BACKGROUND: Cummins Brazil provides manufacturing, sales and support services in Latin America (excluding Mexico) for Cummins Engine Company, a $6 billion manufacturer of diesel engines and related products. The company's engines, which range from 64 to 6000 horsepower, can be found in a wide range of vehicles and industrial equipment, including trucks, buses and power generators. Cummins Brazil employs approximately 750 people.

PLATFORMS: IBM mainframes and Oracle Applications release 11 running on Sun Enterprise 4500 and 450 servers with Sun Solaris 2.6.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Cummins Brazil recently migrated critical business applications including inventory, planning and bills of material from legacy systems to a Web-based system built around Oracle Applications. The process of moving large files, plus extensive records on hundreds of suppliers, from familiar legacy systems to Oracle Applications presented a number of challenges. First, we had limited time and resources ­ only four business analysts and no SQL programmers ­ to complete the project. Second, no one had prior experience with Oracle Applications, so we would have to invest substantial effort into learning about the targeted applications before any work could begin. Not only would this delay implementation, but it could also disrupt end-user services because it was likely that some files would be loaded incorrectly into Oracle Applications.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SmartDB Workbench is a graphical, easy-to-use solution that allows us to complete complex data transfers without writing and compiling program code. Rapid conversion of files is supported by a graphical interface that simplifies mapping and transforming data into Oracle. With SmartDB Workbench, we can establish a set of validation rules to ensure that stored data is compatible with the target applications ­ and initiating the transfer requires only the click of a button. Interactive testing features within SmartDB Workbench validate the accuracy of transfers before committing them to Oracle. Once data loads are completed, templates can be saved, reused or modified to meet future transfer requirements.

STRENGTHS: The initial migration of thousands of records was completed successfully by one person in less than two days ­ an outstanding accomplishment. Without SmartDB, this same task would have taken weeks and the involvement of at least two employees. Because SmartDB hid the complexity of moving data to Oracle Applications, we began work right away and stayed focused on delivering applications to end users. In a very short time, we successfully completed multiple data conversions without writing a single line of code. The ease of learning to use SmartDB Workbench was another important feature. With only one week of training, we became skilled enough to handle the project on our own. If you consider the high price of IT consultants, this feature alone made our investment in SmartDB pay for itself.

WEAKNESSES: The biggest weakness is the user interface. More Windows-like features would make the software easier to use. I understand that the company is planning to enhance the GUI in the next version of SmartDB Workbench, which is due out this summer.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Ease of use is critical. We are not programmers by training, so the product we selected had to allow us to work graphically. The ability to point and click on data to initiate transfers and easily reuse the templates that we create are key features of SmartDB Workbench.

DELIVERABLES: Migrating data can often be one of the most difficult tasks when moving from legacy systems to a client/server environment. The process is often based on the assumption that the IT staff thoroughly understands the target applications, which is rarely the case. As a result, data loads fail or, even worse, appear to be completed & #173; only to discover later that the information is inaccessible. SmartDB Workbench helps ensure that these problems don't happen. If there is a problem, we find out about it right away and have the resources ­ SmartDB support staff and documentation ­ to fix it. The bottom line is that SmartDB makes it fast and easy to load data accurately into Oracle Applications.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The ease of using the product allows us to progress with minimal support from SmartDB. The few times that we had problems or questions, SmartDB support staff responded without delay.

DOCUMENTATION: We have not used the documentation from SmartDB.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access