June 05, 2012
Contemplating Migration Era's Completion
Like a flock of geese receding beyond the horizon, customers who are still migrating from the HP 3000 are getting harder to spot. Although engaging this business hasn’t ended altogether, signs are mounting that the 3000 sites which are on the move may not need much help finding the door to migration.
During March one of the original HP Platinum Migration partners reported that no new migration business had been booked over the prior fiscal year. Speedware, which has made a transition to legacy systems service by becoming Fresche Legacy, said they hadn't written new migration business for a period since April, 2011.
Some projects are still underway at the company. But much more of its legacy transition operations and engagements are growing in the IBM marketplace where it sells tools and services. The past year has led the company away from relying on HP 3000 migration projects.
"We thought that HP 3000 migrations would be a significant contributor to the business," said CEO Andy Kulakowski. "As it turns out, we were forced into this transition a lot sooner than we thought -- and it ended up being a good thing for us. Fresche Legacy’s Chris Koppe, as the firm’s business development director, doesn’t think the migration era for the community is over.
"Not by any means," he said. "I think we won’t be moving the last 3000 anytime soon. There will be a trickling of that business over time."
The vista is changing, however. While Fresche isn’t banking on the 3000 market to sustain its business growth, the other remaining Platinum Partner, MB Foster, is still booking migrations. "I guess we’ll be the last man standing," said CEO Birket Foster. "We’re still doing migrations, and we’re assisting a customer right now with a proof of concept. Their initial estimate is about 10,000 man-hours, which is five man-years. There are still people with larger projects out there."
Other companies have pulled back from 3000 transition operations, although they'd be glad to help if they could locate another prospect. Sector7 hasn't done a major project in more than five years, according to its CEO Jon Power. "In all honesty the 'free for all' HP 3000 migration spree slowed down about three years ago," Power said. Transoft has stopped promoting its migration business to the 3000 world. Unicon is still looking into 3000 migrations, but its efforts have moved largely in the mainframe world.
"Our focus over the past two years has moved to the IBM and Unisys mainframe systems," said Mike Howard, "but I would like to revisit the HP 3000 market, if the numbers compute."
One supplier of a key 3000 migration tool, Michael Marxmeier of Marxmeier Software, believes the biggest projects are over. His Eloquence database and language is a drop-in replacement for IMAGE, something taught and deployed by MB Foster. Marxmeier can see companies that need to migrate, and the tools such as his database have matured. The biggest share of Eloquence business up to now has been with application vendors who needed to move customers, such as the Spectrum credit union software sold by Summit.
"By now the majority of that migration business is over, and that's okay," said Marxmeier. "ISVs have settled in place; they've probably already moved on. At the beginning they had to come up with a solution to keep their customers successful, and quickly.
"But there also are quite a few end-users out there, and with all the knowledge we've gained we will address the needs of those users specifically. They will benefit from almost a decade of successful migrations, so things have become easier than they were at the beginning."
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