The secret behind Migration Architect is that it does one thing very well: data profiling and mapping. It doesn't do the data movement--users need other tools to do that. ACSC chose Passport to move its data. What Migration Architect does is help users figure out and "normalize" raw source data. This goes beyond what data cleansing software does--parsing, standardizing, and reformatting data, and often augmenting it with external demographic or financial data. Data cleansing is used by different people to mean different things, but it usually only refers to quality and consolidation issues.
Bruised and bloodied no more
Just over a year ago, in November 1997, the auto club began--working half days only--using Migration Architect to profile its data. "I wanted a tool that would help us transform the source data into third normal form (3NF)," says Norstrom. Less than six weeks later, Nordstrom and his team generated the desired sales report. "On New Year's Eve, we delivered the 1997 sales report," he recalls. "We were the knights in shining armor."
ACSC's new data warehouse now houses atomic data, while its datamarts are for sales and customer service. Nordstrom is proud of the auto club's hub and spoke architecture. And rightly so, as the industry-accepted architecture for "good" enterprise data warehouses and dependent datamarts, this type of architecture works well. Migration Architect profiles and maps ACSC's data while Carleton's Passport populates both its enterprise data warehouse, residing in DB2 on the mainframe, and its sales and POS datamarts. These datamarts, which contain records of member "transactions" such as ordering maps and "TripTiks," are in Oracle 7.3 star schema databases running under HP-UX. (Prepared by AAA for its members, TripTiks are customized route maps for a specific trip, which is broken up into a series of mini maps that are shaped like big tickets, hence the name.)
Now, with not one, but two datamarts under his belt, Nordstrom is ready to tackle what will be the biggest challenge of all--the insurance datamart. A few years ago, auto club staffers estimated it would take between three and four staff years to design a normalized database from data residing in four VSAM files and 58 different record types. Using Migration Architect, Nordstrom hopes to accomplish the task in just 12 months--with three major deliverables along the way at 120-day intervals.
Like ACSC, Leslie Cone, project manager at the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, also discovered Evoke by accident, thanks to a consultant's recommendation. About a year ago, it was clear that the BLM's extremely ambitious long-term reengineering project, the Automated Land and Minerals Record System (ALMRS), was bogged down in a quagmire of horrendously complex data conversions.
ALMRS, which had been initiated almost a decade ago and contracted to Computer Sciences Corp. in 1993, was to have been completed in 1997. Last summer, when it was obvious that ALMRS was taking longer than expected, BLM put the project on hold in favor of a "must complete by March 1999" rehosting project.