Reprinted from December 2002
Slim majority of customers choose to homestead or study
First of two parts
One year after HP announced its plans to leave the HP 3000, a little more than half of its customers are either still studying their response to the news or choosing to homestead on the platform, according to a 3000 NewsWire poll.
The survey, conducted on the one-year anniversary of HP’s November 2001 announcement that it’s exiting the 3000 marketplace by 2007, showed one-third of companies responding have already chosen to homestead some or all of their 3000 operations beyond the December, 2006 HP end of support date. Nearly one in five companies are still studying their options in response to HP’s 2001 announcement.
The poll was conducted via e-mail messages broadcast to 500 HP 3000 customers selected randomly on November 13. Companies responding totaled 116, for a 23 percent response rate. Customers identified their firms by name, and no anonymous, Web-based replies were used in the poll’s results.
The margin was close between those sites staying with the platform and still studying options, versus companies choosing to leave the 3000 at some point over the next four years. While 52 percent of firms aren’t deciding to leave this year, 48 percent of companies responding to the NewsWire poll report they have begun plans to rewrite programs, replace applications, or follow their packaged app providers onto other platforms.
Homesteaders — those customers sticking with the 3000 beyond 2006 — came in at 34 percent of companies responding to the poll. Of the companies reporting they are planning to leave the 3000 through migration or replacement, 23 percent are following their packaged application vendors. Amisys healthcare customers led the list of those planning to make a move away from the 3000, followed by educational organizations using various applications.
Companies responded over the two-week period following the Nov. 14 anniversary of the HP announcement. Even among those choosing to leave the platform, sentiment about the move ran to regret and disappointment. A few responding firms had already committed to leaving their 3000s before HP’s advice was announced last year.
The poll’s results showed a stark contrast to the HP claims of April, when the vendor said that more than 80 percent of customers would be leaving the platform. HP has recently begun to recognize that a significant part of its customer base cannot justify the expense of migrating from the HP 3000, even in the face of an end to HP’s support. (See our Q&A in this issue with HP's Dave Wilde for statements on HP’s plans to accommodate its homesteading customers.)
Undecided customers on the fence about their plans reported timelines to decide ranging from weeks to years. John Pickering, a consultant serving a North American firm manufacturing wood products, said a recent migration from IBM SAP mainframes to a PowerHouse application on a 3000 has left his client with little budget or time to do anything about its 3000 during 2003.
“We have no real need to do anything yet,” Pickering said, “as we’ve still got several years and [the 3000] is currently meeting our needs just fine.”
Others still looking over their options say HP won’t be winning any new business if they decide to leave the 3000. “If we do migrate it will quite possibly be to a totally non-HP platform,” said Frank Nikoletti of Argyle Diamonds in Australia. “I think that this is where HP got it horribly wrong, because they expected to retain many customers by moving them to other HP platforms — and I don’t think that is what customers will end up doing.”
Nikoletti and others looking at migration are aware that new options are surfacing steadily, however. The company’s diamond sales and sorting application “is our competitive advantage over all other diamond producers, and there is no other comparable product,” he explained, making a sound business transition option difficult. New migration suppliers offer some hope.
“Just in the last three months there have been a number of offerings in the migration market,” he said. “It will be interesting to see who is still there in a year’s time, and also what other new ones arise.”
IBM is getting attention from both companies electing to migrate and those still considering a plan. One such poll respondent said HP’s announcement disrupted IT operations that were running smoothly.
“We may migrate to the IBM iSeries,” said Bob Bonnaci of Leader Services, a school district IT service supplier. “For what it’s worth, we are very disappointed in HP’s decision to do this, and had absolutely no plans to migrate from the platform prior to the announcement.”
Others still deciding have ruled out homesteading as an option. At the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Charles Benil said the organization will follow its application provider off the 3000 as well as rewrite in-house MPE surround apps to migrate its programs.
A stalled economy has many companies predicting a long timeline for making a decision or moving away from the 3000. “We will follow our application provider to an NT environment when it’s cost-justifiable,” said Debra Gauger of the City of Oskosh, Wisc., which is still studying a plan for its internal apps.
Few respondents asked for anonymity with their replies. But one who did said his health organization has already been disappointed by the capabilities of a replacement package.
“We had decided to migrate the business on the HP 3000, as well as on our IBM mainframe systems, to a new vendor purchased product,” said the IT manager. “This plan appears to be in serious trouble, due to system capabilities of that vendor’s product.."