2010 will turn out to be a year of opportunity for part of the HP 3000 ecosystem. Support providers will be taking on new clients, the customers who have followed HP faithfully -- some might say blindly -- ever since their first systems switched on 15, 20, or 30 years ago.
But those decades of support from HP end in about nine months, a turn of events that will turn those still running a 3000 -- but faithful to HP -- toward independent support. Steve Suraci of Pivital Solutions sees good prospects to add fresh clients for support companies like his.
"There's a bunch of customers that will stick with HP until they can't anymore," he said, "and that's a group that will need to find another alternative. Hopefully at that point they do their homework and can separate between the good and bad providers -- and we become one of those who are given an opportunity to be in their plans."
Pivital specializes in HP 3000 issues and support, including hardware, software and applications. Suraci's company, which has been in the community for two decades, is practicing a mission that narrows its focus to expand its client base. Like a few others serving homesteaders, they want to deliver better results by sticking to what they do best. That strategy is all about level of service.
THE PIVITAL SPECIALTY is supporting 3000 enterprises, rather than taking on all server environments along with a 3000 in the mix. Although independent support always includes the tag-along question about the likes of Windows, it takes determination and integrity to stick to the service level promises you're certain to keep. Pivital made its bones in the ERP world as it grew its staff, working in a business sector with a need for detail-driven support.
"What we have strived for over the years is to forgo the opportunities where we don't think we can be successful," Suraci said, "the support that would require us to have too many partners, and just isn't in our sights." As an example, he recalled a municipality where the HP 3000 was the main enterprise system, but there was a lot of Windows server work that the city wanted along with 3000 support.
"We told them it would be great to get their HP 3000 business if they chose to separate that out," he said. "But it would be better for us to walk away now, than to get their business and not do a good job going forward." He says that Pivital is "a big stickler for the commitment to response time," something that can require elite partners who can solve an issue without being talked through technique over the phone.
It can require confidence and experience to maintain a sharp focus and aim at well-chosen targets. The 3000, being a special environment with special value, is likely to require sharp providers in the years to come. HP's departure creates challenges as well as opportunity. Extra outreach from support companies to new homesteaders will become more common over the next year or so. Homework will be required.