If you’re implementing a new ERP system, you have to think carefully about what you want to do with all of the data in your current ERP or accounting system. Many businesses think it’s a no-brainer, “of course we need all of that data, its important!” but all of that data is not as valuable as you think. Further, the cost of migrating data can add to the price of your ERP implementation project. So, should you migrate existing data into your new ERP system? That depends on how you answer the following questions:
Is your current data as valuable as you think it is?
As mentioned above, most people just assume that their current ERP data is priceless when the reality is that it’s usually pretty inaccurate depending on what kind of data you’re talking about. Financial data is usually pretty well kept, but customer information, account information, etc. tend to get pretty dirty and may not be worth it to transfer into the new system do to the cost of data migration and the fact that you don’t want to bring bad data into a new system. Here are a few questions to help you decide if your current data is as valuable as you think it is.
- Is your current data accurate and updated regularly?
- Is the current data accessed regularly?
- Do you NEED the data for reports?
- Is the data in your system used to make important business decisions?
If you find yourself saying “No” to most of the above, then you very likely should not bring the old data into the new system.
How much manual clean-up will it take to migrate the old data?
Moving data into the new system means you must be able to extract it from your current system, and that means it needs to be structured in such a way to do that. Another factor to consider is whether or not the fields are consistent. For example, some fields should only have numeric data, but if your old ERP system allowed for free form entry, you may have non-numeric values that you’re going to need to go in and clean up before exporting it and moving it to the new ERP system. If there will be a significant amount of this time consuming work, it may not be worth it; especially depending on how you answered the questions in the above section.
Would manual data entry of some fields be smarter than data migration?
While it goes against everything most business software stands for, you may be better off in some cases to enter data into the new system manually. For example, if you have only a handful of records with a certain field, you could avoid the expense of having the vendor or ERP consultant migrate that data by adding it in manually. Just be careful you do not elect to manually enter too much data to the point that you’re slowing down your ERP implementation.
In the majority of cases, migrating data from the old system into the new one is a necessity, but you should never take that step until you’ve answered the above questions. This is only the beginning of this conversation, in the second part of this article we’ll discuss a few more important questions and talk about the ERP data migration process itself. Stay tuned!