Resources for 3000 ERP
wants to offer HP 3000 ERP sites a backstop for their past and a
target for their future. The general manager of Speedware
Corporations latest operating group, OpenERP Solutions, Lyon
says the company which purchased the eXegeSys customers, developers
and support staff in late August intends to let sites remain on their
HP 3000s as long as theres any profit left in supporting the
eXegeSys eRP application, which was once HPs MM and FM MRP
eXegeSys sold off
its applications and customers recently, and OpenERP wants to do more
than maintain the 3000 customers who cant move away from the
platform. The company will also help companies migrate their systems
to non-3000 platforms, as well as sell the OpenERP application to the
sites that want to replace rather than migrate. The alliance built
between eXegeSys and the Support Group, inc. remains in place, to
give MANMAN sites another option for any migration in the
off in aerospace designing ERP systems, then joined Westinghouse to
work as a development engineer and moved to IT at a repetitive
manufacturing shop driven by an HP 3000. He then became an
independent IT consultant and contractor in Western Pennsylvania, an
area rife with small manufacturing companies. We wanted to know how
his software company can make 3000 support add up today, when ERP
firms like SSA Global have developed a taste for consolidating 3000
sites like those MANMAN users. We spoke by phone during the week just
after the $1.85 million acquisition was announced.
How are you going to balance the diverse
needs of the HP 3000 customers using the eRP application: those who
need to migrate versus those who want to homestead?
For customers who want to stay, thats great. Well
support them as long it makes sense to support them, and that will be
as long as were making any kind of profit on that. They are
happy with what they have. We have customers using the eAM [asset
management] product in ways that we never thought they
We also have customers who are interested in leaving the
3000, but they have hundreds of thousands of lines of home-grown
COBOL, SPL and Pascal that theyve written around eXegeSys eRP.
Until this point, that would have been a very difficult rewrite. But
Speedware has wonderful migration tools, so OpenERP Solutions can
handle the migration to a more open platform.
Finally, we also have people who are looking to go all-open.
They want open databases and open architecture, Windows clients and
Macintosh clients, Linux clients, AIX and HP-UX clients. And the neat
thing about our OpenERP product is that it will support all of that.
Its completely platform indifferent when it comes to both
client and server.
Speedwares new division hope to improve the life of the 3000
site that is using eRP?
Not only are we experts in OpenERP, but were experts in
eXegeSys. We are mapping data back and forth with Speedwares
DBMotion and Eloquence.
What assets have you acquired from eXegeSys to
become experts in eRP?
Weve taken over the 3000 line from them, the technical
and support staff for eRP 3000, and the eAM line. eXegeSys Inc. kept
behind the developers that are working on the eXist Anywhere
platform, and the eXegete Client. We have support people, we have the
developers, we have the sales and marketing staff, and their
professional services people in our office right now. We did not
assume we could look at 18 million lines of source code in a couple
of weeks and get it down pat.
Did you have to set up an office or move
Our Enterprise Computer Systems office in Salt Lake City is
about five miles away from eXegeSys, so we grabbed a couple of U-Haul
trucks and moved everyone over and so Day One was a productive
day for these guys.
Why were you looking at eXegeSys in
We look for all kinds of ERP companies. The fact that
eXegeSys was on the 3000 was great for our Speedware Ltd. division.
We know that market space very well.
We feel that we have a relatively unique opportunity here. We
have great new technology for ERP customers. We can help them
migrate, or were among the dwindling list of vendors who will
support the 3000 as it sits.
Are you looking at the entry into the 3000 ERP
space as a way to purchase migration opportunities, or to help the
customers maintain what theyre running?
What were trying to get across to the customers is that
were certainly not going to discontinue support for the eRP
3000 application because we want to push them someplace else. If
theyre happy there, were happy to keep them there. If
they need a long-winded migration solution, then before wed
even touch the ERP solution wed bring in Speedware.
I hate to use the S-word, but were very synergetic over
here, with Speedware. Because of that we can come together seamlessly
to help a customer move off in the manner they want to if they
want to and on the timeline they want to.
Did you also take on the re-engineered versions of
the eXegeSys products, those written for non-3000
Yes. There are two technology pushes at eXegeSys where we
acquired the assets. The most interesting one was the eRP/mp and eAM
platform. ExegeSys ported that to their own environment, eXist
Anywhere, and we do have eAM NG [Next Generation] and we have active
contracts for that and are installing it today.
The second technology push was what eXegeSys was calling
Bridgework, a port of the MPE ERP solution to more open platforms.
Thats a work in progress. Were evaluating that, and the
amount of time its going to take to finish that. Were
evaluating the customer bases need to take the technology from
eRP and apply it to an open platform.
Whats the alternative to finishing that
Going towards a truly open platform, such as OpenERP.
Regardless of what our evaluation is, that [open platform eRP
project] remains a work in progress.
So will you be offering an open platform solution
based on that eXegeSys work?
Well, we offer a solution today. OpenERP is a solution for
the overwhelming majority of our customer base. We licensed OpenERP
from another vendor.
Your support for clients and servers is pretty
broad enough to include OS/X. Why include a Macintosh
We strive to find whatever niche and monopoly we can, and
OS/X is certainly one of them. Our OpenERP solution can natively
support OS/X, both as a client and a server. In fact, my development
box is a Macintosh.
Whats not a surprise is where they show up. We come
across mom-and-pop firms that have grown up, and because they started
without an IT department, they purchased Macs, because theyre
almost self-healing and self-managing. When they become a
20-40-person shop, theyre using Terminal Services and trying to
get Windows applications to run, and there are very few ERP
applications native to the Mac.
What is left behind at eXegeSys thats
important to supporting your ERP solutions for 3000
ExegeSys will support us with the eXist Anywhere environment.
Our eAM next-generation product is written to eXist Anywhere, and
eXegeSys will continue that technology, and we have a license to use
and to purchase it and resell it from and for eXegeSys.
Whats the customer base telling you about
what it wants to do?
Weve finished touching our customer base in the US.
Were getting equal traction on all three options. Its
about a third and a third and a third: The customers who want to move
to something completely open, those who have a lot of homegrown code
and want to migrate, and customers who are happy with what they have
and dont want make a change.
What case do you build for letting those customers
stay on the 3000 if they want to do so?
When you take a look at the entire Speedware Corp. holdings,
and specifically at Speedware Ltd., we are not as technology-focused
as we are customer-focused. We dont have a technology bias. We
look at Java, .NET, the iSeries AS/400, and see that technology is a
means, not an end.
You support the iSeries with your ERP
Yes, on the server. If you look at the iSeries, you can see that IBM
has absolutely committed to not end of life-ing that platform anytime
soon. Its as sticky as the HP 3000 is with customers. The
AS/400 might even be stickier; people get them and do not want to
So youre creating an opportunity for the HP
3000 customer who might want to leave their platform for ERP on the
[Laughs] Youve obviously bugged our offices.
But were not just providing a migration solution.
Were doing a couple of things. The first day I talked to my new
employees [from eXegeSys], I talked about the word legacy how
I hated that word because of the connotation of old and dusty. Legacy
systems are crucial systems. There are these customer bases that have
been largely ignored by Microsoft, lets say, because the
migration away from them is a significant effort. We intend to make
that migration as painless as possible if they want to do
that. I want to reiterate that.
SSA Global has done a lot of acquiring in ERP over
the last two years. Now theyre advising their customers to move
to a common solution. What assurance do you give your customers that
will not happen?
Thats not us. That is the classic technology bias. You can see
that theyre buying customer bases and generating a lot of
professional services to get these customers over to a single
Over the course of the last couple of days weve talked
to customers who say, Yeah, I know what comes next. Youre
going to end-of-life my HP 3000 platform. We tell that
were not going to do that it would not make you a happy
The eXegeSys product was developed around the idea that
its heavily customizable. The level of developer effort
required to maintain it on the 3000 platform is very little. The
majority of the difficult business logic was developed by the
customers. I have no interest to take my customer base and shake it
to see what falls out. I can make money and do well within that small
profit center if I keep them happy.
What will you recommend to the 3000 customers who
want to continue with their ERP products beyond 2006, and will need
to make a decision about system support?
Right now were reselling HPs hardware and
software support for these customers, but Im sure you have a
list as long as your arm of third party vendors who are very eager to
take over that support. We all know the 3000 isnt going
anywhere. It works too well, and the customers are too happy with the