In 2000, a group of Oracle consultants met for their regular lunch appointment, to share ideas about their current projects. As the conversation developed, they realised that there was a common task to be completed, data conversion. As consultants, we all had our own versions of SQL loader scripts. Modifying the SQL script was easy but the following three areas were both time consuming, error-prone and a security risk.
- Cleansing the data: Data from the legacy system was usually provided in excel. This allowed the data to be corrected. Further errors would be found when the load process happened. Which meant that the data would be manually corrected, transferred to server and reloaded only to find the next set of errors.
- Time-consuming: all these iterations took time. And had to be repeated for each instance test, development and production, to name a few. Also keeping track of which is the latest version of the data.
- Security: To transfer the files meant that the user needed access to the server password.
The developer among the group suggested – half-jokingly – that if they were to build an application that could load data from a spreadsheet directly into Oracle E-Business Suite they could productize a solution and save their customers both money and time. An idea was born.
Within a matter of months, a prototype was developed and promptly tested amongst the group’s existing clients.
We didn’t get it all right. We underestimated the rework time that these products could save our customers! The amount of validation built into these tools over the years reflects this. The ability to FIND an error, FIX it and RELOAD the data – all from within the spreadsheet (using the Oracle user password) – addresses all three issues above; data cleansing, time-efficiency and keeping Oracle security intact.
They had a winner. More4apps was born, and over the next 19 years has gone on to develop over 27 fully functioned Wizards and 17 task-specific Loaders, which worked straight out of the box for Oracle users.
The company remains in private ownership with a board five Shareholder/Directors, governed by a non-executive Chairman. All five shareholders remain active in management roles within the business.