With the business intelligence market consolidation of the big mega-vendors (IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP) and an industry move to web-based reporting products, companies are replacing their legacy reporting applications with modern technologies. Many of these application conversions have also involved platform changes.
I get asked lots of questions about how we accomplish this seemingly impossible task, so here are my responses to some common FAQs.
Is your conversion process "Point-to-Point" or do you have a "Canonical?"
A smart person asked this question. Rephrased, the question is: does your conversion tool only work with specific combinations (such as NOMAD-to-WebFOCUS) or does it translate the old language into a standard (a "canonical") and then re-translate that to another language (and is then theoretically anything-to-anything)? The answer is that we started out with some point-to-point features but have since moved to a true canonical translation process. We have parsers that understand how to read a legacy language and convert it to the canonical. We then have generators that can read the canonical and generate the web-based BI syntax.
Some firms have secure that prohibits the sharing of legacy source code. For those clients, we can implement the tools differently; see this article on handling BI Modernization Initiatives in a secure environment.