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Fortune 500 beds down for 3000 use

Leggett-Platt Large scale IT operations are already migrated away from the HP 3000, right? Well, maybe not as many as you'd think. Imagine a company that makes "a broad variety of engineered components and products that can be found in virtually every home, office, retail store, and automobile." Better than $4 billion in annual sales. Got to be off the 3000 by 2009, you might think.

In this case you would be wrong. Leggett & Platt is managing its health plan using an HP 3000 and the EnCore claims system. Migration is probably not going to happen before sometime in 2012.

"We do plan on migrating to another platform, but not for another 3-5 years," said Douglas Grimes in IT. Our longtime subscriber added, "I am not sure which one we will go to. We will probably wait to see what EnCore does and follow them."

Leggett & Platt, New York Stock Exchange-listed and 125 years old, makes bedding and furniture assemblies. For example, its Mira-Coil continuous coil innerspring unit "grew in popularity in the 1980s and was patented in 23 countries."

Leggett & Platt doesn't show up on the extensive HP 3000 customer list at the OpenMPE Web site. When a company uses a solution that's not in the Top 20 MPE applications, tracking its business becomes tougher. A Fortune 500 site shouldn't be tough to locate, so we'll just assume someone in the 3000 migration community has Leggett & Platt on a tickle file.

How can a company this size maintain its 3000 use? Independent outsourced support along with experienced in-house application expertise. (Customers of some size do get special HP support deals that could well go beyond 2010, but HP isn't advertising that for Leggett & Platt or any other customer.) That app expertise  might not be any harder to locate than the best selection of Windows IT pros. While Windows has a vast user base among IT staffers, there's so many Windows tools and solutions that matching experience to a specific solution can make for a non-trivial hire.

ScreenJet's Alan Yeo, founder of the company that has helped 3000 sites move and enhance VPlus screens for more than a dozen years, said he figures there's 50 to 100 development solutions for Windows programmers. Entire IDEs, no less. Choosing a tool in the Top 10 of popularity might make Windows experts easy to recruit and retain. But then that kind of selection winnows so much possibility out of the rich world of Windows solutions.

EnCore is supported on other platforms, including an implementation that uses the Eloquence database to mirror its IMAGE capabilities. When the time is right for a Fortune 500 site to migrate, it will. The end of the 3000s life is being determined by customers, not by HP's support calendar.