[Editor's Note: Migration as well as homesteading sites need to accommodate changes, a task which e3000 Platinum Migration Partner Birket Foster addresses in today's article. One key tool to keep pace with these changes — the loss of a vendor's support team, a fresh sustainability plan to replace departing 3000 experts — is ITIL, Version 3, an information library that outlines best practices for IT managers.
Even the smallest of HP 3000 customers should be getting familiar with ITIL. "If you get acquired by a company that knows and practices ITIL processes, you'll get run over," Foster says. He shared other ideas about managing IT as an investment in his article. You can leave comments at the article's end or share them directly with Foster at [email protected].]
By Birket Foster
The world has certainly changed since 2001 especially for HP e3000 users — it is not just the HP-supplied parts, services and support, it is the whole ecosystem. Folks who were the captains of industry, managing robust growing companies for their organization have retired. For some of you this will ring a bell. There are very few HP 3000-savvy folks under 40, and probably none under 30. That means as more members of the community retire the replacements just won’t be there.
Probably 75 percent of the companies we visit don’t have the HP 3000 resources to make major changes of their application or the operating environment any longer. This puts companies at risk. The risk that if something goes bump in the night, the team will not know how to recover. Is your 3000 in a tested disaster recovery plan? (It ought to be – it is always easier to catch something in test then during the real thing). Developing and implementing a plan is a significant IT investment goal for your community.
Investment in IT is always related to applications. I don’t mean Microsoft office, but the applications that make it possible for organizations to take orders, build, ship and bill; or reserve a seat on a plane; or register a student, rent a car, or build an aircraft.
Yes, there are real companies in all those businesses still running on an HP 3000s. Some of them remain there because their investment in IT is working through a 5- or 7-year cycle, and then if the business is in good shape then they will take on the project of moving to something new. Some have failed in their attempt to migrate at the cost of tens of millions of dollars. In other cases, corporate is sending in the SAP team in a couple of years, and it will be five more years till they can decommission the 3000.
Your organization ought to have a dashboard which relates to the current state of each application and the ecosystem around it. The ecosystem includes staff, surround code, support plans and pledges from your third parties. And your senior management team should be made aware of the state of your systems. This includes all the tools to design/change, develop, test, integrate, deploy, operate, support the application plus the documentation, and the HR required to support and train new team members for each of the phases in the application lifecycle.
In a one-sentence motto, if you can't measure what you're currently doing, you shouldn't be doing it.
I am a big frameworks guy, so my thought is that if you have a framework you should compare what you have against an industry neutral way of looking at things – ITIL. This framework ensures you stay focused innovate and do the changes every company needs. For example, if you stay on the HP 3000 you need a plan to replace people who leave and take 3000 experience along with them.
ITIL v3, published in May 2007 with a lot of input from HP volunteers, comprises five key volumes:
1. Service Strategy
2. Service Design
3. Service Transition
4. Service Operation
5. Continual Service Improvement
If you are serious about your organization’s IT you will need to have something similar. Colleges, universities and companies such as HP offer courses and certification in ITIL. You can build your dashboard once you understand the level of maturity your organization has in IT systems. Whether you buy commercial off the shelf systems or roll your own, you need a framework to make your systems supportable – plus something to help these systems focus on supporting your business goals and objectives.
Your HP 3000 can fit into an ITIL, and you will gather enough information to transfer the support of your applications to the next generation of employees at your site. I hope you are doing great work in the care and feeding of your HP 3000 based applications — and that this short piece has made you think.