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Data Conversion,Migration and interface ..Why important

Posted on June 9th, 2007 by Sanjit Anand ||Email This Post Email This Post

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Do you know how many ways; we can enter the data into oracle application. Most of us can guess three different ways as:

  • The Data can be entered using the application Screens.
  • The data can be entered using Oracle’s Open System Interface.
  • The data can be stored in the database table directly

But those who works in some complex business environment may figure out some of more like:

  • 3rd Party Software (for the third options)
  • Taviz (formerly SmartDB) which is EAI tool.
  • Crossroads
  • See Beyond (formerly STC)
  • Vitria
  • Data Loader: They have macro enabled spreadsheet kind of tool
  • More4apps

And there are many more, but most of these are used for master data, and few cases for transaction data via Open interface if available.

Importance of data conversion/migration and interfaces within any ERP implementation project can’t be ignored. Since ERP mostly deals with data which finally leads into Information , thus it is equally important to understand the aspect how “data” is important in any ERP system specailly in implementation phase, no matter how simple and unified operation is. Since I been involved in some big transformation oracle apps project thus It is a absolute a good cause to share some information about integration touch point, conversion/migration and interface development to someone who is very new to ERP world as well as Oracle application.

Let’s start with some common situation, we have three cases,

  1. The Customer is running there some home grown IT application which cater most of the company need. Now management has decided to go for any ERP solutions, then the question what will happen for data which is already in the existing application?
  2. Another situation is already using ERP
    a. They want to upgrade to higher version…presuming the structure of some table get changed? Lets say 10.7 to 11i
    b. The company is acquired or merged with some other company, and the whole data need to move into the parent or child company .
    c. They want to enable some additional modules within existing application.
  3. There are few data interacting with both the cases irrespective of database technology for where data is coming and going based out of need.

The answer of the 1 is data migration and 2 is more pronounced as data conversion where as thirds is popularly known as Interface. The ways these are working haven’t much difference but it is more important to understand definition and need. I never found any big difference between migration/conversion unless there is huge transformation of data, the only things figure out is conversion might required some less steps to perform, as assumption is that set up related stuff been already been taken care before execution of activity.

Let’s understand like this: Data Migration as a process of moving required (and most often very large) volumes of data from our clients’ existing systems to new systems. Existing systems can be anything from custom-built IT infrastructures to spreadsheets and standalone databases. Data conversion can be defined as a process of converting data from one structural form to another to suit the requirements of the system to which it is migrated.

Lets take a deep drive to understand better:

Why conversion/Migration is more important in ERP?

Before Go-Live in the production environment the required master data, the open transaction data and the historical transaction data need to be imported from the old legacy applications to Oracle Applications. Since data structure and data design in legacy systems are different from those of Oracle Applications, data need to be messaged/ converted satisfying the business rules to suite the Oracle requirement. Initial data can be migrated by any other means as discussed above depending upon cetain paramater like Volumn, usage, complexity , business rule etc..

How we Define Data Conversion

  • Process where existing data from the client’s old system is extracted, cleansed, formatted, and installed into a new system.
  • These can be manual or automated.
  • The big difference is that these are One-time only process that requires extensive testing and preparation.
  • They must be executed and performed before a system goes into production.

What Is An Interface then

  • These are programs for connection between Two Systems In Order To Synchronize the Data.
  • They can be Manual, Batch or Real-Time.
  • Used Repeatedly and Should Therefore Be Designed and Constructed In the Most Efficient Manner Possible.
  • These can Be Triggered by an Event (Such As Running A Concurrent Program) Or It Can Be Scheduled To Run At A Certain Time.
  • Can Be Very Costly To Construct And Maintain.

Does the conversion/migration/interface have Life Cycle

Yes, they have, because they have a significant efforts required in development and design and implementation

  • Functional Designer works with business owners to determine the data mapping and complete the functional design using the Design Templates.
  • If the interface/conversion is automated, the Technical Designer converts functional requirements into technical specs for the construction of the interface programs.
  • The developer uses the functional and technical designs to build and test the interface/conversion programs.
  • More rounds of testing are done until the interface/conversion is migrated to the production environment for deployment.

Conversion is assumed as one time activity but never looks like small activity which can be performed with couple of days.


How conversion and interface differ?

There are good numbers of parameter on which they can be categorize. Take few of them:

  • Frequency
    • conversions are a one time event
    • interfaces are ongoing
  • Occurrence in the project timeline
    • conversions executed before production
    • interfaces executed during production
  • Manner of execution
    • conversions are batch
    • interfaces may be batch or real time
  • Complexity
    • Conversion does have very complex, its totally depends upon the data mapping activity.
    • coordinating with other systems make interfaces more complex
  • Maintenance
    • Maintence of interface is bit cost intensive task.

Interface Type
You have learned how interface is differ from Conversion/Migration. Now lets take few types of interfaces:
Normally in any system , there are two kinds of interface as:

Inbound Interfaces

  • An inbound interface receives data from one system (legacy) and inserts into Oracle open interface tables.
  • A typical inbound interface would follow these steps:
    1. Extract data from legacy system into a flat file.
    2. Use SQL*Loader or equivalent tool to upload information into a temporary table.
    3. Write a PL/SQL program to take data from the temp table and insert into the Open Interface Tables.
    4. Through the concurrent manager in Oracle Applications, run the standard Oracle Interface program to transform interface tables into Oracle data.


Outbound Interfaces

o An outbound interface takes data from Oracle tables and inserts it into an external system (via tables or flat file).
o A typical outbound interface would follow these steps:
– Write a PL/SQL program to extract data from Oracle base tables into a flat file.
– Use a custom program to read that data and post it into the legacy system


Do we have some other standard way to do interface?

  • Open Interface is a table based interface registered as a concurrent program
    • process records in batches.
    • spawned(Pro-C) or PL/SQL based programs.
  • API (Application Program Interface) is a parameter based stored procedure
    • directly impacts base database tables.
    • may be called from Oracle open interfaces,Forms, Reports.
  • EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) uses industry standard data definitions(US/ANSI/X.12) for transmission of documents such as PO’s, Invoices, Sales Order, etc.Oracle provides some EDI transactions through EDI Gateway.(
  • Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) solutions are often used when complex integration requirements exist.

What Is An Open Interface Table (OIT)?

  • For inbound interfaces, the interface table is the intermediary table where data from the source application temporarily resides until it is validated and processed into an Oracle base table through a standard import concurrent program.
  • Open Interface Tables are standard Oracle tables.
    • Oracle uses OITs to provide a simple interface to Oracle base tables.
    • Oracle has list of all the open interface that oracle offered in there product.

Oracle Interface Program

  • Most Oracle modules have standard import programs (concurrent processes) to facilitate custom inbound interfaces. The specific processing performed varies by application.
  • These programs pull data from the open interface tables, validate the data, and then insert into one or more Oracle base tables.
  • Upon successful completion of processing, the program deletes the processed rows from the interface table or marks them as completed.
  • Depending on the import, errors can be viewed in various ways (exception reports, error tables, forms, etc…).

Examples of standard import programs:

  • GL: Journal Import
  • AP: Payables Open Interface
  • AR: Customer Interface
  • INV : Item Import
  • AR – Autoinvoice

Ok, thats is all about Conversion and Interfaces briefing. I will write some more for Tools used for Conversion/Interface and will discuss some granular details about a conversion/migration project and share some information about how and where AIM’s documents fits into conversion and Migration projects. So watch out this space for some more stuff for conversions.. Till than..your comment and requset you to share some information relaeted to these areas.icn thumbs 32x32


Related Posts

Posted in Conversion | 66 Comments »Email This Post Email This Post |

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66 Responses
  1. jayakrishna Says:

    hi there is an any API for journal import in R12 applications
    please tell me any of the api to import

  2. sam Says:

    Hello Anand,

    Many thanks for posting such useful notes on the website. I am a regular visitor.

    Data conversion in an implementation can face 2 scenarios:

    1) Fresh instance available for implementation and a business is going to go-live on the instance

    2) An instance which is already used (other Operating Units are setup etc). In such a case, probably we might need to look at what are the fields already used (for example attributes in master items table for inventory)

    With the above, we might need to work accordingly to prepare the data conversion templates. Do you have any help document on how to go about preparing a data conversion template for various entities (for example, items, open sales orders)

    You can write to me on

    many thanks again…

  3. Triveni Says:

    Hi Sanjith ,

    please let me know about the rules (Specified below) while preparing the CV 40 -Functional Document as part of Coversions (Migration).

    processing Rules
    Translation Rules
    Filter Rules
    Foreign Key Rules
    Derivation Rules
    Default value Rules

    In detail the meaning of that Rules & existance ,For more understanding take an ex: Ar Open Invoices conversion , in this perspect how to map this task (Ar Open Invoices) to the above mentioned Rules.

    Please forward any document available on conversions & Rules.

    Hope iam clear , Appreciate in advance all your Responses .
    what is quick codes ?
    How to identify the quick codes please map in perspective of AR Open Invoices conversion?
    How to identify the Foreign key validations for a specific conversion take any other Example & map .

    Please let us know more about the quick code validation .

    Please replu to


  4. Kavita Says:


    The information provided here is really helpfull for professionals who are new in this field.
    It really helps me to understand the basics of Data migration & conversion process in Oracle apps.
    Its just what I was looking for.

    Thanks a lot for your efforts.

  5. Salma Says:

    Dear Sanjith,

    Do you have a complete scope of work for ERP Data preparation/cleansing towards ORACLE full suite?

    Many thanks. Salma

  6. Sanjit Anand Says:


    CV.010 : Data migration Stretegy Document is good to have in the begining, thats have details for entire data prep as well as cleaning activity.

    If you are looking for a sample i can share with you.


  7. Salma Says:

    Yes please,

    I would like to have a look at the sample.

    Many thanks, Salma

  8. maruthireddy Says:

    Plz send me a sample query of supplier conversion

  9. Brenden Says:


    Great work!
    Can you share CV.010 : Data migration Strategy Document with me too please.
    Much appreciated.


  10. Srini Says:


    I would really appreciate your work, thanks for sharing info.

    i have one question

    Suppose i want to load the flat file information to header level and line level, in this case will i get one flat file or 2 flat files

    i am very new this oracle apps so pls dont hesitate to answer small questions

  11. Srini Says:

    One more Question is

    how to do validation before inserting into interface table.

    please tell with one example (with column validation)

    thanks in advance


  12. Sudhakar Says:


    Article is very good for begginers like me. Keep it continue with the same tempo for us.


  13. srinu babu Says:

    hi thanx for the exclusive information…plz send is there any workflow documets with full information

  14. sujith Says:

    Article is very good for begginers like me. I wish to know more about different types of conversions like gl conversion, item conversion etc. please add more topics on conversion

  15. Kashif Rasheed Says:


    I need your help if any one can.

    Actually we wants to migrate data in Oracle eBs:

    1- GL Opening Balances
    2- Customer Master with opening balances
    3- Supplier Master with opening balances
    4 – Fixed Asstes Master with opening balances
    5- Employee Master with Salary Details

    Can anyone provide me the excel templetes for those files, I am really appreciated and thankful to you.

    My email address is

    Best regards,
    Kashif Rasheed

  16. Javed khan Says:

    Thanks Sanjit for providing such an important information related to interfaces.

    I have one question can you please help me to clarify my doubt…

    What i have understood from this article that interfaces are meant to transfer or synchronizing the data from one system to other system..

    But when we synchronize the data within oracle apps from one module to other (say OM to install base or OM to AR) then this kind of data synchronization can also be considered as interfacing …


    when data transfermation done between oracle apps with some other legacy system (say Geneva billing) then only it can be said as interfacing .

    Thanks and Regards,
    Javed Khan

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