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HP sells 3000 software, today and tomorrow

Application measurements for more comfort

Most HP 3000 customers could use more help, or more budget. They can develop a compelling reason to get more room on their tight-fitting IT suits, even if they are simply staying put on their application platform. (Migrating customers have many, more obvious reasons to increase resources.)

Whether staying or going, however, the 3000 customer is like a fisherman floating in a well-stocked lake: sitting on top of a deep pool of assets, the company's applications. Most HP 3000s still run mission-critical operations, doing the work with applications. There's an emerging process to measure how much applications are worth to a company. Hiring a guide to use the process makes as much sense as taking a good guide to locate the biggest fish.

The process is Application Portfolio Management (APM), a topic that will be explored at this fall's HP 3000 Community Meet Nov. 17. MB Foster's Birket Foster has turned in an abstract of his talk to explain what benefit APM can offer to the 3000 enterprise — really, any enterprise — as well as a list of things to examine to establish the value of critical business applications.

Inventory is the first step in executing APM. Some customers have a fuzzy tally of what's on their HP 3000s. HP a rudimentary tool on its Jazz Web site to get started on a 3000 inventory, software included with the MPE/iX operating environment: the System Inventory Utility (SIU). (As a coincidence, HP's supported SIU was written by the November Community Meet's keynote speaker, Jeff Vance.)

Most important in the APM strategy? The concept of getting executive buy-in on IT projects by showing the applications' asset valuation. Just like a portfolio of stocks, or a stringer full of fish, the applications running HP 3000s can be assayed and then assigned the resources to maintain them — or tossed back to start over again.

Migration partners like MB Foster, as well as Speedware — two key supporters of the Community Meet — are using APM practices in the 3000 customer community. These are real assets, proven over many years. After all, some HP 3000s run apps with longer lifespans than many dot-com businesses which have issued stock.

Perhaps the best aspect of APM is the process's ability to work in both homesteading and migration environments. Speedware points out on its APM Web page that 76 percent of IT resources go to maintain apps, according to a study. That means keeping apps in place and running, even if they don't contribute as much as they should to an organization's bottom line.

This is a pitch to the business side of a company. As Foster says in his abstract, "Your investments in IT can be made visible and on the same footing as other corporate infrastructure investments. Total costs of ownership and the return on investment will come from the process so that the investments in IT can be tuned to the needs of the business."

APM even has a Wikipedia page, to help understand the concept's fundamentals. (I recommend Wikipedia as the start point for such Web research, because the site is peer-edited, full of articles and jointly written to establish accuracy.) Toward the bottom of the APM Wikipedia page are key links for more information; Speedware has a link there as of today.