Best Practices for Migrating ERP Data

Migrating ERP data is the process of transferring data between your legacy ERP, accounting, or other business solution over to your new ERP system. When implementing a new ERP, precise data migration can make or break your ERP project. In fact, your data migration can put your business on the path to success or doom it to failure-it’s that important. Because the process represents as much as 50% of all the overall work required for your implementation, you can avoid unforeseen setbacks further down the road by planning your data migration strategy early.

Consider the troves of business data your company uses, from employee information, customer details, general ledgers, sales invoices, supplier and vendor histories, customer relationships. The list goes on and on. 

Enterprise Resource Planning projects are business transformations, game-changing overhauls that often require hundreds or thousands of activities and variables to come together for a successful project. ERP project teams are often caught by surprise by underestimating the importance of the data migration process.  

It makes sense, without a successful migration, your new ERP system is dead in the water. Inaccurate and inconsistent data can become an ineffective indicator of how your business is performing if fed into an ERP system.

To overcome data migration problems be aware of common migration challenges that need to be considered right away and adopt best practices. Four main challenges rise to the surface for most ERP data migrations:

  • Ensuring the data credibility
  • Inexperience among project team in data migrations or working with data in general
  • Insufficient access to the destination ERP system
  • Inaccurate or inadequate input 

Best Practices for Migrating ERP Data

ERP implementation teams need to study and understand the data they intend to migrate to have an appropriate interpretation of the data during the discovery phase. Inaccurate, incomplete, and even false data results in the substandard ERP performance, incapable of delivering relevant or expected results. 

Collecting Data

The first step to an effective ERP data migration is taking inventory and collecting the right data. Start by determining what data is relevant to collect from your legacy ERP to be transferred and populated into your new ERP environment. This includes all master data, GL history, open AP and AR transactions, and more. You’ll then work with your team and software vendor to pluck the data from the legacy system.

Cleaning Data

Data migration involves more than copying and pasting data from source to destination. Before you can begin thinking about reaping all the benefits from a new ERP system, you first need to clean, accurate and up-to-date data from which to start operating. 

If you have been operating like many businesses without standardization, those who have complex manual input processes into your legacy system, then your data will be dirty. You need to validate this data to go-live with clean, essential, and meaningful data if you hope to meet and exceed your new ERP’s business objectives. 

Once you’ve determined the required data for transfer, it’s time to cleanse the data singular, active records. Eliminate duplicate data or data you no longer need before the migration. While your software vendor can assist you in this part of the process, you know your data best, so scrubbing your legacy data is best done by your internal project team.

Converting data from your old solution for import into your new ERP solution can get too complicated and cost-prohibitive. It’s often recommended to preserve a data copy within the existing accounting solution on an individual workstation if you run into a bad migration or have an inquiry into historical data.

Adhering to data standards

Regardless of how many data sources or business systems you are migrating from, each data source is different and stores data in a distinct format. It’s vital to stick to some manner of standardization for all data. It’s common to see project teams struggle with identifying the right data migration methodology, which can easily be over- or under-engineered. 

For large-scale data migrations (terabytes to petabytes worth of data), your software vendor will typically provide you with product or service options that enable you to move data from a data source to a destination – for example, your legacy ERP to the new ERP. These options typically include online and offline selections.

If data is tricky, but smaller in volume, it may be better to manually enter the data and spend time writing one-time use migration scripts. On the other hand, sizable transactional data migrations, such as historical supplier info, open sales order lines, and detailed customer data, tend to contain intricate mapping and business logic, which require automated scripts.

Testing your data

Several tests are common to the data migration process: unit, system, volume, batch application, and more. Ensure all tests are performed early and before your data migration is finalized. A massive accumulation of redundant data issues are costly to fix later so address data concerns before the migration process begins. Be sure to do sufficient auditing and testing before each project milestones to expedite remediation.

One key point is that there is no one-size-fits-all migration strategy. Each data set should be carefully evaluated to determine the best approach. Keep in mind the old programming adage: “Junk in, Junk out,” meaning if you populate your new system with irrelevant data, you will get irrelevant output and results. Cleaning your source data before migration is a critical task that cannot be overlooked. 

Contact us to talk about your data migration and how you can save big by bringing speed, accuracy, and insight to your organization through modern enterprise resource planning.

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