The majority of the HP 3000 community vendors started their practices as software suppliers. The realism of the migration era pushed more than a few out of the 3000 business altogether, while others made their transition to services. But one vendor is making a new push into software, using a product that's been sold as a service until recently.
"We hope to license UDACentral to the main migration group [of the Canadian government]," said Birket Foster of MB Foster. "We're helping to organize that right now. If it all gets to the point where we believe the deal will go, we get into a position where there will be 44 government departments using our software as they go through the migration center."
The licensing of the software is a end-product of Foster's work in the Built In Canada Innovation Program. Rather than using Silicon Valley tech resources, software like UDACentral was built in Foster's Canadian labs. "It was never product-ized to the level we wanted it to be, so we could hand it to a computer-savvy manager and say, "Now you run it.' "
In the summer to come, Foster expects a free version of UDACentral to be available for moving a limited number of data resources, 20,000 database entries, in a DIY data migration task. This Demo Version of the software will be available for personal projects where data must be moved. More importantly, Foster said the year to come will mark a rise in the percentage of software revenues for his company, where migration service has been leading sales for years.
"We used to employ UDACentral in jobs and get paid for our services," Foster said. "Now we're making our power tools available for people to do the job themselves." In the year 2000, MB Foster's revenue was 90 percent software and 10 percent services, but the changes of 2001 flipped that equation. Migrations of data are often handled by systems integrators or resellers, though. Sales and rentals of UDACentral will start to return MB Foster's focus to those pre-migration-era levels, Foster said.