I guess I am echoing various other responses, but here's my 2c anyway:

1. There are a whole host of tools that will populate a SQL database from
UniVerse. (I recommend mvQuery: it's my product so I would anyway). You will
need to consider how far each solution can be automated and what it allows
in terms of reformatting information (mvQuery Print Server provides a server
based request system that can be used to shedule regular exports, for
example) but by and large getting the data across probably won't be your
main problem.

2. I would put the actual data migration to one side initially, and consider
first what you want to get out of this. I have seen very successful
'decision support' reporting come out of standard reporting when backed up
by a knowledge of what an application actually holds. In my experience, it
is usually the fact that managers do not know what information is actually
available to them from a transactional system that is the key, and closing
that knowledge gap (often on both sides as communication of requirements can
also be rather thin) is far more important than jumping straight onto a
given technical solution. You could go down the Cognos route and then
discover what they really want is an Excel pivot table.

3. You might want to consider native OLAP solutions such as MITS, which runs
directly on UniVerse. This might be a) cheaper and b) more flexible in the
long run.

4. Before you do any of this, you may need to carefully audit what you have
on your U2 system. One of the biggest problems with data warehousing is
dirty data - missing entries, entries whose meaning has changed over time,
similar but non matching data, etc. These should really be cleaned up at
source, particularly if the warehouse is liable to change/respecification
over its initial period. Verification is important too - the more abstract
the data presented (and OLAP is by its nature highly abstract) the more
opportunity for errors to go unnoticed. Again the verification may need to
be close to the source data: I remember a systems manager saying to me
"beware the spurious credibility of a well presented report".

Brian Leach

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