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News from e-commerce customers

Earlier this summer the HP 3000's leading e-commerce community held its first-ever roundtable. MB Foster, one of HP's two North American Platinum Migration Partners, sat on the 2008 Ecometry Customer Round Table — and have posted a brief report with highlights from the event.

You can download this PDF report from the MB Foster Web site; as of today the link is on the main page of the site. A direct link will download the three-page file to your desktop.

Of note in the report, written by MB Foster's Karmin McKay, is the news that a little less than half of the Ecometry customers still do business from an HP 3000 server. At one point in 2002, Ecometry said it had 350 companies running its e-commerce suite. In raw numbers, perhaps, the still-on-MPE installations may number 150 companies. (The officials from Escalate, a company formed in 2006 by the merger of Ecometry with GERS Retail Systems, said 46 percent of Ecometry sites run HP 3000s.)

The number is notable because Escalate said the deadline for running supported versions of Ecometry on the HP 3000 is December 31, 2009. That is much closer than it seems when you know a little about how an average Ecometry customer looks at the calendar.

This month is pretty close to the end of change-and-migration season for 2008 at an Ecometry shop. These sites do a very large share of their business between October and the end of December each year, selling during the year-end gifting season. Many are loath to change anything already running as each year winds down — and their sales rev up.

Given the number of these sites still on the HP 3000, the Escalate End of Life date for Ecometry might push more than 100 customers into migration action — not planning — over the next 12 months. For many of them, they now have less than 18 months to move onto the Ecometry Open platforms, either Windows or HP-UX. (There's a third choice, of course: moving onto another e-commerce application. But these are risk-averse customers, so limiting change to a new platform might be as far as they're willing to go.)

Many are willing to go, too, by the looks of the roundtable report. One successful migrator, Indiana Botanic Gardens, said that running on MPE was like using Windows 3.1. The customer went live with its Windows-based version of Ecometry just about the time the roundtable convened in early June.

Migration expertise is in good supply at the moment, from the reports of the customers who are moving. But if 100 customers need to move forward on migrating their 3000 software that surrounds Ecometry, there could be something of a run on the marketplace of migration mavens. Make plans with next year in mind, if you're moving and will need some help.