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MB Foster keys on 3000 application support

It's not a new practice, but MB Foster is shining its spotlight on supporting customer applications for HP 3000s. The company says it is seeing 3000 sites renewing commitments to using the server for another 3-5 years, so its experience in serving customers through applications can help companies extend the life of their systems.

"We have been providing application support services to clients for a few years now,” said Birket Foster, CEO of MB Foster Associates. “Over the last year, we have seen more clients commit to the HP 3000 platform for the next three to five years. We want to insure that these customers can continue to enhance their HP 3000 applications to meet their changing business needs."

Legacy app modernization has become another way to describe migrations when services providers talk about HP 3000 engagements. But these MB Foster services do not aim to move apps off a 3000. This is a homesteader's product, one that can be used to offset the brain drain which this community of four decades is experiencing. The goal is to provide 3000 expertise that a customer has lost through retirements of IT pros.

"It's very rare for someone to train up on the HP 3000 these days," said David Greer, MB Foster's VP of Marketing and Sales. In contacts with customers like the airline Westjet, for example, he's learned that the 3000 expert there has moved on to other technology projects in the company, using newer tools and architectures to expand career skills. From such HR moves come the need for application support. "The knowledge gap is widening," Greer added.

MB Foster notes that it's got more than 100 man-years of experience available to work in HP 3000 operating technologies, as well as COBOL, Cognos and Speedware experience. It provides its team to a client base that matches up with nearby geographical and operational profiles.

As one of the leading centers of excellence for the HP 3000 in North America, MB Foster operates in the same time zone and the same manner as what Canadian and US clients are used to. Many customers rely on MB Foster’s three decades of report writing experience to deliver their users needed reporting and application requirements.

Greer said he couldn't be sure yet that the 3-5 year plans for the 3000 customers is a trend, but he added that senior management at customer sites has been "very supportive" of continuing the use of 3000s while a longer transition plan evolves. "One customer was converting app by app," Greer said, while another was managing its own migration to SAP's Business One.

MB Foster will be doing a Webinar (on its usual Wednesday) Nov. 10 on using application support services, Greer added, with details and registration available on the company's website. The browser-based interface is well-designed and offers interaction via phone as well as messages in the webinar software. As we learned while visiting this week's webinar, the system will even call your number, rather than making you dial in.