Unlocking the value of legacy data with AirQuery’s reporting solutions

AirQuery offers a powerful and flexible approach for legacy data reporting

“Old” implies reliability and security. Hence legacy systems are still preferable in sectors where these qualities are extremely critical. Even with modern alternative options available, many sectors like Banking and healthcare rely on legacy data for critical business decisions. 

However, there are limitations with these traditional systems, mainly the inflexibility offered by distributed computing. These systems are incompatible with new technologies like modern apps and tools. Working on these systems needs skills and experience working with legacy data which is diminishing with advancement and people choosing to work with modern practices. Furthermore, extracting data from these systems can be tedious and expensive.

Today there are many alternatives to these traditional systems that offer way more flexibility and customization; hence, more and more businesses are migrating to these options. Legacy data migration is a very critical process and involves a lot of control and careful migration. Data migration is not just a normal export and import and has complex, time-consuming tasks which can get more complex as we progress. Legacy data conversion is also necessary to ensure that data is compatible with the new system.

Numerous enterprises are reluctant to shift their legacy systems as it can often be a prolonged and trouble- operation. Especially larger firms have legacy systems operated by thousands of employees. Moving massive quantities of data to a new application and user training can be quite challenging and risky. However, the risk and expenditure of maintaining legacy IT systems are high and not viable to sustain in the long term. Shifting to a solution that will ease this and permit businesses to confirm compliance globally with ‘Cyber Essentials’, while greatly decreasing their Operating Expenses (OPEX) costs, is undoubtedly an evident option.

AirQuery makes this process super easy with tools that make the process secure and gives a solution customized to each client’s unique problems.  AirQuery provides a modern reporting experience characterized by advanced data visualization, self-service analytics, accessibility from anywhere, and real-time collaboration, which empower businesses to make data-driven decisions, improve performance, and increase efficiency.

Before we delve into the know-how, let us look at some use cases and best practices for data conversion and migration from legacy data warehouses.

Comprehensive real-time data analysis

Big data unlocks competitive insights, which is why leading businesses rely on it. Enterprises that operate on core transactional functions on a mainframe face the challenge of providing a comprehensive view of the business without having timely access to their core transactional data.

Several mobile apps, CRMs, e-commerce platforms, shared services, and trading platforms enable companies to gather data from multiple sources and conduct real-time reporting.  

Since today's business environment is dynamic and often faces disruptive changes with rapidly shifting economic behavior, responsiveness is crucial for business leaders. Corporations that can notice trends right away and respond quickly will beat those that can’t.

Complex legacy data formats

Legacy systems were created with scalability, safety, and dependability as a priority and they are just as important today in modern applications. Interoperability, facilitated by open standards and integration tools, was a secondary concern. Native mainframe data formats are often discordant with modern platforms. For example, COBOL copybooks and variable-length records can raise substantial challenges to efficient data transfer.

Similarly, computing efficiency is an important concern. Data processing blockages can drive higher CPU usage, leading to inflated running costs and more lagging performance.

The importance of handling legacy data 

So why is effectively handling your legacy data important? Let’s look at why it is important to handle legacy data immediately.

1. Decreases Security Vulnerabilities: Numerous outdated systems are no longer backed by the manufacturer. As a result, a single unpatched susceptibility can allow attackers to access all applications, middleware, and databases on the server platform. Also, without modern backup and disaster recovery solutions and other security solutions and services, the enterprise will never be able to adequately protect its data today and tomorrow.

2. Resolves the issue of shrinking talent pool: As legacy technology advances further past the point of manufacturer support, fewer and fewer IT experts with the proficiency of those systems are able to sustain them. As these application professionals retire or depart from the company, the expenses of the smaller pool of specialists in that technology upsurges.

3. Adds to operational expenses and system downtime: Because legacy applications command more to run and maintain, they make a business highly counterproductive in terms of operating expenses. Moreover, these systems need regular lookout from the IT department, which takes away from employee resources. This constant attention pulls IT experts out of tasks that increase business opportunities and working efficiency.

Having a protected and secured, favorably searchable, cloud-based application that immediately enhances searchability and saves your company's data is crucial. Effectively reporting your legacy data helps in reducing IT infrastructure costs, saves time, diverts attention on client-value projects, reduces cyber breaches and risk of non-compliance issues, and provides flexibility.

From data to insight: How modern reporting experience is transforming businesses

Modern reporting experience is crucial for businesses today because it enables them to make data-driven decisions, improve performance, and increase efficiency. The advanced data visualization capabilities of modern reporting solutions allow businesses to easily understand and make sense of their data, quickly identify key insights and trends, and make more informed decisions.

Self-service analytics features in modern reporting solutions empower non-technical users to easily access and analyze data, without the need for IT support. This enables employees to make data-driven decisions, improve their performance, and drive innovation within the organization.

Cloud-based technology in modern reporting solutions allows for accessibility from anywhere, on any device, which enables users to access their data from any location and on any device with internet access. This allows for real-time collaboration, with multiple users able to access, analyze, and share data in real-time, which helps to increase productivity and efficiency.

In today's fast-paced business environment, having access to accurate, up-to-date data and the ability to easily analyze it is crucial for staying competitive. Modern reporting experience enables businesses to make better, more informed decisions, which can lead to increased revenue, improved efficiency, and a better overall performance.

Common challenges while dealing with legacy data migration

Migrating legacy data can be a challenging task for any organization. This data is typically stored in various formats, such as flat files, databases, or even on paper. The process of migrating this data to a new system can be complex and time-consuming. Additionally, it will require careful execution and planning to ensure that the data is not lost or corrupted in the process.

Lack of documentation - One of the biggest challenges faced when migrating legacy data is the lack of standardization. The data is often stored in different formats and structures, making it difficult to extract and convert. For example, the data may be stored in flat files, databases, or even on paper. Each of these formats requires different tools and techniques to extract and convert the data. Additionally, the data may be stored in different languages, making it difficult to understand and process.

Data complexity - Legacy data is often stored in multiple systems, and it may be difficult to extract and convert all of the data in one go. This is particularly true when the data is stored in different formats and structures, as mentioned above. It may be necessary to extract and convert the data in stages, which can be time-consuming and error-prone.

Data inconsistencies - Another challenge is the quality of the data. Legacy data is often incomplete, inconsistent, or inaccurate, making it difficult to extract and convert. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as errors in data entry, inconsistent formatting, or outdated data. It is essential to clean and validate the data before migrating it to ensure that it is accurate and complete. For example, a company is trying to migrate customer data from an old CRM system, but the data contains inconsistencies such as duplicate records and missing information. This makes it difficult for the company to extract and convert the data, and it may also result in inaccurate data in the new system.

Data security - Data security is another important concern when migrating legacy data. The data may contain sensitive information, such as personal or financial information, and it is important to ensure that this information is protected during the migration process. This may involve encrypting the data, implementing security protocols, or even physically securing the data.

For instance, A hospital is trying to migrate patient data from an old electronic medical records system to a new system. The patient data contains sensitive information, such as personal and medical information, which must be protected during the migration process to ensure patient privacy.

Cost - Finally, the cost of migrating legacy data can be a significant challenge. The process of extracting and converting the data can be time-consuming and costly, particularly when dealing with large amounts of data. Additionally, the cost of new hardware and software to store and process the data can be significant. It is important to consider the costs of migration against the benefits that the organization will gain from the new system. For instance, A bank is trying to migrate customer data from an old banking system to a new system. The process of extracting and converting the data is time-consuming and costly. The bank also needs to purchase new hardware and software to store and process the data, adding to the overall cost of the migration.

In conclusion, migrating legacy data can be challenging for any organization. The lack of standardization, the complexity of the data, the quality of the data, data security, and the cost of migration are all important considerations. Careful execution and planning are of prime importance to ensure that the data is not lost or corrupted in the process.

Organizations should also consider the new system’s benefits against the costs of migration to determine if it is a worthwhile investment.

The AirQuery way of legacy data reporting

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AirQuery can help with legacy data reporting in several ways. Here are a few examples:

Data Access: AirQuery allows users to easily connect to legacy data sources such as SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and more, to access and query the data via a web-based interface without the need for complex programming or SQL queries. This makes it easy for users to access and analyze legacy data, even if they have limited technical skills. For example, suppose a marketing team wants to analyze the historical data of sales by product category and location. In that case, the team can use AirQuery to connect to the legacy database and retrieve the data by creating a simple query without the need for technical assistance.

Data Integration: AirQuery can integrate with a variety of different data sources, including legacy databases, spreadsheets, and text files. This allows users to access and query data from multiple sources in one place, making it easier to generate reports and perform data analysis. For example, suppose a company has data stored in different systems such as an ERP, CRM, and data warehouse. In that case, AirQuery can integrate with these systems and retrieve data to create a comprehensive report.

Data Transformation: AirQuery allows users to perform data transformations and create custom calculations on the fly without the need for ETL tools. This allows users to quickly and easily restructure and analyze legacy data to meet their specific reporting needs. For example, suppose a finance team wants to compare the performance of different departments based on their expenses. In that case, the team can use AirQuery to group the data by department and create custom calculations to generate a report that shows the expenses as a percentage of the total budget.

Data Visualization: AirQuery offers a wide range of data visualization options, including charts, tables, and pivot tables, which make it easy to explore and analyze legacy data. For example, suppose a human resources team wants to analyze employee turnover rate by department and location. In that case, the team can use AirQuery to create a pivot table that groups the data by department and location and then create a bar chart to show the turnover rate.

Data Security: AirQuery provides a range of security features to ensure that legacy data is protected and only accessible to authorized users. This includes role-based access control, data encryption, and data lineage features. For example, a company can use AirQuery to control who can access and modify the legacy data by creating different user roles and permissions for the team members and auditing the data lineage for compliance and regulatory purposes.

AirQuery can help organizations improve the accessibility and usability of legacy data, making it easier for users to generate reports and perform data analysis. This can help organizations to gain valuable insights from their legacy data and make better business decisions.

Legacy Data Reporting on Oracle E-Business Suite(Oracle EBS) data – A case study

At AirQuery, we recently worked with Ventia Services Group, one of the largest essential services providers in Australia and New Zealand. They were in the process of transitioning from using Oracle EBS to Salesforce, which required a legacy data migration. Still, they faced a problem with EBS legacy data reporting as that information was not available through the new systems.

To address this issue, we deployed our reporting tool to generate EBS legacy data reporting from Ventia's archived databases, including Oracle EBS and Kronos. Our team first understood the key concerns of the client, specifically their focus on user security. They wanted to use custom security on Oracle EBS reports and create users within AirQuery for authentication and authorization.

To align with these requests, we took several steps to create appropriate custom security levels. We created a legacy data warehouse and provided features that allowed the company to generate reports on top of its legacy data. We removed Oracle EBS security for reports against Oracle EBS applications and created custom security settings within the AirQuery application. We also modified secured views that were using user-based contexts, such as Oracle EBS responsibilities and organizational security, to utilize these custom security settings.

Furthermore, to provide access to legacy data, we executed these security settings within AirQuery. We ensured that authentication and authorization happened within the Orbit application, and created custom security tables/views that were applied at the domain level. Additionally, we created materialized views where necessary instead of executing complex SQLs, which enabled swift reporting.

Overall, our team was able to provide a solution for Ventia Services Group to access and report on their legacy data, despite the shift to a new system. We were able to tailor our reporting tool and legacy data conversion to meet their specific needs and ensure secure access to the data.

To learn more about our services for Oracle Cloud ERP, visit the link https://www.airquery.com/blog/airquery-connectors-for-oracle-cloud-erp

How to successfully carry out legacy data reporting?  

Legacy data reporting can be challenging, but it can be successful with the right approach. Here are some steps recommended by AirQuery to help you make the most of your legacy data reporting:

Identifying the list of reports needed from the archived database:

To carry out legacy data reporting successfully, it's important to first identify the list of reports that are needed from the archived database. This can be done by reviewing historical reports, talking to stakeholders, and analyzing data usage patterns. Once the list of reports is identified, it's important to prioritize them based on their importance and relevance to the business. For example, suppose your company is in the retail industry. In that case, it may be important to prioritize reports related to sales and inventory data, whereas for a finance company, reports related to account and transaction data may be more important.

Defining custom security:  To ensure that the legacy data is protected and only accessible to authorized users, it's important to define custom security measures. This can include setting up user roles and permissions, implementing data encryption, and creating a disaster recovery plan. For example, you can set up user roles such as 'read-only' access for certain users or 'admin' access for certain users who have the ability to make changes to the legacy data.

Creating custom objects, where necessary: In some cases, the legacy data may need to be restructured in order to make it more accessible and usable. This can involve creating custom objects, such as tables, views, or indexes, that can be used to organize the data and make it easier to query. For example, let us assume you are working with a customer information database. In such a scenario, you may create a custom table that groups customers by demographic information such as age and location, making it easier to generate reports on customer segments.

Creating business areas for end-user ad-hoc reporting:  To make the legacy data more accessible and useful to end users, creating business areas that allow for ad-hoc reporting is important. This can involve creating dashboards, reports, and data visualization tools that allow users to easily access and analyze the data. It's important to ensure that these tools are user-friendly and easy to navigate so that users can quickly find the information they need. For example, you can create a dashboard allowing users to filter and analyze sales data by regions, product lines, and time periods.

Learn how you can create automated reports with AirQuery. https://youtu.be/xqKiVBsmYvc

Here are some additional tips:

Follow these tips to ensure that you are on the right track. 

Understand the data: Before you begin creating reports, it's important to understand the data you're working with. This means understanding the structure of the data, the types of data it contains, and any limitations or issues with the data. This will help you create accurate and meaningful reports.

Clean and normalize the data: Legacy data can often be dirty and unstructured, which can make it difficult to work with. It's important to clean and normalize the data so that it's consistent and easy to analyze. This may involve removing duplicate data, filling in missing values, or converting data to a consistent format.

Focus on the most important data: With legacy data, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information available. It's important to focus on the most important data to your organization. This will help you create relevant and meaningful reports for your audience.

Communicate effectively: Legacy data can often be difficult to understand, so it's important to communicate effectively with your audience. This may involve creating clear and easy-to-understand visualizations, providing context for the data, and including explanations for any technical terms or concepts.

Test and validate your reports: Before you share your reports with others, it's important to test and validate them. This may involve running sample data through the report to ensure that it returns the expected results. It's also important to validate the data, to ensure that it is accurate and reliable.

By following these tips to the T, you can create successful legacy data reports that are accurate, meaningful, and easy to understand and maintain.

Here’s how you can simplify your business practices by utilizing your company's data. https://www.airquery.com/blog/the-data-driven-way-to-do-business

AirQuery’s Cloud solutions: A powerful and flexible approach

In summary, legacy data reporting can be a complex and time-consuming task for many organizations but is an essential aspect of data management. However, organizations can simplify and improve the process of legacy data reporting with the help of tools like AirQuery. These tools allow for easy access, querying, and analysis of legacy data, providing valuable insights to drive business growth. The solution is user-friendly and easy to use, reducing the need for manual data entry and the time required to get results. By utilizing AirQuery's solutions, organizations can overcome the challenges of legacy data migration, legacy data conversion, and EBS legacy data reporting, and achieve success in data management with modern reporting experience and witness business growth. With the help of our tools, organizations can gain a deeper understanding of their legacy data, improve their reporting capabilities, and better serve their customers and stakeholders. 

For a demo, visit https://www.airquery.com/free-trial

Here’s how you can open an AirQuery trial account. https://youtu.be/Rd9fxfS-oSU