We are all living in a data-driven business environment. The list of data is seemingly endless. From employee information to company information, supplier, and customer invoice data, and up to customer data and vendor documents. It can feel overwhelming, as though you were drowning in a sea of data. Where do you even start?
The efficient processing of these massive amounts of data is one of the main priorities or focus of any business. Inaccurate information can directly impact a business and its bottom line, and so, the integrity of the company’s real health is imperative. When the processed data is inconsistent and inaccurate and then fed into an ERP system, it can be a critical factor in providing incorrect projections on your company’s health. Inaccurate data plays a central role in the failure of execution of processes as well as bringing your company down entirely.
Let’s dive into why data migration is critical in the implementation in your ERP systems, the obstacles that are linked with the process of migration, the risks, and some best practices of data migration that will adhere to your budget and assure efficiency.
Why is Data Migration critical?
Data migration is, a majority of the time, the foundation in gauging the failure or success of the implementation of your ERP system. One of the primary functions of an ERP system is managing data; therefore, the proper and efficient migration of data is vital to the project’s execution. Unless the starting balance of accounts is right, you shouldn’t expect your system to dish out accurate information.
Data migration aims to ensure that the migrated data is cleaned and made accurate. This also includes making sure that the information is free from duplicity and redundancy. The data should be arranged so that the ERP system you are using can analyze it further to paint a full and accurate picture of the business’s health.
Common ERP Software Data Migration Challenges
Here are some of the most common challenges that organizations face over the course of migrating data that you will need to address beforehand. Every organization, however, has its own unique set of problems, which requires a thorough assessment beforehand.
- Data Integrity
- Devoting insufficient time understanding and studying the data.
- Lack of time and attention to the quality of the data and its discovery.
- Basing analysis on small increments of data thus running the risk of incorrect conclusions
- Processing large and complex blocks of data
- Inadequate data cleaning, making that data irrelevant to the required context.
- Lack of knowledge in the data processing
- Not enough knowledge or information on how the targeted system operates.
- Not enough knowledge or information on how the systems of the source operate.
- Role-related and system challenges
- Limited access to the targeted system
- Inaccurate or inadequate input from the concerned teams.
The Risk of Inferior Strategies for Data Migration
There is a lot to consider if you are in the process of migrating your data. But your main goal is to make sure that the implementation is a success. But before you can do that, you need to know the importance of data migration. It is extremely time-consuming to transfer data from one format of a storage type to a new ERP system. A well-strategized approach assures you that you can follow the timeline of the implementation plan. That way, you can avoid costly overruns and launch with clean and quality data to help you reach your business goals more effectively. But the risks of inferior strategies for data migrations are many. Here are a few.
- Processing incomplete and inaccurate data.
- Substandard performance of your new system that will deliver below expected results.
- The unnecessary cost spent on remedial actions to clean data and directing more resources to carry out these tasks to stay on track on your pre-determined timeline.
- The possible cost of missing deadlines if you miss the deadline for data cleaning and migration.
- Wasted valuable time on creating new strategies for workarounds that will be executed by employing additional people to carry out these tasks.
- A decline in management confidence due to unsatisfied user experience.
- The falling out of confidence with your ERP partner and vendor.
- The lack and possible breakdown of communication across all concerned stakeholders which would further degenerate the inferior strategy of the data migration.
- The incapacity to maximize the full potential of your ERP system and reap the benefits of its features.
Best Practices on Data Migration
Data migration is a massive portion of the implementation process of your new ERP system. It is affected by the number of systems that your company is using, the number of sites that are launching or going live, the presence of legacy operating systems, the number of end-users that are participating on the data transfer, and the regulations within your business industry, to name a few.
For you to avoid delays and disruptions, you should start and deal with all your data and its migration.
Here are 4 data migration practices that you should consider on your journey.
1. Plan well ahead of time
The first task to ensure a successful migration of data is to create a strategy based on the goals and business model of the entire implementation process. Such an approach is the building block of an extensive data migration strategy. This will include the segregation of content into different categories depending on its use and importance to future operations, which would remove low-value data. This will speed up the process for the teams and external users. This strategy will also extract necessary information and segregate it. This will also help the company analysts that are participating in analyzing the data and providing quality reports, analysis, and content from the data collected. This can be used to streamline your operations and provide relevant insights, which would lead to faster and quality decisions that would enhance the results at the end of the day. It is just as important to evaluate the data and its complexity as well as analyze the available resources for the migration of data to help configure which data should be discarded and which data should be archived.
2. Develop a strategy
Your ERP implementation partner will be a key factor in the process of migration however, your company’s participation is equally needed. Create an outline and distribute it throughout your company and assign roles and delegate tasks that will empower decision-makers. Use your stakeholder’s awareness to prioritize making well-informed decisions about which strategy should be adopted and business tasks. Set-up a sequence of actions with deadlines depending on the quality of resources available and the volume of data to be processed for migration. All while adhering to known best practices. Work in a systematic way and fight the impulse to go for a big bang type of approach.
3. Develop standards and stick to them
Data is stored differently for each source and system from others. This is the reality regardless of how many systems you are working with. Each concerned department would also most likely have used its pattern of information classification. Make sure to create a standard and stick to it. Create a standardized template across all concerned parties that will support uniformity in a standardized format of data. This will take cooperation and collaboration among executive managers and department managers. Deliver and distribute data mapping source of data destination to ensure that the correct data is in the right destination system. Remove and abandon data that is not necessary and clean complex data that is coming from more than one source.
4. Sufficient testing
There are different kinds of tests that are common in the process of data migration such as; batch application, system, and unit to name a few. In general, it is a good practice to ensure that all of these tests are executed as soon as possible before the transfer is confirmed for each unit. This will help in avoiding the collection of redundant data issues, until in the later stages of the cycle, which would have been more costly. Another issue is the transient counter of data. Sine data is a type of data that is never consistent, and it is always changing within the source’s system. Therefore, sufficient testing and auditing should be executed before every milestone to streamline the revision of decisions when necessary.
Data Migration for Your Success
In ERP implementation, the migration of data is one of the most time-consuming and vital aspects of the process of implementation. However, a lot of companies and or organizations end up making a lot of mistakes when it comes to the migration of ERP systems. Constant coordination and communications between the different teams are extremely vital to the success of data migration. Once you are certain that you are all on the same page with your ERP partner, then it is time to move forward with the process of migration. Plan for the data, create and develop a sturdy migration strategy, stick to standards, and carry out enough testing to see the results you have been working on.
In ERP implementation, data migration is one of the most time-consuming and vital aspects of the ERP implementation process. That much we can safely say. However, data migration remains one of the easiest processes to mess up.
The fundamental goal of successful enterprise resource planning software deployment is committing to getting started and devoting your efforts to the data being migrated. The early bird catches the worm. That’s why it’s better to start it early to identify challenges and fix them in a piecemeal manner, rather than making wholesale changes to the project implementation plan just before going 100% live and direct.
A well-structured and developed ERP data migration plan with backup and contingency plans is the bedrock on which a successful ERP system implementation plan is based on. It should be as accurate as possible to identify problems and nip them in the bud while there remains plenty of time to fix them. Above all, organizations should stick to the plan and see it through.
Contingency plans are also central to any ERP data migration plan. This allows senior management as well as technical teams to remain focused on the goal and remain calm when things don’t go exactly as initially planned (and this will happen more often than most people think).
Last, but not the least, organizations should be triply diligent when managing and keeping data integrity moving forward. This will ensure that your organization’s chosen ERP platform remains at peak functionality.