Terry Floyd has built a past and proposed a future
around 3000 manufacturing. The founder of ERP integrator and
consultancy the Support Group inc., Floyd is marking 25 years of
experience with the system this year, and making plans for far more.
He cut his professional teeth when IMAGE was new on the 2100A, the
precursor to the HP 3000. Floyd began his career as an MIS manager in
1974, but within seven years he was working at ASK Computer Systems,
the creators of the MANMAN MRP application suite. He came up through
the MIS manager ranks using MANMAN at a Texas manufacturing company,
using background in math, science and accounting as well as
experience with FORTRAN. In the 1980s, Floyd was managing the
southern region of the ASK technical force after having learned
it the hard way, since ASK didnt have any training
classes. It meant Floyd learned the massive application from the
internals out, and gave him a grounding in it that only its
development staff could match. His years of work as regional
technical manager for ASK gave him a developers knowledge of
the software and basis to create his first company, Blanket
Resources, and an EDI application after he left ASK. That first
company was named after the small Texas town where Floyd grew up,
riding and roping calves on a ranch.
Floyd has been a vital part of the e3000s
manufacturing user community ever since those days in the early
1980s. He served as program chairman for the 1982 Interex North
American conference, and founded the first ASK Users Group in 1979. A
few years later he helped found the Interex ASK Special Interest
Group (SIG-ASK), which operated until ASK started the ASKUS user
group. Floyd launched SIG-MANMAN in 1994 after ASK sold out to
Computer Associates dark times for the MANMAN applications,
when strong advocacy was needed to push for enhancements and
attention from the giant CA organization.
His current five-year-old enterprise is built around his
companys intimate knowledge of the HP e3000 environment and ERP
solutions, especially MANMAN. The Support Group offers MANMAN sites
an additional line of support for their applications, as well as
consulting and integration of the many add-on packages for the suite.
But in the last two years the Support Group has helped give birth to
a new ERP solution for the e3000, the 40-plus modules that make up
the Industrial and Financial Systems (IFS) applications. The IFS
solution is based on Oracle, rather than IMAGE, since the programs
run on many other platforms in addition to the e3000. This has put
Floyd on the front line for bringing Oracle8 to the e3000, advocacy
hes only recently begun.
Between being a crusading gadfly for MANMANs
vitality, and pushing HP and Oracle back into an e3000 development
plan, Floyd is working with plenty of opinion and passion for ERP
customers on the platform. As he headed to the annual IFS conference
with several prospects from the e3000 world in tow, we asked him
where the platforms manufacturing is headed, and how it might
play a bigger role in the systems renaissance.
Whats happening to manufacturing choices for the
HP e3000 customer?
Its slowly moving. Theres not a lot of
enhancements in MANMAN since 1985 that were addressing the
fundamental problems with it. ASK was interested in replacing MANMAN
in the early 1990s with a product called Advance that killed their
company, and CA bought what was left. I wrote an article for my own
newsletter last December which attempted to be critical enough to get
someone to invest more in the new releases of MANMAN. The last
releases havent done much in the way of addressing the 1,500
open enhancement requests that ASKUS left on the table when they quit
working on enhancements.
Every year there was a new set of people at CA who said
Were going to do this, and the next year they were
gone and new set of people said Were gonna do that
and this and that never happened. Perhaps something is going
to happen in Release 12 now. It seems like theres a lot of
activity to provide real functional improvements in that release.
Whats your view of the other choices for e3000
has become eXegeSys eRP, and both MANMAN and MM are IMAGE-based
products. Its kind of hard to convince new customers to move to
a platform that is conceived of as being as proprietary as MPE with
the IMAGE database on it.
the HP 3000 still a system that can carry an ERP solution into a site
as a new 3000 sale?
Im positive that it can. Its happened
rarely, I suppose but the eXegeSys people are bringing a few.
MANMAN in the last five years has sold some new sites, but Im
aware of one I worked on last year that bought it. They were already
HP 3000 fanatics. If you have people who are pro-MPE, theyre
looking for some solution. Its being perceived as being a
sideways move to go from MANMAN to eRP from eXegeSys, or from
GrowthPower to MANMAN. There are three or four packages that run on
the HP 3000, and many people think of them as being old.
Can manufacturing can play the same kind of role
Smith-Gardner or HBOC software plays: bringing new customers to the
be able to do that, youd have to have an application that was
stellar and that only ran on an HP 3000. I dont know where
thats going to be coming from. Your answer for that is eXegeSys
right now. I hope theyre attracting people with their product
and its wonderful enhancements. I fear that CA is not doing much to
attract people to the HP 3000, or that they very much care about the
You said people think of these applications as old. Do you
think the 3000 is being perceived as old?
Yes. Ive talked to so many people who think that
its an old machine. And when you tell them its physically
the same hardware an a 9000, and do you think a 9000 is old, they say
Oh no, we think thats state of the art. Its
the same box. People outside of our readership here think of it as
way Im heading is to bring a new, modern ERP package to the HP
3000. We are doing that with the IFS ERP package, which we are now
marketing. We did the port, and theres not actually a lot of
port there. When Im out there talking to non-MANMAN customers
about IFS on a 3000, if Im talking to a GrowthPower user who
likes the 3000, they are extremely interested in IFS running on a
3000. If Im talking to someone out there who has never heard of
an HP 3000, and they are talking about running Oracle, they are much
more interested in NT or HP-UX. They dont understand the things
we do about how robust and easy to run MPE is, and how IFS
will really be more robust and easier to support on HP 3000s.
Thats kind of a hard sale were still working on.
What does IFS offer thats 100 percent unique for the
MPE/iX marketplace not duplicated in another e3000 ERP
Its very simple: a relational database system, and
all of the things that are around the edge of a relational database
system. IFS is, as far as I know, the only relational database ERP
system for the e3000 on the market. Its the obvious reason why
there are not more ERP packages running on the HP 3000 other than the
four or five ones that have been there forever.
we go back and quote the slides from the 1994 All-Texas RUG
conference and a speech by [HPs] Dave Wilde, he had a slide
with HP 3000 New Applications. On this was a list of
companies we all wish had new software on the HP 3000: Datalogix,
Delta, SAP, PeopleSoft, MANMAN/X, Oracle Applications, Baan,
Progress, QAD, Filenet, Ross and many more. None of them were
available on the 3000 then, and they never were. What happened? I
look at what Ive done here, and I wonder how to get Oracle8 on
the HP 3000 without paying for the port myself.
you need an Oracle8 port to the HP 3000 to continue offering IFS to
Yes. IFS runs on Oracle, therefore it runs on some 90
different platforms. When I go to talk to someone about keeping them
on an HP 3000 and I talk about IFS, I have to say, Oh by the
way, IFS currently uses all the features in Oracle 7. And
Oracle8 has been out for a couple of years now. IFS in their newest
release does not take any advantage of anything in Oracle8, so I have
no problem with the latest version of IFS running on the current
release Oracle 7. But when I get to the next release, Im told
that some of the features of Oracle8 may be used. So I will be forced
to investigate how to turn an HP 3000 into a 9000, so I can get IFS
running on Unix since I may not have Oracle8.
know I have to work on Oracle for this port as well. I hear the
reasons that Oracle 7 has failed to gain the market share hoped for
in 1994 was that Oracle really wasnt too involved in the port.
Oracle has never really had much interest in helping the cause of the
What roadblocks do you see in getting IFS accepted in the
3000 manufacturing community?
The questionable future of Oracle on the 3000 is the only
one I know of. I can see us not needing Oracle8 until maybe the end
of 2001 or the beginning of 2002. We will be working to see what the
problems are related to making that version run on Oracle 7. But
since I assumed Id have IA-64 HP 3000s by 2002 or 2003, and
IA-64 seems to guarantee Ill have Oracle8 back again, I thought
I wouldnt have to worry much about it. Now IA-64 seems to have
been pushed out further than that, and I do have a gap in here where
I probably need Oracle8. Ill see the plans for the next IFS
release at the IFS conference.
what do you think would motivate HP to do the next port of
Theyve told me, show me the market and
well do it. Ive pretty much done that, I think. I
have quite a list of people now who are interested in moving from
MANMAN to IFS and staying on an 3000.
Where are you on the acceptance curve for IFS in the 3000
market? Are prospects looking over the software today?
Absolutely. Were about to close some deals. By the
time this goes to print, well probably have our first
customers. Theres a ton of interest, at least 100 sites
weve identified right now that want to leave MANMAN. We
didnt talk them into that; we dont want to talk them into
that, but thats what they have already decided. They are
leaving MANMAN and theres nothing anybody can do about that.
there a compelling reason to move away from MANMAN today?
Not really, in my opinion. In the long run, the reason to
leave MANMAN will be the ease of interface to new subsystems and
modules that fit around the edge of MANMAN. Some of the things that
are going on now in HP to make it easier to interface are good. But
still, its not the HP interface that makes it difficult to
interface to MANMAN its the internals of MANMAN and how
the database is designed. Not the technology provided by MPE and
IMAGE; the bad things about MANMAN have nothing to do with IMAGE and
MPE. They have to do with programming techniques that were used by
programmers in the 1980s on MANMAN. Other more modern packages have
that kind of mish-mash. When I look under IFS, I dont see that
mish-mash. I see a consistency thats compelling.
Why have those hundred companies told you they want to
think its a technology thing, mostly concerning DBMS and GUI.
Its ease of use and training: computer-based training,
long-distance learning, online help thats context sensitive,
the ability to train new users on MANMAN is not easy or intuitive.
What kind of application lifespan do you expect MANMAN
sites can hope for when planning for their ERP needs?
depends on their own internal expertise. The more self-sufficiency we
find in our user base the ability to handle LANs, networks,
Microsoft and Novell-centric things helps them with the
ability to interface things to MANMAN. The little shops have a lot
more struggle than the big shops in keeping MANMAN. Tiny companies
that are happy with MANMAN are using only the financials parts of the
system not the MRP or Master Production Scheduling or capacity
You can stay on MANMAN, or you can go. If you stay on
MANMAN, you have to invest in adding things around the edges of
MANMAN yourself. If you go, its because you want to get access
to the other things that MANMAN does not have yet, like a Product
Data Management system. Its an engineering kind of tool that
allows you to pass drawings around. People want a user-friendly front
end on MANMAN that allows them to show a picture of a part when they
list a part in the system. CA is working on Web enabling and adding
front ends to MANMAN, but at the rate theyre going, it will be
ready by 2006. Other third parties are working on adding things
around the edges of MANMAN, but if you buy a new system like IFS,
things like PDM are included. Thats not something you can
easily add to MANMAN.
Can you make the case to HP that IFS can leverage a new
think we can, after we demonstrate. In a few weeks well be in
the process of installing IFS on HP 3000s at existing MANMAN sites
and begin doing conversions. I predict that by the end of 2000
well certainly have a great story to tell about why you should
buy IFS and implement it on an HP 3000 instead of NT or HP-UX. It
will take a large company to see the advantage of the HP 3000.
Its these references well be able to show people who have
never heard of an HP e3000 that will show why they want an HP 3000
Why did the Special Interest Group of Interex change from
SIG MANMAN/Choices to SIG-ERP?
The attendance at the meetings fell off. The reason to
have a SIG meeting at Interex was because you had an advocacy issue.
Last year there were five or six MANMAN users in a room of 50 people,
surrounded by vendors, HP personnel, Interex personnel, other people
with other packages wondering what was going on with MANMAN. For the
last three years half the presentations we offered were alternatives
to MANMAN. SIG-ERP includes a vocal group of MANMAN users on its
board, and they are determined that SIG-ERP include a forum for
MANMAN users to have discussions at HP World conferences. Maybe there
will be more interest now that weve threatened to take away
How effective is CAMUS, and what do you think needs to
change about it?
the users of MANMAN want to talk about MANMAN, they should be
involved with the CAMUS users group. ASKUS changed their name to
CAMUS, the Computer Applications Manufacturing User Society.
Theyve become more independent [of CA], and
Ive thrown my weight behind CAMUS. Im trying to convince
CAMUS they have interest in attracting users who are not on CA
support, and who are on older releases of MANMAN.
CAMUS has an excellent meeting. This years will be
in Boston in August. Thats the place I look to lobby for change
at CA for future releases. Its the best place to talk to
someone about support for older releases of MANMAN, which CA now
supports. Its the best place to talk to other users who are
using MANMAN. CAMUS fills the role we started with SIG ASK.
What kind of guidelines should an IT manager or VP look at
to decide whether to enhance an existing ERP solution or move a new
lot of it has to do with how much of their budget they want to spend.
Its amazing that weve got MANMAN customers that have been
on it for 15 years, its paid for, and theyre investing
very little in it a class of companies spending 0.2 percent of
annual revenue on IT. Those people who continue to wring every ounce
of revenue out of the 3000 will stay on MANMAN.
Companies spending 2-5 percent of revenue are the ones who
recognize that information technology can change how their company
works, and help them defeat their competitors. Somewhere between 0.2
percent and 5 percent is a happy medium, where people can enhance
MANMAN and its use. Or they could spend that much money over a
five-year period to replace MANMAN, and go to a new system.
With the future ASP movement of being able to outsource
everything, people think theyll be able to cut their budgets in
IT. Im questioning that in the short run here. Perhaps a few
years from now, all of that will be reasonable. In the short run, the
expertise you gain by having people on your site who understand your
system and are able to modify it, enhance it, and produce reports as
needed, interface it to other foreign systems is a great advantage
that you dont want to give up. Self-sufficiency in that area
would be my recommendation.
the fact that youve built your own building an indicator of how
healthy the 3000 manufacturing business is?
Weve moved through two different sets of offices
since we started five or six years ago. Were proud of having
built our own office building at Lake Travis now. It really has
changed the attitude of the people who work here. Were doing
really well as far as being the last one standing in the MANMAN
space. Were still extremely MANMAN oriented, and will be for
the next 10 years.
How do you think your MANMAN experience helps in promoting
a future manufacturing solution like IFS?
changes the P in ERP to an M, so its Enterprise Resource
Management. The new systems emphasize execution of the plan. Im
trying to do anything I can do to convince people to stay on HP
3000s. People are going to be leaving MANMAN. We dont try to
convince people to do that, but we want to participate if they do.
IFS has been able to maintain the feel of a small company, like ASK
Computer Systems was in the beginning. We just want to continue a
tradition of friendly service.