Retiring ERP Systems, or Not-Free Parking
June 29, 2015
About a month ago, a migration company offered a webinar on leaving behind one use of an HP 3000. But the focus at Merino Services was not on MPE, or HP's 3000. The company wanted to help with an exit off MANMAN. In specific, a march from "MANMAN/ERP LN to Infor 10X."
While many manufacturing companies will recognize MANMAN ERP, it's the LN tag that's a little confusing. Terry Floyd, whose Support Group business has been assisting MANMAN users for more than 20 years, tried to pin it down. "ERP LN is Baan, I think – it’s very difficult to tell anymore. It’s not MANMAN, anyway." The target is Infor's 10X, more of a framework for the migration destinies of Infor's parked software. Such parking keeps up support, but nothing else changes.
Merino, which hasn't been on the 3000 community's radar up to now, might not be blamed for conflating a couple of ERP names, or just running them together in a subject line. The state of ERP applications is changing so fast, and declining, that an ERP Graveyard graphic lists the notables and the little-known, next to their current undertakers. Infor, which is the curator of both Baan and MANMAN, has made a business of this in-active retirement for more than a decade. Younger, more adept alternatives have been offered for MANMAN for several decades.
About Infor, Floyd added, "they have bought a lot of near-bankrupt companies. As you know, a lot of people have been trying to migrate companies off of MANMAN for over 20 years." It's a testament to the sticky integration of ERP and the customization capability of MANMAN that this application leads the graveyard in the number of times it's been acquired.
This alternative strategy would allow Microsoft to focus on its core platform and product engineering strategy without the conflict of having a sales team intent on winning business away from its growing army of third-party partner vendors. Some or all of the ERP products would doubtless be part of that transaction, while Microsoft would likely prefer to retain the CRM product because of the tight integration that’s possible to its Office properties.
But the ultimate decision may depend on who the buyer will be.... I think it’s more likely that Microsoft would look to sell off some or all of its legacy ERP portfolio to a ‘friendly’ competitor — one that’s committed to the Microsoft stack.
Open source ERP — the Support Group provided guidance for OpenBravo — looks like it may be a migration choice that wouldn't land in a graveyard. Commercial open source demands that some company product-ize the open software, in much the same way that Novell or RedHat turned Linux into an enterprise-worthy solution.
As for any Infor strategy that a MANMAN site would want to study, the busy world of its acquisitions is covered in an Infor Discovery Guide that runs more than 100 pages and 25 solutions, ranging from CloudSuite to a legacy stalwart like Lawson. Not mentioned anywhere in those pages is MANMAN itself, apparently because Infor considers there's not much to discover.
Software like MANMAN still runs the business of some manufacturers. But these customers pay support as if it's a parking fee, since their software is going nowhere. Well, not nowhere: the customers still have the capability to customize their applications themselves, carrying the companies into a future where parking places are discovered, and places to steer a migration are regularly mapped out, as shown below.