When evaluating adopting a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for your firm, one of the major considerations you need to evaluate is the data migration effort associated with leaving a legacy ERP system. The health of your data is critical to the future success of your firm. Whether you are considering migrating to a modern ERP system from consumer software like QuickBooks, or complex enterprise software, you need to have a plan focused around the security, accuracy and integrity of your data. Below are four tips that we believe help promote a successful legacy ERP data migration.
Key Considerations to Ensure a Successful Legacy ERP Data Migration
Clean data in, clean data out. Data consistency is critical for a successful data migration. Prior to migrating your data from your legacy software to your new ERP system you will want to ensure that data is structured in a way such that it can be extracted in an organized and consistent manner. To achieve success with your data migration consider data normalization and cleansing best practices prior to embarking on a migration process. Best practices include:
Data Normalization. Define your normalization process to be performed for your legacy ERP data migration. Examples of data normalization include:
- Elimination of duplicate data records
- Elimination of inactive data records not required for the migration
Data Cleansing. Define your cleansing process to be performed for your legacy ERP system migration. Important items to consider in your data cleansing process include:
- Completion of address fields such as e-mail, zip code, state and county
- Correction of data elements for consistency purposes for fields containing values such as “yes/no"
Avoid the pitfalls of manual data migration. Firms often decide to pursue a manual legacy ERP data migration when automated conversion tools are either not available or the data volume does not justify the effort of setting up an automated conversion tool. We caution firms when considering a manual data migration due to the impact on the overall migration effort. Consider that many of your migration tasks will depend on the availability of data and the execution of a manual migration can be resource intensive. We believe it is important for firms to develop a Manual Data Migration Plan when taking on a manual migration effort. This plan should define the scope of the project and approach to completed each task. You Manual Data Migration Plan should cover:
- Data element mapping and logic with consideration of new fields not supported on your legacy system
- Data entry input format and data preparation procedure
- Cleansing requirements
- Validation and reconciliation requirements and process
Automate data migration where possible. When considering upgrading your critical business systems from a legacy ERP system, it’s important to identify whether or not your new system provides a data migration conversion utility. A data migration conversion utility allows you to easily streamline and automate time-consuming and repetitive data-entry or system conversion tasks, keeping your data secure and accurate.
A few ways that a data conversion utility helps you streamline your business processes include:
- Reduction of repetitive data entry transactions and errors associated with manual entry
- Expediting the data import processes into your new system; decreasing the number of data transfer steps
- Availability of pre-populated templates for initial data upload as well as recurring transactions entries, eliminating creating and uploading new spreadsheets each time
Promote success through a proven data migration process. Before taking on a data migration or hiring a vendor to assist you with your migration, you should take the time to talk with a proven subject matter expert to understand their data migration process. Make sure that the vendor, or key internal resource taking on the conversion, has a proven methodology that addresses data validation, security and speed of migrating your critical business data. For example, below is Strategies Group’s migration methodology:
- Discover – The Strategies Group team works with key stakeholders to form an ERP implementation team. A kickoff meeting is scheduled to review the project plan and communicate the company objectives for the project. In this phase, Strategies Group consultants review the current process, design/configure/setup new processes, and work with key stakeholders to define the scope, migration strategy and desired schedule.
- Design – Strategies Group consultants assist the implementation team in designing, configuring and setting up the new system and business processes. Consultants work with key stakeholders to determine the data quality in the existing system to increase success of the data conversion to the new system.
- Deploy - In this phase, the Strategies Group team delivers the new system to the customer implementation team and continues to educate the implementation team on the new system and the capabilities of the system. Strategies Group and the implementation team work together to identify issues and process adjustments as needed.
- Deliver –The Strategies Group team supports the client in the use of their new system. The Strategies Group team is available for ongoing support and training, and are scheduled on-site to support the go-live process for the new system.
Plan for Success with Your Legacy ERP System Upgrade
In many cases, a well thought out plan is the differentiator between a legacy ERP data migration success or failure. If you are considering upgrading to a modern business system from a legacy ERP system, maximize your return on investment by aligning your efforts with Strategies Group’s proven team of implementation consultants.