BACKGROUND: Annett Holdings, Inc., is the nation's largest privately held flatbed truck carrier and has four regional carriers located throughout the eastern half of the U.S.

PLATFORMS: Convoy/DM runs on Windows 95, 98, and Windows NT clients and supports the following databases: Oracle, MS SQL Server, Sybase, Informix, DB2 (RS6000, AS/400, S/390) on the following operating environments: NT, UNIX, MVS. In addition to the above, it can support conversions and interfaces between data structures that include IMS, DB2, IDMS, VSAM and QSAM.

PROBLEM SOLVED: When Annett Holdings, Inc. decided to replace its aging financial, human resources and operations systems, the threat of Y2K problems made it imperative that they get the job done quickly. The company's regional carriers sought leading-edge automated tools to expedite the process. The data conversion and interface development phases were 40-50 percent of the whole project, offering the best hope of saving time. Since Annett Holdings planned to implement a mix of PeopleSoft and other new systems, the first challenge was to find a data conversion tool tailored to PeopleSoft that would also work well with the other systems. Annett Holding's cost-benefit analysis included tests that proved that Convoy/DM was substantially faster than manual coding, and not only could it handle the PeopleSoft conversion and interface development, it could be used to convert more than 40 ISAM files to a non-PeopleSoft application platform.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Convoy/DM extracts meta data from PeopleSoft and other business applications and makes it easy to complete data mapping and define transformation expressions. Convoy/DM's SQR generator produces such flawless, well-documented code, that the need for editing and testing was eliminated, saving us even more time. Using Convoy helped us learn PeopleSoft and its functions. The validation routines generated by Convoy/DM helped us understand what needed to go where. Learning the PeopleSoft structure would have been a major challenge without Convoy/DM.

STRENGTHS: Convoy/DM is very easy to learn and use, and the PeopleSoft-specific field validations and data integrity built into Convoy/DM enabled us to feel confident in the validity of the data after conversion. Convoy drastically reduced our PeopleSoft implementation time and was equally effective in the non-PeopleSoft conversion efforts, saving us several months of coding and testing time. Without Convoy/DM, we would have had to write or modify a program for every single file we converted.

WEAKNESSES: Occasionally a validation routine would assume that a child table would have a key field that was contained in the parent table; when this was not the case, the validation routines would fail to validate a correct value. We are told by Convoy that this validation issue will be addressed in the next version of the product, soon to be released.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Convoy's PeopleSoft focus made it the obvious choice for our PeopleSoft conversion and interfaces, and Convoy/DM was highly recommended by our PeopleSoft account manager. In addition, the product's ability to automatically incorporate PeopleSoft table structures, edits and required field values made it a perfect fit for the PeopleSoft data migration. The big question was whether it could also produce results in a non-PeopleSoft environment. Our cost/benefit analysis and testing proved to us that Convoy was the fastest for both types of conversions. There was no other tool tested that could do it all.

DELIVERABLES: Convoy/DM produces well-documented, fully functional SQR code, and it handles interfaces just as well as it handles data conversions. The data mapping and transformation expressions are stored in the repository and fully documented in standard reports.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Convoy's support staff is knowledgeable and easily accessible via both e-mail and phone, and the response time is very good. In fact, the product was so easy to learn and use that we only required their help when we encountered initial bugs that were due to the fact that we were the first Convoy customer to implement on SQL Server 6.5. The problems were resolved by Convoy's support staff.

DOCUMENTATION: We found Convoy/DM to be very easy to use. It's intuitive GUI and comprehensive on-line help made using the manuals, except for the installation documentation, almost irrelevant.

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