There are certain software applications that have a format of a “Root” record followed by various record types. These record types may or may not occur. Also they may occur more than one time per record type. In order to program for all potential scenarios the user needs to know all of the potential scenarios. The Gladstone software will produce a report showing all the potential scenarios and how many times that scenario occurs.
The Data Integrity (DI) Report is the “Key to the Kingdom.” It is the one piece of analysis that has proved to be the most valuable piece of information in conducting a data conversion.
Data to be converted consists of data (values) in fields, fields in records, and files (databases) that make up applications.
The Master File Display is a report that provides a formatted listing of each field that is present in an account record. It is a convenient overview of all the information pertinent to a record and may be used at any time during the data conversion process to compare an input record with the corresponding output account. The formatted report makes a “before and after” comparison of a given record on a field-to-field basis.
In conjunction with the Master File Display, the Report Writer function enables a user to select certain fields in certain (or all) records and print a formatted listing.
Occasionally a client will want a Master File Display on all files just prior to data conversion to archive for audit history.
Master File Displays can be printed for all the fields in a record or for selected fields, whatever the programmer/analyst requires.
The Report Writer is the Gladstone product that produces a report for selected fields in a record. In conjunction with the Master File Display, the Report Writer function enables the user to mine data. Report Writers can be printed for all or selected fields in a record. The Report Writer displays a formatted listing of any field in an account record and offers up to 9 levels of totals.
The “Data Dictionary” is a process that allows a user to easily determine which values in the data are out of range.
One of the first steps in analyzing data for acquisition conversions is the product mapping reports. Traditionally, management will send representatives as soon as an entity is acquired to begin data mapping products.
With use of the Gladstone software, the team now waits and analyzes the data for about one week and them conducts the product mapping. At that point, the team has a better understanding of the product and knows the data. This process eliminates multiple site visits, confusion, discovery of “grandfathered” products, etc. This has proven to be a standard process for Gladstone’s user base.
Many software applications locate dates by searching source code. They start with a “file” of names to search for, such as “date”, “year”, etc. This approach can lead to “false positives.”
The Gladstone approach is to search the actual data to locate dates. Even if the element name is “XYZ-GEORGE”, we will identify it as a date with a format such as CCYYMMDD. Other products take a “go fish” approach and guess what might or might not be a date field. Rather than guessing, Gladstone is able to determine the true contents of its client’s data.
Many times we need to understand specific information about each field that is a “Date” field. We need to know such things as “What is the earliest date?” and “What is the latest date?” and are some of the dates invalid. This information was especially needed when correcting the Year 2000 problem. It still is very pertinent to companies when they are converting data or encountering problems with their production systems. This analysis will also report the frequency distribution by year for each date field.
Numeric data shouldn’t reside in “Alpha” fields, as it will cause an “Abort” sequence on my systems. The Gladstone software handles this by detecting the numeric data in non-numeric fields, reports it, and then changes the data value to zero since there is no way of knowing what should have been there. The error can occur several ways. The first is that a record has a redefinition of a certain element and isn’t detected correctly. The second is that a certain field was never “initialized” correctly. A third is that there is just “bad” data in the field through a system or user error.
Often clients need to know if particular fields are unique. The Gladstone tool allows users to determine which fields to check and the software does the rest. A report will then inform the user if a field is unique and if not, it will report which values have duplicates.
Testing is a major function in any data conversion. A user must have data in order to test. The Test Data Generator feature allows use of either actual or fictitious data.
The intent of the Test Data Generator is to create a sample test data bed automatically, which can then be modified if and as desired.
The Gladstone program generator process creates five programs at the beginning. Two of which are the Data Integrity and Test Data Generator. These are then compiled.
The Data Integrity, during its process creates and displays a file of all of the “Keys” that it found for each value. This “Key” file is then sorted during the process and duplicates are eliminated. The “Key” file usually contains about 1,200 “Keys” or 10% of the actual data file, whichever is less.
The “Key” file can be edited allowing a user to add or remove any “Keys” necessary to or from the test bed.
The “Key” file is then read into the “Test Data Generator” program along with the “Master File.” Only the records from the “Master File” that match the “Keys” are written to the “Master File Subset.” This subset file is then used for subsequent testing and contains one of each of the values in the “Data Integrity.” The process can be run as many times as desired with different data and the programs do not need to be touched.
The Gladstone software produces a report indicating which zip codes do not match the state indicated, likewise which states do not match the zip code supplied. It will also produce a report indicating if the city supplied fails to match the accurate state and/or zip code.
The Gladstone software will create reports listing the file definition elements in both alpha and sequential order.
A user may need to know the relationship between specific elements. Gladstone offers its users to select up to 5 elements at a time to show relationships.