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Sunnen Converts Legacy Data to ERP System with SmartDB Workbench

Published
  • January 01 1999, 1:00am EST

BACKGROUND: For nearly 75 years, Sunnen Products Company of St. Louis, Missouri has been the leading manufacturer of bore sizing and finishing and automotive engine rebuilding equipment.

PLATFORMS: Sun Ultra Enterprise 3000 and 6000 both running Sun Solaris 2.5.1.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Sunnen Products Company was converting from a mainframe legacy system to a new client/server ERP system of 15 modules and needed a solution that painlessly and cost-effectively utilized developers who were not familiar with the ERP tools to do the conversion. Sunnen needed an effective way to convert thousands of records in an 18-month implementation period.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SmartDB Workbench provided a graphical point-and-click data migration tool that allowed us to see the tables and to create reusable templates that also provided validation of the data before it was written to the Oracle tables. We were also able to easily map the data from a flat file created on the legacy system to the Oracle columns in the templates. As a result of using SmartDB Workbench, Sunnen was able to convert the data in two months. The product enabled us to save money by not having to hire consultants to help us convert our data. An additional feature of SmartDB Workbench that we will be utilizing is the ability to migrate data from some of our outside systems to Oracle on a regular, scheduled basis.

STRENGTHS: SmartDB Workbench is an easy tool to use. The point-and-click capability really does make data mapping easier. It not only allows for single table loads, but also allows multiple table loads using a single data file. We also found the tool to be a great help in troubleshooting data errors that we received. The pre-built templates were very useful not only in loading data but also in educating us on how the data is loaded, table relationships, set-up steps that needed to be done prior to data conversion and even what SQL scripts are invoked for validation purposes on a given column. The validation rules are another strength of the tool. The validation allowed us to test the data, find which records will not load and fix the records ­ all before the data was loaded into the Oracle tables. The extract file feature of the multiple query select is a very powerful tool for pulling records out of a table and updating them with multiple changes through default and validation rules in a template instead of writing lines of SQL. The up-front cost of the product was quickly paid back through the man-hours saved as a result of more efficient and less time-consuming data loads into Oracle.

WEAKNESSES: The main weakness we found with SmartDB Workbench was the fact that it does not have more "Windows-like" features and capabilities. There are limited copy and paste capabilities. Windows-like features will be added with the next release in March.

SELECTION CRITERIA: SmartDB Workbench was an easier product to use and a more complete product than the others we evaluated. We quickly realized that the savings in terms of time and money during implementation would be huge. In addition, the consultants who were helping us with the implementation of the overall project recommended it.

DELIVERABLES: All the SmartDB Workbench templates are reusable and easily modifiable. The sectioning features of files such as discard, bad and log files during the data loads allowed us to analyze and handle exceptions through organized and categorized means. These files became invaluable when trying to debug our data and helped in cleansing it so the Oracle tables would load correctly. The Multi-Select Query tool allowed us to quickly and easily examine the results of our data loads into the Oracle database.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support has been excellent in both pre- and post-sales. Because the product is so easy to use, we have not had much of an occasion to use the support people. But the few times we have utilized them, they have been very responsive in a timely manner.

DOCUMENTATION: The hard copy documentation is adequate. With each new version of the product, the documentation is becoming stronger. The documentation is now also available on-line via the Smart Corporation Web site.


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