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HP 3000 Visions
for 1999

January, 1999

In 1999 I expect to see two trends (hopefully both will be visible!), one a shrinking, and one a cautious expansion. The shrinking will occur as people who are facing a crunch (either Y2K, or some other crunch) abandon the application running on their 3000, and thereby abandon the machine. The cautious expansion will occur as people realize that the inherent strengths of the 3K allow them to perform their business mission more effectively. This would include vendors who decide to add the 3K to a list of supported systems, as well as customers who move onto an application that is already supported on the 3000.

During 1999 the shrinkage will probably exceed the expansion, but if HP can continue its evangelism and assist more vendors to port applications, the expansion will be able to gather some much-needed momentum. Any platform lives or dies on the available applications, and this is now one of the two most critical resources shortages facing the 3K marketplace.

How can customers maintain ties with the 3000 community — for training and networking — without the high-dollar costs of travel to conferences and classes?

The second critical shortage is trained people. And here the problem is, if anything, more acute. It takes time to develop a 3000 programmer/sysadmin/specialist — and training. And these two commodities are in short supply. We have seen some movement already, from HP, about revamping the training curriculum, and this is an important first step. We need also some expansion of alternative delivery mechanisms. There has been some progress in terms of distance learning, especially the two MPE 6.0 seminars presented by HP Classroom, recently. The technical developments for this are still underway, and it promises to be an exciting field for the future!

There are still signs that one part of HP is not working in a fully co operative way with another — a recent announcement that for ‘only’ $495 you could get a one-day HP seminar on the features of MPE/iX 6.0 left a particularly bitter taste in my mouth. This is the sort of thing that should be done as part of preserving the MPE customer base, and providing opportunities for face-to-face networking.

I don’t think that the need for real-time, in-person interaction will ever go away. What we can do is plan carefully, so that the value of such time can be maximized. This will be a particular challenge for Interex in the coming 12 months.

Tony Furnivall

Chair, SIG MPE


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