Technical Blog Post
From the Maximo Support Desk - Population Of Classification Attributes On Child Classifications
Here is an issue that some Maximo users have encountered and they have asked me if this a bug. It seems like it could be, at first...
The core functionality of Classifications (for Assets records) is to provide a detailed, hierarchical set of attributes which facilitate selection, preventive maintenance, purchasing, and other critical asset management functionality. This necessitates the ability in Maximo to allow extremely granular classification of asset records. The result is that you can build both very simple, and very complex parent/child Classifications. In the movie "Spiderman", Peter Parker recalls his beloved grandfather's wisdom that "with great power comes great responsibility"... can I be so bold as to compare this to Maximo Classifications?
The great power of a parent Classification is that its Attributes can be propagated all the way down through its hierarchy of child classifications... the great responsibility is that this must be controlled and contained in many circumstances - it is not always the desired result. The Maximo administrator who uses the "Apply Down Hierarchy?" checkbox on Classification Attributes in the most judicious manner will show levels of power, judgement, and restraint no less heroic than Spiderman!
Okay, let's get into this now... my customer reported that when an Asset gets classified with a child classification, the Asset attributes do not always contain the attributes of the parent classification in addition to the attributes of the child classification. That seems like a reasonable expectation. In the most stripped down illustration, it seems that if there were a Classification hierarchy of PARENT/CHILD/GRANDCHILD, then an Asset that uses the CHILD classification would contain the attributes of both PARENT and CHILD, but not GRANDCHILD. With this same expectation, it seems reasonable to expect that an Asset which uses the classification of GRANDCHILD would inherit the attributes of PARENT, CHILD, and GRANDCHILD. The functionality of Classifications in this scenario would be true ONLY when the following configuration is present... that the "Apply Down Hierarchy?" checkbox is checked on every Attribute on the PARENT and CHILD Classification records (Attributes section)
Let me illustrate that more precisely.
The following is an example hierarchical Classification, which will explain the functionality of the "Apply Down Hierarchy?" checkbox.
PUMP has 3 children: ROTARY, CENTRIFUGAL, and RECIPROCATING
The summary is that an asset for a pump can only be one of the following:
The following business conditions exist:
-These pumps will ALL share a set of common attributes
-The three pump types have a set of attributes that are ONLY applicable the type (rotary, centrifugal, reciprocating)
-There is one attribute of the PUMP classification that can sometimes be applied to any of the three types, but it's on a case-by-case basis; perhaps for a regulatory, or auditing reason, so this attribute must be applied to PUMP.
The implied result is that all of the three pump types will inherit all of the PUMP attributes in addition to their pump classification of either rotary, centrifugal, or reciprocating... but what if one of the rotary pumps does NOT require that special pump attribute that is associated to the parent, PUMP? This is when the "Apply Down Hierarchy?" checkbox is used on that attribute. If this singular Attribute of the PUMP Classification is NOT marked to be applied to the hierarchy, then you can confidently use this parent/child classification with great accuracy... you can use the Apply Down Hierarchy flag to support a dynamic set of attributes that can be easily administered and updated.
So, the perceived "bug" that the customer reported is a legitimate observation, and if you're seeing similar behavior, just check each attribute on parent classifications to determine whether or not they are configured to populate the child classifications via the "Apply Down Hierarchy?" checkbox.
Note: Using the Apply Down Hierarchy flag does not display the child classifications' attribute set on the parent classification. When the Apply Down Hierarchy flag is checked, it does not consolidate or combine attributes amongst all classifications in a hierarchy. The Apply Down Hierarchy flag will allow child classifications to inherit attributes from the parent, and not vice-versa.
Tom Richardson is an IBM Maximo Support Engineer and frequent contributor to the Asset Management Blog community. For a complete index of links to his articles, visit
Index of articles by Tom Richardson, Support Engineer