MB Foster gained the insights and experience of a veteran this year when David Greer joined the company as Director of Marketing and Sales. Greer posted more than 20 years of accomplishment while developing and managing business at Robelle. He then took about eight years away from the HP 3000 marketplace, working elsewhere in the IT industry and sailing the Med with his family, so he's returned with a fresh outlook. We asked him in a Q&A interview what he's seen so far that's changed in your community.
Have you had any conversations yet with customers worried about HP's departure at the end of this year?I wouldn't say I've heard any angst or concern about that. I've been asking people what they're doing for support, since HP's coming off at the end of this year. My gut says the majority have already moved on [to independent support]. Others are looking, but they're not particularly concerned. It's kind of business as usual. I don't see it as any driving factor, at least so far, that would make people leave the platform.
How are the changes in this market prompting you to change the MB Foster message?
The main things I'm trying to get out is reminding people of all the things MB Foster does. That's a pretty broad swath; a lot of people may not be aware that we can enable data replication for a data mart: or the depth of experience the company has in services with many organizations, working with senior management to produce effective reporting to drive their businesses.
We're also reminding people that we're here whether you're homesteading or you want to transition. We've got solutions for both. We're trying to help people leverage more out of what they have.
It's much more services-oriented, tailored. I don't think there's as much of a cookie-cutter solution. What we bring to the table in our intellectual property and experience lets us leverage a lot of things in a short amount of time.
A lot of people have been on the 3000 a long time. Lots of them started out as programmers, and they're now CIOs. For them, a more senior business message is what they want to hear. In other cases we're talking with a technologist, and we have to raise awareness within that organization, especially with people responsible for lines of business about what's possible.You've been away from this market since HP made its exit plans. What reasons have you seen why people need to leave the platform?
There's an aging workforce that has familiarity with the 3000. There's also an aging workforce that has familiarity with the applications. One of the reasons we see as a key driver to migrate is a company loses a key technical resource. Or they lose a key end user resource, someone who really knows the application inside out. We've had a couple of cases where we had to do a rush assessment, “because at the end of the month Joe is leaving.”
We also see some pent-up merger and acquisition activity as a key change event. You suddenly get new senior management, a team that has different ideas and wants to take IT in a different direction. They don't necessarily want to support the legacy platform.