BACKGROUND: Skila, Inc. develops and markets Skila, the first health care-specific desktop intelligence gathering system for pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies. Skila is the first to combine comprehensive health care information with data acquisition agents, integration tools and knowledge management applications, giving its clients the most complete picture of the health care marketplace in one easy-to-use view. Skila customers include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Boston Scientific and US Surgical.

PLATFORMS: TableTrans is available in client/server and desktop versions. TableTrans client software runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT workstations, connected to an Oracle database server running on RS/6000 AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, VAX/VMS or Windows NT systems. The desktop version runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT workstations, connected to Personal Oracle.

PROBLEM SOLVED: TableTrans enables Skila to merge, clean, standardize and restructure data collected from many diverse information sources into a single analysis and reporting database quickly, easily and reliably. TableTrans is now fully integrated into Skila's complex data migration process.

FUNCTIONALITY: The TableTrans user interface lets us design complex transformations visually by selecting, connecting and configuring graphical icons which represent individual transformation steps. TableTrans lets us design complex data transformations with minimal programming by providing dozens of built-in transformation steps. The SQL expression builder makes it easy to invoke Oracle SQL functions and TableTrans PL/SQL functions to derive new column values or select subsets of rows. When we need to carry out transformations not already supported by a built-in transformation step or function, we can implement the necessary transformation logic by calling our own SQL scripts or Oracle PL/SQL function or procedure. Pop-up data viewers let us review the data produced by any step within a transformation.

STRENGTHS:

  • Easy ­ We have not seen a more intuitive product on the market that offers the same functionality.
  • Flexible ­ TableTrans allows you to construct a job the way you think. The same transformation could be constructed in many different ways allowing maximum optimization and clarity.
  • Powerful ­ We have not found a transformation that TableTrans was not able to handle easily.

WEAKNESSES: Currently TableTrans does not support the ability to schedule a transformation. Fortunately, TableTrans does allow you to launch jobs from the command line, allowing us to schedule our jobs with a third-party scheduler.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Skila selected TableTrans for a number of reasons. Factors included the ability to author complex data migrations quickly, a command-line interface allowing us to call migration jobs from other programs, complete control over the migration process, stability and overall ease of use.

DELIVERABLES: TableTrans provides Skila with a robust data migration platform that integrates well with our intelligence tools in our quest to keep health care data current, organized, relevant and fresh.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support is outstanding. The product is very stable and the few issues we identified were addressed and corrected quickly.

DOCUMENTATION: TableTrans documentation is in the form of a tutorial and a reference guide. Both guides were comprehensive and easy to read. On-line help is also available.


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