It's one of the biggest user bugbears in IT: data migration can be costly, risky and resource intensive.
When user organisations face a significant platform shift, they often go to market for data migration services - developers, DBAs and project managers. In a word, "wetware".
Wellington-based Eight Wire is trying to change that, offering data migration through a point-and-click software tool called Conductor, replacing human wetware with software.
But doing that opens the door to other disruptions, such as offering consumption-based pricing. That in turn creates the opportunity to offer data migration at a fixed price, known upfront before a project commences.
Eight Wire, founded by Jason Gleason and Nigel Thomas, is still a young company. Founded in 2013, it now has seven staff and has completed a seed round of funding.
However, it is already attracting attention from users and ICT industry giants alike. The company won the New Zealand leg of IBM's SmartCamp competition and recently travelled to San Francisco for that company's LaunchScale event.
Customers include paint manufacturer and retailer Resene and Tuatara Brewery.Gleason said he and Thomas had collectively worked for 35 years in business intelligence and integration and repeatedly found it was difficult to deliver products because of the effort required to move data around.
Compiling spreadsheets, databases and other sources into one place where it can be used for analysis or as operational data was extremely difficult and time consuming.
The pair decided to build a tool to do the job, a tool for the business rather than for developers
"We didn't see anybody else working on that," Gleason said.
That tool, Conductor, deals with errors, silos and automating what has been a traditionally manual process.
However, as most tender opportunities in that area are written for services rather than for a software product, Eight Wire has to educate the market.
Conductor can be used in numerous contexts - ERP and other system transitions, shifting operational data onto web-facing apps and for preparing data for business intelligence.
After its seed round and some time at Wellington's Creative HQ incubator, Eight Wire is currently undertaking a second round of funding.
While there can still be a bit of service around edges, Gleason said Conductor's point-and-click interface can be used after a few hours training.
After winning early customers and proving the worth of Conductor, Gleason now wants to see the tool used on more complex projects with "hundreds of data sources"
Partners include CodeBlue, Integration Works, WalkerScott and some internationals.
"We make them look like heroes," Gleason said.
There's been a lot of talk about the automation of programming and development and arguably Eight Wire is doing just that, but Gleason said developers aren't resentful.
"They didn't like that work anyway," he said.
Eight Wire has found the Wellington environment conducive to its development, Gleason said. The city is compact and forces people together to create "out-of-the-box thinking".
"Osmosis works when two things rub together," he said.
In addition to some potentially large government clients, Wellington is also home to cloud accounting company Xero, film studio Weta and a bunch of other tech start-ups and service providers.