 2005 Express program. The initial configuration of the product can be completed in less than a day and at that point you’re ready to start entering data.
Secondly, to assist with data input, MP2 provides an import tool that will populate the database. Properly formatted spreadsheets can be uploaded into the software, and in a few minutes you can have your equipment list in the system and be ready to write your first work order.
Other information such as inventory records and lists of manufacturers and vendors can be uploaded just as easily. This tool alone can save hours of manual data input.
If you are upgrading MP2 from an earlier version of the software, the latest version incorporates a complete migration tool that makes this easy. It’s possible to upgrade from earlier Microsoft Access and SQL versions of the software.
Thirdly, the program is easy to customize. Users can modify screen layouts to suit them. Users also can quickly create their own menu options and shortcut keys that make navigation of the software simple.
Fourthly, MP2 has multi-tier security to protect your data. Groups can be created that give specific users what they need to access the program, nothing more nothing less. For example, crafts people can enter and process work orders in the system but only ‘view’ spare parts records and their stock locations.
Along with its easy-to-use functionality, MP2 is offered in two versions, Professional, for a single-site application, and Enterprise, which is multi-site capable.
The program has many add-on components. To mention a couple, there is Weblink, which allows users to input work and purchase requests online. Pocket MP2 Plus allows you to carry work orders and inventory on a PDA (personal digital assistant) such as a Palm.
Behind MP2 lies Infor — acknowledged as a Software 500 company in Software Magazine’s list of the world’s foremost software and services providers. Infor furnishes the support structure to keep MP2 at the forefront of CMMS software.
If you are looking to purchase a new CMMS, MP2 is one of the products you need to consider. If you are an MP2 user and had not heard the news about its future, then consider yourself informed.
With new and old maintenance products coming and going throughout the years, it’s nice to see a program maintain its stature and continue to lead users to better maintenance practices.
Software editor Peter Phillips of Trailwalk Holdings, a CMMS consulting and training company based in Nova Scotia, can be reached at 902-798-3601 or by e-mail at email@example.com.(Editor’s note: Phillips has no business connection to the software reviewed but does training for it.
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