How Manufacturing Knowledge Moved Into Legacy

HP 3000 and OpenVMS manufacturing customers will move into independent legacy use during 2020. It can be helpful to understand the steps that led MANMAN sites to the day when no vendor will answer requests for upgrades or support calls.

In essence, there’s inherent value in MANMAN that repeated transfers of ownership have scarcely erased. By this summer, the sites using the ERP package will have right of use for a product that has endured three changes of ownership. The final owner of MANMAN kept up support for nearly 14 years.

Rolling back from the final MANMAN owner, Infor, an $800 million company with offices and customers “including many of the world’s leading process and discrete manufacturers and distribution companies” purchased MANMAN in 2006. Infor was the third largest ERP application provider in the world, just after SAP and Oracle. Yes, the same Oracle that owns Solaris and SunOS has been a longtime ERP vendor. Infor purchased all operations from the previous MANMAN owner, SSA Global, for an eye-popping $1.36 billion.

At the time of that sale, SSA Global was well-known 14 years ago to MANMAN customers. SSA purchased all of the Computer Associates ERP businesses, then turned some heads by telling 3000 sites they didn’t have to migrate off the MANMAN application. The advisory ran in the face of HP’s advice to migrate off MPE/iX. MANMAN sites had to accept the reality that major enhancements were no longer part of using the software.

When Infor arrived in 2006, a brief note from ERP consultant Terri Glendon Lanza on the MANMAN mailing list was titled, “Here we go again,” the sentiment that the MANMAN community felt after being passed from parent to parent, each bigger than the last, over a period of six years. The software went from ASK Computer Systems to Computer Associates to SSA Global to Infor.

Infor’s owners are the Golden Gate Capital group that also owns the e-commerce legacy app Ecometry. There must be some gold in those legacy enterprise customer hills. Being left with an app that passed through four corporations over 25 years, including 14 at the last one, is a healthy legacy.

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