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Training becomes a critical commodity

HP 3000 expertise is a crucial IT element at some companies, but that doesn't mean that it's valued. A recent lively discussion on the OpenMPE mailing list showed how how the demand for MPE know-how might not be outpacing supply -- but only because there's no evidence of budget for training.

The 30-message stream on the list starts when Vindoh Kumar of L&T Infotech asked OpenMPE list readers for training in MPE/IX commands, SUPRTOOL, QEDIT, QUERY, Powerhouse, VPlus, TurboIMAGE, KSAM, JCL -- even Allbase, which probably wasn't installed on more than 100 customer sites in 15 years of availability. The list was large, the company based in India had testimonials from Freescale. What an opportunity.

Not to some MPE experts reading. "HP community, please don't do this," Janet Hiller replied. "It just takes away American jobs. I was just outsourced from my job of over 20 years and it was to IBM in India. The more we teach them, the more jobs we will lose."

This was not the first request for MPE training from a manager in India. One of the most notable came from a company with a lot more 3000 experience: HP. The community's last training business entrepreneur had a story to share about that, one that didn't include a budget.

More than a year ago Paul Edwards & Associates, along with Alden Research, Inc. reported they couldn't even offer virtual Web training for MPE/iX on any basis but custom contracts. Edwards reported in February 2009 he and partner Frank Alden Smith "are the exclusive MPE/iX training partners with Hewlett-Packard. We have modernized the training materials for the HPe3000 classes formerly offered by HP."

The materials were stronger but the budgets were weak from 2007 onward. "A lack of any company to commit funds for training" was the first reason listed. Edwards said this week that HP wanted to train its India staff, but not enough to get a PO cut. IBM asked for, but didn't reply to a proposal from Edwards this year.

None of these companies have wanted to pay for the training and travel costs. They seem to have no HP 3000 systems with the required software installed in-house to use for the training and their ongoing education. I believe these companies answer bids for offshore work and then need to train their people in a hurry to fulfill the contract.

Edwards added that "as long as the companies in the US allow this situation to continue, they will get poor quality they have paid a lot for. I want to see more US companies get the training they need for their IT staffs, or contract for MPE consultants that are local."

Not every 3000 expert reading the list agreed that an offshore training request was aimed to steal jobs. John Dunlop, who from 2006-2008 was the Webmaster for OpenMPE, expressed surprise at the overwhelming responses to shop local, rather than global.

Where is the traditional support from the HP 3000 community for others interested in the HP 3000? Isn't the OpenMPE organisation dedicated to spreading support for MPE/iX? The guy just wants to learn about the HP3000 Operating System for heaven's sake.

I would have thought that in this climate of diminishing resources for the HP 3000, the community would welcome a chance to extend knowledge of MPE/iX to other areas, wherever they may be.

More than one migration project has been outsourced to India since 2003, with the result being a system mothballed and jobs eliminated, others noted. Training enables migration as well as homesteading. Whatever the outcome, it's clear that knowing the HP 3000 is worth something -- although how much, and for what tenure, are still up for grabs.