PLATFORMS: Convoy/DM runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT clients and supports the following databases: Oracle, MS-SQL Server, Sybase, Informix and DB2.

PROBLEM SOLVED: IBM Global Services provides software implementation and consulting services. While planning the PeopleSoft implementation for a medical equipment manufacturer, we estimated that manually developing the data conversion and interface programs would take six people about four months. Convoy/DM enabled us to slash the data conversion and interface development costs by 60 percent and cut the time to only six weeks! Naturally, we now use Convoy/DM in all of our PeopleSoft implementations.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Convoy/DM extracts meta data from PeopleSoft and other systems and makes it easy to complete data mapping and define transformation expressions. Using this information, the Convoy/DM Generator automatically creates SQR data conversion programs that move legacy data to PeopleSoft and interface PeopleSoft with other systems. SQR is the popular data transformation and reporting language from SQRIBE Technologies. We were very impressed by the Convoy/DM repository, which provides a wide range of reports and stores meta data, mapping and transformation expressions. A great new Convoy/DM feature which we will use in future projects is the AutoMapper. It automatically maps source fields to target fields based on user- defined criteria such as similar field names, field lengths and data types.

STRENGTHS: Convoy/DM is very easy to learn and use. The SQR generator produces flawless, well documented code, so no editing is required. And it's easy to create custom reports from Convoy/DM's relational database repository. Convoy/DM maintains referential integrity by validating source data against PeopleSoft meta data. This is extremely valuable and virtually eliminates end-user acceptance testing for PeopleSoft meta data.

WEAKNESSES: We would love to see Convoy/DM integrated with Convoy's BASys product. This would allow us to do project tracking with BASys and roll in data conversion time lines from Convoy/DM. We would also like Convoy/DM to be expanded to extract meta data from application databases other than just PeopleSoft.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose Convoy/DM for its easy, intuitive GUI and ability to generate bullet-proof SQR. Convoy/DM uses canned SQR code to extract meta data from PeopleSoft, and it is specifically designed to handle PeopleSoft look-up tables and default field values. This meant we didn't have to manually identify and code the PeopleSoft validations, which saved us a great deal of time.

DELIVERABLES: Convoy/DM produces well-commented, fully functional SQR code. It offers a comprehensive set of delivered reports that we give to our customers during conversion and interface development. The data mapping and transformation expressions are stored in the repository and fully documented in standard reports.

VENDOR SUPPORT: I can't say enough about the support we have received from Convoy. They provided extensive on-site support during our initial product evaluation. The on- site training was thorough and very helpful. Convoy has been very receptive to our suggestions, several of which they incorporated in their latest product release.

DOCUMENTATION: We installed the product without assistance, which is a tribute to the installation documentation. Quite frankly, Convoy/DM is so easy to use that we didn't use the manuals extensively, except for the installation guide. Convoy's comprehensive on-line help was quite useful.

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