A growing number of companies have offered this application support services to the community, but Speedware's marketing director Chris Koppe believes Speedware's support for HP 3000 sites can call on more resources.
“If you walked around the Speedware offices you’d just find an army of HP 3000 programmers and experts, people who’ve either relocated here to Montreal or others who live on a more permanent basis. It’s almost like the retirement home for the 3000.” The company is always hiring or contracting with 3000 experts, he added, because it has “a huge amount of projects that we’re dealing with.”
Speedware has doubled in size over the past two years, Koppe explained, both at a revenue level and a staff level, while its services department “has quadrupled or more.”
Trailing apps in migrations
Another 3000 scenario where outside support can help is in a migration site, Koppe said, which has most of its applications moved to a new system. But a few apps remain on the 3000, apps which need supporting until they can be moved along with the rest of the system.
“A packaged system could cover 90 percent of the 3000 apps, but a customer won’t move the other 10 percent, “because they’ll die out naturally over the next three years or so.”
Some customers are using applications they took over when a vendor went out of business 10 years ago, while others have modified packaged apps so much that the application vendor “wants nothing more to do with it.” Outsourced support can help in either case, Koppe said.
Replacing support with new tools
Companies run HP 3000s which support 20 to 40 percent of the business without any more 3000 programmers around, Koppe said. In these and other cases, application support can be a part of a permanent engagement, where Speedware takes over for a company’s help desk, deploys Web-based knowledge base Speedware tools for support. “A lot of it tends to be remote, where we’re VPN connecting and handing requests for the application improvement. We can tailor it around a customer.”
Validating the quality of outside support can be an issue unless the support company submits to a Support Center Practices (SCP) certification, Koppe said. “We have either a full-time or half-time person whose job is to make sure we go through this certification process every year — and that we’re following the processes that we laid out.”