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Migration good for Ecometry's economy

HP 3000 customer migrations are pushing business higher for Ecometry, the e-commerce/retail solutions vendor with scores of 3000 sites still running MPE/iX. Birket Foster, just returned from his annual trip to the  Escalate/Ecometry conference, said the vendor's 3000 unit is enjoying business growth better than the Escalate units which serve the retail consumer market.

In a recession which is acting like a depression in some markets, retail sales have driven down revenues for software that serves consumers. Ecometry, retooled for Point of Sale as well as online and catalog business, has been pushing transitions to the Unix or Windows versions of the software. Foster's company does data migrations as well as datamarts for Ecometry sites, and he said those migrations have contributed significantly to net a good 2008 for the supplier.

"Ecometry is doing really well, and part of that is because so many people have to do the migration," he said. "In the other divisions, their job is to hold their own." The consumer durables, or "buy now pay later stores, are down 21 to 30 percent," he added.

Migrations are a pressing issue for Ecometry customers because of changes to the credit card industry banks' policies. Visa, Mastercard and American Express will soon require security features unavailable in HP 3000 versions of Ecometry. The only homesteading solution will be to outsource the credit card part of transactions, Foster said.

The migration from MPE/iX has a strange path to adding value to a 3000 Ecometry site. "Less and less people are capable of supporting the HP 3000," Foster said. "As an example, we had a customer last week who had a [3000] backplane fail on them. It took way longer than they expected to replace it."

Foster said that customers are discovering how crucial support is for "pieces of the 3000 puzzle that never failed. Cutting it would be like saying, 'Let's cut the fire insurance.' "

Third party support firms, such as Pivital, Allegro Consultants and the Support Group are often involved in this kind of 3000 repair by now.