Getting the Message Across for MPE/iX
Fine-tune: Database passwords, slow clocks

Hardware icon added tools through 3000

WrenchThe HP 3000 had many notable brands on its roster over the last two decades—Hertz, M&Ms, State Farm. Plenty of well-known businesses leveraged their growth and dominance on MPE/iX apps and Hewlett-Packard hardware. In some places, the legacy kingpin of the 3000 has led datacenters to move data better on other platforms. Tools, as it turns out, can find places to work where owners were heading as well as where they're installed. That's what happened at True Value.

True-valueThere's more than 700 retail True Value stores, but the units operate as a cooperative. Together these stores own their distributor True Value, while they operate independently. Local ownership is bolstered by the bargains behind corporate purchasing. Long's Drug in the western US once boasted the greatest number of retail locations connected by 3000s. When it came to the number of locations supported by 3000 technology, True Value had Long's beat by a factor of two.

Hillary Software installed its byRequest solution at True Value in 2004, when the 3000 had fallen from HP's graces. It was an investment to prolong and improve the value of the 3000. More importantly, it was an investment in data. The software transforms MPE/iX data into the formats of the larger world: Word, PDF and Excel. True Value said byRequest revolutionized data and document management for them. Reports traveled via email to be used in the programs that are available everywhere. For some companies, Excel is a platform because it's essential to every decision.

The Hillary software moved data better than classic MPE/iX reports ever had. The software also helped move the company, when it was ready, onward to its next datacenter platform.

When True Value moved its business apps to Microsoft Dynamics under Windows, those Hillary tools like byRequest and onHand were moved as well. Hillary's solutions like onHand, a report portal with extensive search and scan capabilities, were a good fit for True Value. The onHand software includes an audit trail, essential to a document portal. Every store has its own logon to view bills of lading, inventory reports, invoices—the kind of security and access the 3000 has always provided for business operations.

OnHand is storing about one million documents for True Value stores, a capability that was well established when True Value made its migration away from the 3000. The IT pros at the datacenter which supports those hundreds of stores had a choice when they moved into Microsoft Dynamics. They could code up reports as a part of their move, or just continue with the Hillary products to keep user interfaces stable and retain productivity benefits. The powers of byRequest include automated delivery of reports, as well as scheduling, features that would've required a lot of coding to duplicate with the Microsoft app platform. The Hillary products just had better transport options, according to the IT director at True Value.

A migration to a new environment often requires a new set of tools to move data on the new platform. True Value invested in tools that were ready to work in a new world. It's a little like buying a set of wrenches that work with both Imperial and Metric measurements. A well-chosen toolset like this is a crossover solution. It's almost as if Hillary measured for a broad range of software standards when it designed its toolset.

When software that shares critical data can move along with the platform, it can make a migration more sensible. It's fair to say that the HP 3000 got True Value's data ready to move onward. By the time the migration happened, the Hillary software that started working on the 3000 had already been moving data for years.