ERP surrounding advice still serves 3000s
Automated messages track 3000's orbit

Un-parking HP 3000 ERP systems

Free Parking square

This week is the end of the line for MANMAN support from Infor. A migration company once offered a webinar on leaving behind servers that delivered manufacturing data. 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, this was 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 25 years, tried to pin it down.

"The 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, not a company on the 3000's radar, might not be blamed for conflating a couple of ERP names, or just running them together in a subject line. The lineup of ERP applications has been declining. 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 less than active retirement for more than 15 years. Younger, more adept alternatives have been offered for MANMAN for several decades.

Floyd added, "They have bought a lot of near-bankrupt companies," Floyd added bout Infor. "As you know, a lot of people have been trying to migrate companies off of MANMAN." It's a testament to the sticky integration of ERP and the customization capability of MANMAN that it leads the graveyard in the number of times it's been acquired.

Cloud-based ERP is rising, and a half-dozen newer ERP suites like NetSuite, Workday, Plex, and Kenandy are taking the place of classic MPE-based manufacturing IT. For awhile it looked like Microsoft Dynamics was the stable bet to take on some of this mission. Ned Lilly is the CEO of open source ERP software company xTuple, and he wrote about ERP gravesites at his ERP Graveyard website. Lilly pointed at a Diginomica column by Phil Wainewright.

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 may be a migration choice that wouldn't land in a graveyard. Commercial open source demands that some company product-izes the open software, in much the same way that Novell or RedHat turned Linux into an enterprise-worthy solution. Open Bravo is a good example.

As for any Infor strategy that a MANMAN site would want to study, the busy world of Infor acquisitions is covered in an Infor Discovery Guide. The guide runs more than 100 pages and mentions 25 solutions, ranging from CloudSuite to a legacy stalwart like Lawson. Nowhere in those pages is MANMAN itself, apparently because Infor considers there's not much for anyone to discover.

Software like MANMAN still runs on 3000s to steer the business of some manufacturers. Up until this week, the customers paid support bills as if the cost was a parking fee, since their software was 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.