BACKGROUND: Transport Corporation of America, Inc. is a nationwide provider of truckload carriage and logistics services. By supplying high- quality, customized transportation services, Transport America has established itself as a core carrier to major companies including Federal Express; 3M Company; General Mills; Polaris Industries; and Sears, Roebuck & Co. Transport America's diverse customer base demands maximum flexibility with premier dependability. We meet that need by specializing in time-definite pick-up and delivery, utilizing state-of-the-art logistics equipment and electronic data services to automate the exchange of order and load data.

PLATFORMS: SYMBIATOR from Vision Solutions runs on IBM DB2/400 and SQL Server on NT.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Transport America uses state-of- the-art EDI and satellite communications software. All across the U.S., our truck drivers receive and transmit crucial electronic positioning information while on the road. This interactive exchange allows our corporate headquarters to track and manage the time-sensitive constraints of each and every delivery. A challenge occurred when we replaced our AS/400-based dispatching system with a Microsoft SQL Server-based system. With EDI and satellite communications software still running on the AS/400, we needed a data sharing tool to bridge both disparate databases. Initially, a competing product featuring journalizing technology was used to fulfill this need. Our technical staff was quickly dissatisfied with the latter. Without a trigger-based system, Transport America was expending unnecessary time and effort coordinating weekly maintenance efforts.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SYMBIATOR's powerful two-way, cross-platform data replication technology was exactly what we were looking for. Its user-friendly, point-and-click GUI interface enabled us to configure new data replication requests with ease. With SYMBIATOR's intuitive bit-mapping feature, we were literally up and running at the flick of a switch. Its superior mass transfer system utility also enabled large amounts of data to be transferred bidirectionally with exceptional data integrity and minimal data loss.

STRENGTHS: SYMBIATOR outdistanced its predecessor by demonstrating maximum ease of use and flexibility. We were exceedingly impressed by the incomparable ability to disseminate and share critical data within an asynchronous operating environment. Unlike the leading competitor, SYMBIATOR's daily operations required significantly less monitoring. With the threats of data loss and downtime eliminated, we can now focus on what we do best: setting new benchmarks within the transportation industry.

WEAKNESSES: Initially, we encountered some minor glitches while attempting to conduct a steady replication process. With Vision's technical support and improved architectural features in SYMBIATOR's newer releases, these issues have since been resolved.

SELECTION CRITERIA: One of Transport America's competitive advantages is our electronic information exchange system. Accelerating interdepartmental communication and bridging our vast fleet, it maximizes customer satisfaction while maintaining our mark of credibility. After some trial and error, we chose SYMBIATOR for our data sharing needs. Vision's sales department provided us with an evaluation copy within 18 hours of our first contact, making the difference with their responsiveness and product knowledge. Since then, SYMBIATOR has far surpassed our initial criteria for ease of configuration and maintenance. We know that with SYMBIATOR, data replication and data integrity go hand in hand.

DELIVERABLES: Time is money. SYMBIATOR has helped us save both, transferring data between our AS/400 and SQL Server on a near real-time basis. By eliminating the need to purchase new EDI and satellite communications software, SYMBIATOR has proven to be the most cost-effective, intelligent solution for our data sharing requirements. For us, superior knowledge management means superior savings.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The SYMBIATOR technical staff exemplifies consistency and reliability. When urgent technical issues arise, their professionalism and willingness to help have made the difference. With 24-hour technical support at our fingertips, we can be assured that skilled expertise is but a phone call away.

DOCUMENTATION: We found the SYMBIATOR user's manual concise and effective, complete with numerous illustrative examples to guide us through the installation and general maintenance process.

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