The source data is "frozen,"
then transferred to a temporary store while it's converted. A cutover
process picks up the interim transactions and populates the data into a
new implementation of Oracle Applications.
Risks and benefits
Greenbaum says Crystallize takes away two major causes of pain: the
high price of converting financial systems and the long time frame
required. And because it's a packaged set of processes, he says,
Crystallize software has a better chance of working well the first
Lacey warns, however, that his project still required significant
resources. British Telecom had to put people versed in the firm's
business processes and its Oracle software on the project. In addition,
he says the number of machines needed to hold the interim data transfer
was larger than he expected. The project took five months -- one month
longer than planned due to problems gathering those necessary human and
Another caveat: Crystallize's rules engine is version-dependent,
acknowledges Abrams. Right now, it works with Oracle Versions 10.7,
11.03 and 11i.
The company's goal, says Abrams, is to spread the same approach to
other database-driven applications, such as enterprise resource
planning and supply-chain management packages, allowing customers to
update and change the software installations in concert with new
business structures and changing data needs.
There's no product that competes directly with Crystallize's offering
for Oracle Applications change management, says Joshua Greenbaum, a
principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting.
The traditional brute-force methods for integrating Oracle Applications
databases require using internal IT staff or hiring consulting firms,
he says. That approach can be expensive and time-consuming. But by
packaging the process, Greenbaum explains, Crystallize can give
customers a completion time and projected cost with a high degree of
confidence in hitting those marks.
Another advantage to Crystallize is that the migrated data is clean and
accurate. Maintaining data integrity, normalization and removing
duplicate and garbage data are of key importance in this kind of
project, says Greenbaum. Crystallize is good at making sure that the
data is right, he says, and the company backs it up with testing and
validation. The brute-force method that many consultants use can't
offer the same promise of accuracy, he says.
IT consulting firms are likely to adopt a packaged software methodology
in the future, says Helene Abrams, CEO of Crystallize. Her company is
working with several large consulting firms, she says, training them on
Crystallize's tools and hoping to form working relationships.