4 Techniques For Testing Data Migrated From Legacy Systems

Many stake holders of the project such as business users, project managers, business analysts really care about the data conversion scripts and the quality of the conversion. Since this conversion is business entity related and matters a lot as future business/functionality depends on the data being logically equivalent to the legacy system. Using proper Data migrations specialists is important here!

1.       Start data conversion work earlier

We have found that converting data earlier in the project life cycle is very helpful even when our data model is not stable yet. This is useful in many ways

  • It helps by forcing the developers to think and account for data in the legacy database that may not be covered by specs provided by the business analysts
  • Business analysts can communicate with the business users using real data from the legacy system that the business is used to seeing and understands the data.
  • Business users when using the new system before it goes live can understand how their new system behaves with legacy data and business entities such as Customers, Products etc. Giving the business users familiarity with the system and easing their transition to the new system.
  • When its time to go-live we have converted the data so many times that its no longer a surprise, as all the bugs, data weirdness have been found and dealt with.

2.       Automated compare of data

We compare the data from the legacy database with the new application database that is being developed. This comparison can be automated using sql that creates logically equivalent objects from both databases.

  • I blogged about usingAutomated Data Compare of comparing data.
  • We could also useDiffKit which is an open source framework that lets you compare databases, excel spreadsheets, flat files or custom formats on the legacy database side with databases, excel spreadsheets, flat files or custom formats with the new databases. Or use frameworks that export the database into xml, yml etc formats such as yaml_db

3.       Dealing with duplicates

In legacy databases, as the system gets used over many years some business entities may get duplicated and during data conversion will get merged/collapsed into a single entity. So while comparing data we should remember to do UNIQUE or DISTINCT on the SQL we use to compare the data. In some cases we may end up normalizing some of the data and end up with multiple rows for something that was represented using one row in the legacy database.

4.       Dealing with magic values

Systems use magic values to represent data or state of certain business process, such as NULL0N/ANil and other strings. When converting we cannot convert these values as-is, we need to understand what do they mean, are these values being converted to mean something else on the application front end? are we using the same logic to convert the data?

6 Reasons Product Development Is Good For Your Company

What drives established product engineering company to spend valuable resources (time, money, human capital, etc.) on new product development. Here are six reasons to invest in new product development.

Competitive Advantage:

Staying ahead of the competition should always be front of mind for existing companies.  New products give you a competitive advantage over your competition.  It might be new sales, more shelf space, consumer impressions or other advantages. If you are the market leader, you want to keep your competitive advantage, if you are not the market leader – you need a competitive advantage. New products allow you to focus on taking a competitive leadership position. There’s leadership position in the nut category is clear and their continued focus on new products keeps them in front.  Their new dessert inspired mixes are definitely look mouth-watering.

Innovation Story:

Speaking of competitive leadership, there is the credibility that comes with being the category innovator.  Innovative companies are thought of as creative and ground-breaking bringing more excitement to their brand and solving consumer problems. Being first is always better than needing to flatter your competition by replicating something they did first and you wish you had thought of earlier. 

Ancillary Sales:

Every brand wants more sales and new products help. New items might not be your number one SKU driving the most sales, but they drive new sales to your brand or category and they provide a continued look at existing products consumers may have forgotten about keeping your brand front of mind. I’m sure watermelon flavored Oreo’s are not their best seller, but each new offering generates loads of consumer media attention and new purchases.

Reason to See Your Buyer & Engage Your Consumer:
Depending on your category you might see your buyer one to four times a year…maybe monthly if you’re lucky. During those meetings you probably discuss general category data including pricing, promotions and performance, but what about products.  Same story different day doesn’t create a lot of reason for the buyer to schedule an extra meeting with you or give you more business.  New products on the other hand generate new discussion and new opportunities.

Test Consumer Trends

Consumers are constantly evolving which means their tastes and preferences change with them. In recent years we’ve see probiotic foods, gluten free, and paleo emerge as just some of the important consumer food trends. Your ability to maintain an active focus on innovation and stay current on trends allows you to be ahead of the curve with emerging consumer trends and test new concepts in early stages of trends and refine them as the trend becomes mainstream. This test and refine concept allows you to see what concepts have potential and which were fleeting while still maintaining a competitive advantage.

Explore Technology

Just like consumer trends drive new products, advances in technology drive new opportunities in various food products as well, typically in the area of food packaging. Food packaging and processing advances have opened up entirely new product opportunities. Your innovation, production and marketing team should constantly be exploring new technology that will aid in new product development.

New product development doesn’t have to be costly, but it must be a priority. Just like we talked about the power of building a marketing-minded culture, it’s equally important to include innovation as part of that ideal to foster continued organizational growth.

Why Your Business Needs A Rental Printer

Are you using an old, inefficient printer simply because you can’t justify outlaying a significant amount of cash for a new one? If so, it’s worth investigating options to rent a printer as legacy devices are probably costing your business.

Like most pieces of technology, new printers from Blackbox Solutions are much more cost-effective to run than old printers. Many newer models use less toner and paper, can be programmed to reduce overall printing volumes, are engineered to break less often and feature smart software that minimise the time your staff spend manually managing documents. This reduces the overall costs of consumables and service, and delivers significant efficiency benefits for your business. As your business grows, it’s vital to upgrade your technology environment to meet changing operational requirements. While your loyal printer may have served you well in the early days, upgrading to a smarter solution can streamline the way you work, helping you to cut costs and get ahead of competitors.

How to buy a printer without tying up cashflow

Purchasing a printer outright is rarely the most cost-effective method for buying a business printer. It ties up cash flow and makes it difficult to budget for consumables. Instead, look for rental options or pricing plans from your local IT provider. These include regular fixed payments for easier accounting and allow you to conserve cash. This means you know what you’re paying for your printing solution and when – with no nasty surprises.

  1. Rent the hardware, buy the consumables

Under a rental only contract, you pay a fixed sum each month for the printing device. Service and toner are additional costs. This option means you can purchase the device you need and set up your print environment sooner, even if it is a little more expensive, without compromising cash flow.

It’s ideal for SMEs that need to conserve cash and rely on quality printed materials for service delivery, marketing or promotions.

  1. Rent the hardware, pay a cost per page for consumables and service

This type of contract means you pay a fixed rental fee for the device each month plus a fixed cost per page to cover consumables and service (based on a minimum number of pages per month). If your business uses an expensive printer and costly toner, this type of contract can make it easier to manage and budget for consumables or servicing costs. This contract includes an extended warranty and automatic delivery of consumables, which means you don’t have to worry about remembering to order each month or being stuck without toner. The quantity of consumables depends on your business’ average monthly print volumes, which will usually be determined with your IT provider and laid out in the contract.

It’s ideal for SMEs that use lots of toner and want to avoid unexpected or uncapped consumables costs.

  1. An all-inclusive cost per page contract

This type of contract specifies an all-inclusive cost per page, based on a minimum monthly print volume. Essentially, the total cost of the device, service and toner is divided across the number of pages you print. You know exactly how much each printed page costs your business. It means you only pay for what you print (provided you meet the minimum monthly page quota). Because costs are apportioned per page, it makes it easier to compare costs when outsourcing printing and pass costs on to clients.

It’s ideal for small businesses who need to know the exact cost per printed page, especially those in client or professional services industries or those that often outsource print jobs.

Photocopier Or Multifunctional Printer?

The modern office, despite best efforts to remain eco-friendly, sees each worker copying or printing in excess of 10,000 pages a year on average. With these rigorous demands still such a prominent part of office life, it’s difficult to know which machine would be best for your workplace ­– the traditional photocopier, or its multi-talented cousin, the multifunctional printer (MFP) from Blackbox Solutions. If we use the average office as a benchmark… which one do you really need?

Photocopier…

A photocopier makes copies of documents without necessarily being connected to a computer – simply insert your sheets and receive instant copies. Today’s photocopiers from Blackbox Solutions are far more functional than their predecessors, and many include features of multifunctional printers, such as support for different paper sizes. They are quick and simple to use, and can be more robust than their multifunctional counterparts. The largest copiers need their own sizeable dedicated spaces in order to reduce misfeeds and jams, but in return can offer a level of quality that could, in the case of the most costly machines, rival that of a professional printing press. Traditionally, the small machines are cheaper than multifunctional printers, but offer less economical benefits overall, so you may be spending more in the long run. While the photocopier certainly does one thing very well… it does just that: one thing. It may not quite meet the needs of a particularly busy office.

… or multifunctional printer?

A multifunctional printer acts as not just a photocopier, but has printing, scanning, email and fax capabilities rolled into just one machine. As an all-in-one solution, these devices can offer large cost savings to businesses that print and copy lots of items. As organisations spend up to 3% of their annual revenues on printing, when managed properly through a complete MPS solution, these printers can make a real difference to your business’ overheads. Outright monetary savings are supplemented with time savings: one machine is a lot less time consuming than 3 or 4, and they save room in a smaller office too.

However, MFPs often offer quite a low scanning resolution, so specific models should be examined carefully by those with high-resolution scanning needs.

While ‘jack of all trades, not quite master of any’ is an unfair brush to tar multifunctional printers with, depending on your specific performance requirements, a modern multifunctional printer could be exactly what you need… or a little lacking.

To know which device would most suit your business, it is important to make a variety of considerations. How many people are using your machine, how many at the same time, and for what purposes? How much space do you have, and what is your budget? For those offices seeking a highly economical ‘little bit of everything’, a multifunctional printer might just be the way to go.

How does Business Intelligence Tools Work

Businesses these days do not follow the usual way of getting information. Technology has surely gone ahead on its way and this is the reason why businesses have improved. If you are a business owner, you surely want to have instant or abrupt improvement as time passes by. Good thing that there are tools that will surely help you and one of them is known to be a business intelligence tool.

There are so many business intelligence tools in the market such as sulissystems.co.uk. A business intelligence tool is a software or it could be an application which helps in analyzing data. A lot of business owners have one because it has a lot of advantages which include improvement of sales, increasing customer satisfaction, making fact-based decisions, and also getting rid of losses.

If you are in doubt about how it works, here are the steps in knowing business intelligence tools.

The first thing that a business intelligence tool does is to check its database. The database has stored a lot of information, especially about the past. The business intelligence tool will help in organizing the data into the right specifics and categories. Moreover, it is also a good way of checking reports from the past. By doing so, you can check on the things that should not be done in the recent and in the future.

The next thing that it does is to gather all the data that it has collated. In this process, the data is being monitored especially in the recent time. This can help in making and checking certain differences from the past and now so that certain mistakes or things that have been overlooked will be changed. In this steps, mistakes can be avoided already.

The third step is analysis. The data that were collected in the previous steps will be thoroughly analyzed. As mentioned above there will be a comparison from the past and the recent data. This is a good time to avoid mistakes that were made in the past.

The next thing that will happen is the reporting step. After the data is analyzed, it is time to give reports, especially to the top management. The best thing about business intelligence tools is the fact that everything is based on facts and there are clear shreds of evidence that can be seen. All you have to do is to check and print the data reports and give them to the different managers.

By now, decisions based on facts are already made and then predictions about the future will be made. The process is never ending since companies should always have a continuous process of getting to know problems and also opportunities.

In conclusion, business intelligence tools are really helpful to companies because good decisions can be made especially about sales and losses. Since there are so many business intelligence tools, it is necessary that you choose the right one for your company. Always remember that all are not the same. If you want a good one, then check out sulissystems.co.uk