New HP exec forced to focus on servers
Used N-Class 3000s vary in price

IBM, packaged app to replace 3000 system

Not many HP 3000 migration customers choose IBM's iSeries systems, but the platform notched a convert this month from a 25-year site. GNM Financial Services, a Culver City, California-based services firm, announced plans to replace its HP 3000 and applications with the S2K Enterprise for Distribution suite. The software runs on a low-end iSeries server, a Power 520.

The replacement software rolled in as a result of work by IBM reseller VAI, which released a Customer Relation Management (CRM) system last fall tuned to work with the i Series and its integrated database. IBM has promoted the iSeries as a logical next step for 3000 sites accustomed to the MPE/IMAGE database integration. But few converts have been announced since the IBM efforts began in 2002.

GNM's IT director Pam Tucker, who was a 3000 NewsWire subscriber for a few years after HP announced its 3000 exit, issued a statement for the VAI press release that said the company needed a newer solution with a more comprehensive future. She described their 3000 as "aging." The IBM press inflated that assessment to "archaic." But newer apps to replace aged 3000 software is an old story in this community.

The news in this report is the win for IBM. Sometimes a transfer to Big Blue's integrated business platform results from a selection of an application. Other cases are triggered by a trickle-down from a mother-ship IT shop. Tucker said GNM did a thorough search for replacement software. The reseller reports that GNM wanted a solution designed for the i Series.

"We understood that GNM and Mytel needed a technology solution to replace our aging HP 3000," Tucker said in her statement. The press release added that the new application promises to provide

... Access to the real-time information required to improve customer service and eliminate our outdated paper tracking system. S2K for Distribution has achieved this goal, placing key information literally at our fingertips. Specifically, VAI's CRM software, with its centralized database, allows us to see and understand all customer interactions in a way that was simply not possible before.

A modern CRM solution isn't available off the shelf for the HP 3000. Meanwhile, IBM has maintained its support for the i Series even in the face of an AS/400-Unix consolidation of the server line last year. (IBM calls the merged platform the IBM Power System, named after the core POWER chips at the heart of Unix and OS/400 solutions.) GNM describes itself as a supplier to small, independently owned office supply companies. The GNM services include "locating of merchandise; arranging for shipment of merchandise; invoice processing; financing of accounts receivable; collection of accounts receivable, and consumer assistance."

GNM must integrate data from an allied company, Mytel, one which didn't pop up in our NewsWire database. It's possible that IBM or the i Series is already installed at Mytel. We're waiting on a return call from Tucker to learn more about GNM's new migration project, and how the i Series became an important component of a replacement solution.