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BACKGROUND: Williams Scotsman, Inc., of Baltimore, Maryland, is a nationwide company specializing in the leasing of mobile offices.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Williams Scotsman, Inc., was in need of an operational data store for growth analysis, historical trend tracking, sales tracking and movement of inventory. The problem was, as with most companies of the nineties, the "live" data was not stored in a relational data model. Therefore, a tool to transfer and manipulate approximately 1.4 gigabytes of "live" data, currently stored in COBOL C-ISAM flat files, into an Oracle database in a four-hour time frame was necessary.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Data Junction provided complex data mapping and data manipulation ability with relative ease of use. The GUI environment was very intuitive and the drag-and-drop features for mapping source data to the destination structure made this data conversion as easy as point and click.

STRENGTHS: With dozens of prebuilt functions and the ability to create home-grown functions, Data Junction proved to be an invaluable tool in manipulating data such as dates, numeric formatting, combining fields, etc. Without having to build every function, a considerable amount of time was saved and then used to focus on design and implementation issues.

WEAKNESSES: The ability to map one source file to multiple targets in one conversion pass currently involves workarounds. Future releases that incorporate this ability into the tool's standard functionality will greatly increase its value in populating relational data models with ease.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Data Junction's low cost and ease of use made implementation fast and effortless; there was simply no need to evaluate any other product.

PRODUCT DELIVERABLES: Data Junction currently transfers 50 C-ISAM files into an Oracle database on a nightly basis, as well as 33 C-ISAM files on a monthly basis. During this transfer, multiple data manipulations are performed, such as Y2K date transformations, numeric formatting and combining fields. After the transfer has finished, Williams Scotsman employees have the ability to create and run reports on real-time data.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The sales representative was very helpful and straightforward in explaining Data Junction and its capabilities. With every phone call to Data Junction Corporation, Williams Scotsman experienced extremely knowledgeable personnel. The best part of working with the vendor was their desire to help and their ability to answer every question asked.

DOCUMENTATION: With hundreds of source and target conversions possible, the documentation and tutorials allowed a new conversion to be created in minutes.

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