ERP app vendor says users can homestead
MANMAN provider gives 3000 sites option to stay until
the nuts and bolts fall out
Homesteading customers got the first advice from a
major application provider to stay on their HP 3000s last month, when
SSA Global Technologies (SSA-GT) showed that some enterprise-grade
vendors understand why 3000 sites want to avoid costly transition
The option to support you until the nuts and
bolts fall out of your systems was the first one given to
attendees at the Computer Aided Manufacturing Users Society (CAMUS)
meeting in Dallas. SSA-GT also told HP 3000 users they could trade in
their MANMAN ERP suites for another SSA-GT product. But the company
wont offer MANMAN on HP-UX unless it can get 150 customers to
sign five-year On-Going Support contracts for the port by Dec. 31.
SSA-GT purchased the customer base and software
assets of MANMAN during 2002, and the company has taken its time
deciding on the future of the most widely installed ERP application
in the 3000 customer base. Last fall SSA-GT reported it wont be
providing major enhancements to MANMAN for the HP platform. But a
Statement of Direction for the app surfaced at CAMUS which shows a
vendor that can still see revenue coming from its 3000 customers.
Those clients that are not sure of their long
term direction can be assured that we will continue to support their
use of MANMAN/HP past the 2006 deadline for HP support of the MPE
environment, the statement read.
Sue Peyton of SSA-GT told customers at the meeting
that the company is confident in the 3000 communitys ability to
develop its own resources independent of HP.
Everybody is going to have the same kind of
problems that we will have then, if we have those problems,
Peyton said. Support goes past 2006, and I couldnt begin
to tell you what the end date will be. We are committed to supporting
our clients. We didnt say wed stop support. We did say
wed stabilize the code.
SSA-GT will stabilize MANMAN/HP on
Release 12, but it wants to sell software such as the Cognos Business
Intelligence software, and Tradepaqs Enable for Web-enabling,
to the MANMAN customers. The Cognos-based products are called
Jumpstarts, a pre-defined solution that includes reports, a dataset
with consolidated rows of data and categories, and catalogs. SSA
calls such software extension products for MANMAN, an
application thats been in constant use around the world since
SSA-GT will also provide customized support,
through our professional services organization for older
releases of MANMAN. 3000 customers are running enterprises with
releases that go as far back as Version 6 of the app; SSA understands
these customers want to advance the level of product that
The MANMAN community could run as large as 2,500
sites, according to SSA-GTs estimates, making it the largest
group of companies running a packaged application on HP 3000s. SSA-GT
announced an initiative to locate as many of those customers as
possible; company officials havent acknowledged contact with
more than 400 sites in the HP end of the business.
After surveying more than 2,400 MPE customers this
spring, SSA concluded it doesnt have enough interest yet in
HP-UX to proceed with a MANMAN port to HPs Unix platform. The
companys mission lies along the path of less change, according
to CEO Mike Greenough.
ERP systems are like brain surgery never
to be repeated unless the patient is dying, the CEO said in a
keynote speech at CAMUS. Once youve got a system,
theres no reason that system shouldnt be
Manufacturing is the strongest single segment of the
HP 3000 installed base, with thousands of companies having started
using the computer for MRP and then ERP since the 1980s. Such
applications get improved as businesses change processes, but SSA-GT
could only guarantee that a ported MANMAN would arrive in the Unix
environment with the Release 12 functionality. Like most application
vendors, the ISV wants to change as little as possible in the
application if it commits to making a port.
Customers at the conference couldnt see much
point in making a commitment to move their application to another
platform with frozen features.
I cant imagine that anybody would want to
go to another platform, and say they want that same old green
screen, said Carol Hoinski, IT Director for Teleflex Marine,
Inc. Teleflex is homesteading on its HP 3000 and testing the
extension products for SSA-GT.
From a business perspective, CAMUS president Warren
Smith said the best value for HP sites who want to initiate a change
is to avoid the port to Unix, and to move to a package
thats already developed today, with additional features beyond
the HP environment. But my lowest near-term risk of the three options
is to stay right where Im at; the lowest long-term risk is to
stay where Im at, probably through 2010.
SSA-GT said its offering an option that gives
its MANMAN/HP sites free software and basic database conversion if
they take up with another of the SSA ERP products. Smith said that
moving to a Unix MANMAN port SSA-GT has invited MANMAN sites
to put down $25,000 deposits to participate in such a program
looks to him like it represents the lowest net value, because
you freeze the code. The highest ROI I could get would be to stay
where Im at, and pull the plug at some time in the future.