Lets Go e! seminar offers tools and stories of Web
In an airport
conference center at the heart of Amsterdam a new version of an old
HP 3000 tradition took place: a meeting of customers to strut
success, with nary a contrary word about market or
The e3000s Commercial Systems Division (CSY)
operates its European business with an independent attitude, and HP
managers there took the liberty to create an old-fashioned brag
session, where customers did most of the talking.
The meetings took place in the Sheraton conference
center of the Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, as central a location as
could be had across European territory. In both rooms a row of
translation booths served to deliver the presentations in five
languages, so customers could speak in their native tongues and
everyone could be understood. Wireless headsets broadcast
simultaneous translations. HP collected $365 per attendee to help
defray the cost; 90 customers and partners attended from 14
Attendees had already taken steps toward Internet
integration. All of the users I spoke with were already doing
some kind of e-something, whether elementary or quite advanced,
said Adager CEO Rene Woc, one of the MPE business partners at the
meeting. Some of them clearly were there to see what others
were doing, a nice user interaction.
It had a lot of the flavor of the good old
days. The emphasis was not on sponsorships, but an exchange of
information with HPs help. Lars Appel and Sally Blackwell
of CSY Europe demonstrated Apache, Samba and Java for attendees in
one hands-on lab session.
The message was realistic in a business sense, too.
The title of my presentation A Hell Ride on the
Road to Paradise? is meant to provoke you, said
Joachim Geffken, the keynote speaker who started the seminar.
Geffken, formerly a board member of Interex and now a management
consultant, said that EDIs promise might be realized because
e-business networks are far wider than their
The momentum of the new e-business world has
been mainly fueled by worldwide availability, he said.
This was, on the other hand, never true for EDI. And what is
happening in the end-user and consumer area was never achievable with
EDI. So theres hope we can get much farther with
Geffken added a word of caution. Even in the
user friendly Web world, we still widely accepted business
transaction standards. And they may become as complicated as EDI
formats turned out to be.
The days premier presentation, delivered to all
attendees, came from Peter Herpich, IT manager for power loom
manufacturer Lindauer-Dornier. The company has opened up a new
communications channel with its worldwide customers, Herpich said,
using the Enhydra Web application server and Java/iX on its HP
Herpich, whos been managing HP 3000s for 21
years, hired an independent consulting group to develop the parts
ordering application. What he learned was that Java expertise
transfers easily to the e3000, and he didnt have to look for
developers trained in both the 3000 and Java.
The consultants, Transparent Solutions, built the
application on an NT system, but it performed slowly there. I
said Im not happy, he reported. I said no problem:
bring it to the HP 3000. HPs Lars Appel assisted
Transparent Solutions, and the Java application was ported to the
e3000 in six hours.
Starting with 90 customers using the Web application,
the company is now serving more than 900. For me it was a
surprise, Herpich said. Its a success. I now have
60 percent of our spare parts orders processed electronically. We
have a new communication channel with the customers. More and more
customers call and say, This is great can you change the
program for me?
Herpich said he has no faith in Microsofts
solutions, adding that a problem with a Microsoft system means
you have to install it new. I dont want to use a
replacement technology for three years, and then have to reinvest
again. He also noted that, you dont need specially
trained HP 3000 people to create new applications on that machine.
The consultants worked on an order system in Java, and brought it to
the HP e3000.
After his presentation, Herpich joked that he sees
the 3000 investment of his company paying off for his staff, too.
I can always tell which of our staff is working with the 3000.
They have a tan in the summer, while the other people do not.
BridgeMaster and insurance
Lumley Insurance Consultants, Ltd. showed off success
using the new BridgeMaster software from Computing Solutions Ltd.
(CSL), an HP e3000 channel partner which sells the Linkway ODBC
solution. Lumley sells insurance products to Ford and Vuxhall auto
dealers in the UK and Europe, as well as Piaggo, BT and Fiat/Alfa
Romeo. Other products include home insurance, travel insurance and
service plans. We cover everything from bikes to boilers,
cookers to cars, said CEO Gerry Rushe. Theyre all
handled differently, but increasingly clients wish to
The HP 3000 application at Lumley has been expanded
by CSL, building on a 20-year old system. BridgeMaster allows the
core applications on the HP e3000 to access data from an NT server
running the SQL Server database. Theres nothing
frightening about adopting NT technology with the HP 3000, said
CSLs Robin Foley. The B2B application developed for Lumley uses
an NT 4 Server in conjunction with data on the HP e3000. If you
find the right partner in the country youre in, you can use the
HP 3000 on the Internet.
Lumleys Rushe said his firm now has an
extranet, and each dealer has it own individual Web site for quoting,
printing and selling insurance within minutes. Customers can use a
shopping basket approach in the experience. By the close of
this year well have 50 percent of our business being transacted
over the Internet, Rushe said, citing elimination of errors and
Its a huge competitive advantage,
he said. Were only just beginning to scratch the surface,
with increased sophistication of our rating models. The
extranet lets Lumley collect 38 different sets of criteria,
which means that our sophistication in pricing, and therefore
the competitiveness, can also move on.
HP representatives at the meeting kept a secondary
profile to customers like Lumley and Lindauer-Dornier. But CSY
Product Marketing Manager Loretta Li-Sevilla made the trek from the
HP 3000 headquarters, telling customers that the 3000 is a rock
solid foundation for an Internet future. With the 3000 as your
platform of choice, that future is unlimited.
CSY Europe Regional Business Manager Alexandra
Wiedenmann said, We will provide you with the products,
technologies to help you move into the e-world. Nothing should stop
you from Lets Go e!