Data Conversion Services Build Interoperability Between Applications
Various computer applications store data in different formats. Migration from one application to another often requires data of the existing application to be converted to a format suitable for the application. A Data Conversion Service is provided by an organization to make existing data compatible with data in another application.
There are a number of differences in the way various computer applications store data. Because of these differences, it is not easily possible to migrate or export data from one application to another. There are of course certain standard formats in which data can be exported such as SDF (structured data format) and ASCII delimited.
The fact remains that applications store data in a different way. An example would be a company has a large proprietary non-relational database that is running under the UNIX operating system on a mainframe. This company decides to downsize the application and move it to a relational database under the Windows operating system.
Data conversion in this case would involve exporting the data from the existing database and converting it into a form that would allow it to be uploaded to the new application. This is one example of data conversion.
Data conversion is an umbrella term that includes import from a particular application, doctoring of data, validating of data and export of data to another application. Data conversion is not just about converting data into another format to facilitate interoperability between applications.
It may involve converting the data to another format altogether as per the end user requirements. A database of high-resolution images may need to be converted into a relatively lower resolution for use in html pages or PDF files. Such images could also be used in an electronic catalogue.
Data conversion at one level can be a very simple exercise that involves making minor changes to the data for it to become compatible to another application. On the other hand large data conversion projects may involve planning, processing of data, migration of data and testing the validity of the migrated data.
In such cases data conversion is a time consuming, labor-intensive job that requires a high degree of accuracy and with very little margin of error. There are a number of tools that assist in the process of data conversion. Some of these tools are capable of totally converting data from one format to another. On the other hand, some tools assist in the process of conversion.
Data conversion projects are usually outsourced to companies that specialize in taking up such projects on a turnkey basis, undertaking the total responsibility of the activities of data conversion.
Software vendors are increasingly realizing the need for interoperability of data and are providing software with facilities to export data to another format or import from a format. A data conversion service however fills the gap and is a specialized service that helps to convert data when the application does not have inbuilt support for another format.