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Alvina Nishimoto
HP Business Critical Systems
Marketing Program Manager


December 2003

Making Choices to Move On

Alvina Nishimoto has been tracking choices for HP 3000 customers a long time. Not anywhere nearly as long as her time at HP; Nishimoto, who’s been in charge of the technical marketing for HP’s 3000 transition programs since 2002, started with Hewlett-Packard as a programmer analyst, straight out of college, in 1978. The first 15 years of her HP service came in the company’s applications development group, improving the Materials Management II and Financial Management apps, But Nishimoto moved out of the labs and into more direct customer contact during the 1990s, becoming the best-informed source of tools for the 3000’s growing interoperability.

Tools remain at the heart of her work with the 3000 customers, a group that has often relied on third parties to provide the means to move data. Now that HP has practiced a few years of advocating movement away from the platform, Nishimoto is often the messenger carrying news of trade-in offers, investment protection plans and stories about companies who choose to step away from the platform. She’s still talking about choices, but now those choices are HP’s alternatives to the 3000.

Nishimoto has been honored by HP and the 3000 community for her work with customers. In 2001 she won the Entrepreneurial/Business Achievement Award from The HP Women’s Conference, one of just four HP female employees so honored that year. With the advent of a new Transition Tools program and the end of HP 3000 system sales, we made a date to talk with Nishimoto at a venue where she’s been a fixture of late: an HP user group conference. We spoke with her at last month’s regional Greater Houston RUG meeting.

What’s the motivation for creating this new Transition Tools program?
Some of it is the customers asked for this, and some of it is that sales ended on Oct. 31, and this is a follow-up program that’s more geared to the transition.

Which kinds of tools qualify for the program? Can other ISVs get their products eligible?
We’re willing to consider that, but we’re going to wait another six months because we went through a Request For Proposal process for this, and that takes a bit of overhead. The main qualification is that you have to have a business relationship or reseller agreement with all four Platinum migration partners.

So customers have to work through a Platinum partner then, to get their free tools?
We issue a coupon to the customer, and the partner verifies that it is a valid coupon. You have to request a tool within 60 days of the purchase of the HP server. You need to have purchased the server, but you don’t need to have received it.

What kinds of spots will be open in another six months for the program? Are you limiting the offers to one tool for each unique position?
We didn’t really go after establishing unique positions for the tools this time. The main criterion was having a relationship with all the Platinum partners.

What are the plans for HP’s North American Transition Center for 2004?
It still exists, and it’s doing programs like this Tools coupon. We continue to meet and evaluate where the customers are. It hasn’t really changed that dramatically, but it concerns all the platforms from HP, not just the 3000.

So there are other HP platforms facing a transition?
Alpha (Tru64 UNIX) is one. We are borrowing a lot of the ideas of Alpha, and they’re borrowing from us. The transition to Itanium (HP Integrity) is another, so we’re borrowing a lot of the ideas we’ve used between the two programs.

What 3000 hardware advice do you have for the company that brings an HP 9000 in on loan and still owns their HP 3000 when the migration is done?
We’re telling people to keep the loaner system because it’s a better box, a newer box.

You mean that if they take their existing N-Class 3000 and turn it into a 9000, they’d have an older HP 9000?
Yes. Some people see it as less risky to keep their 3000 [after the loan] because they do know that it works, and their peripherals are already configured for it. In those cases they do their change overnight. It’s one less variable for them to worry about. But if you have the ability to keep the 9000, we recommend it.

What about the value of what’s left over? The 3000 is worth up to 15 percent of the HP 9000’s purchase price through the trade-in program, right?
That’s true, but if you don’t trade in the 3000, then you have to pay for that 9000 server. That’s the trade-off.

Isn’t the value of the MPE license more significant than the hardware, since there’s not going to be any more PA-RISC MPE licenses issued by HP?
That’s true.

Can a customer get an extension of their HP 9000 loaner if their project starts to run behind schedule?
If you have a conversion kit situation, we give you about three months to get that system back to us. I have considered something we do on a case by case basis: two different back-to-back six month loans of the 9000. We want the first one to be a small one and the second one to be a production one.

Will these loaned HP 9000s ever be Itanium-based systems?
Yes. Some of the newer ones just aren’t available because of supply.

And the newest midrange servers just announced in the Integrity line?
Those are going to be a lot harder to get now. You have to let that dust settle a bit.

How’s the response added up for the Investment Protection Program since HP World?
We’ve had some response, but it’s still pretty low. That’s why I keep mentioning it. Some people have registered, and they have until January 31. There’s only so long we can keep track of these things. They have to take the liability on these system discounts in advance.

SIG-Migrate members believe that the information about migration options is pretty scattered, and they’ve proposed setting up an independent Web site to offer information. Is there a comprehensive Web site already up and running to help educate customers?
That certainly makes sense. We tried to do that kind of Web page with our Quick Reference Guide. [Ed. Note: The page is at www.hp.com/products1/evolution/e3000/programs/quick_ref.html.] If the SIG has suggestions on how to update the Quick Reference Guide, I’ll certainly adjust that. That was the intention on the Quick Reference Guide, because the information was pretty scattered.

What are the plans for the Platinum Migration partner program for next year?
The tools promotion is the big thing. That’s why we put it together, to have something with the Platinum partners. We’ll continue to do things like present at RUG meetings, but there are concerns about attendance. If we’re starting to get low attendance, it’s hard for the Platinum partners to justify traveling. I don’t have real good visibility right now, because we get our budgets quarter by quarter.

Do you believe the business-level executives in HP 3000 customer sites have been reached by HP’s migration initiatives so far?
At least 25 percent of our contacts in our database are at the CIO level, and we do call them. But it’s hard, because they have plenty of other responsibilities, and they tend to delegate that part of it to somebody else. There’s only so much we can do.

Do you think if you got to more of those business contacts, you could get more people moving in a transition?
To be very frank, it appears there are a fair number that are already moving, or at least are planning. I’m not quite as concerned, I guess. We were surprised at the number of people who called us back and said “I’ve been off the 3000 now a good five or six years.” For our top customers we taking another look, and making sure we reach out to them, one more pass from the CSY group. It takes a bit.

What’s the latest a customer can take delivery of an HP 3000 they had quoted by Oct. 31?
The latest they can take delivery is January 31, 2004, but we’re not really encouraging that.

Is that because of what you said this morning, that some of the 3000 system parts are in short supply?
That’s the concern. We’ll have to see when the dust all settles, because there are a lot of quotes outstanding now.

But don’t the available HP 9000 rp7400 systems help HP make up those parts shortages? Aren’t these the same systems underneath?
The parts problem is that we’re using the same chassis supply that the 9000 folks are using. We’re actually trying to balance more than our [3000 N-Class] needs. HP needs to keep parts on hand for the 9000s for service needs.

Are customer sites starting to warm to the idea of app migration instead of app replacement?
We’re getting a little bit of that. People have looked at the replacement applications and realized that it’s not going to meet their needs, or it’s just going to be way too big a project to replace. We’ve seen that in a few customers. But a lot of other customers just want to move on, and so they look at off- the-shelf applications. They tells us that this is a great time to re-evaluate their processes, to fix those weird encoded part numbers.

Will you try to guess what the size of the 3000 installed base is?
I can’t do that. I know the answer to the question, but we just don’t talk about it. We have an idea, but it’s less than people think. It’s based on when we call, and hear these customers have been off the platform for five or six years.

Doesn’t that declining size of customer base start to work against you in offering programs to 3000 customers?
It’s part of HP’s umbrella of keeping our whole installed base. It’s not viewed as a 3000 program, it’s viewed also as a 9000 program and an Alpha program. We created the 9000 Quick Reference Guide, for example, based on our HP 3000 Guide.

For the 9000 customers, is their transition issue simply when do they go to the Itanium-based models?
And it’s also getting off HP-UX 10.20 which is no longer supported. Some of that 9000 hardware that might be running 10.20 is also not supported or won’t be shortly.

What size of company has been most likely to engage with HP in a migration so far? Typically a bigger company than small to mid-size?
From an HP Consulting point of view, large companies are typically who they service. From a Migration Center and Transition Program view, we’re all over the map. We get a lot of feedback from Summit and Amisys on things like the loaner program, where we ironed out a lot of the kinks.

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