ERP data migration is a significant and time-consuming operation that may lead to a number of challenges in one’s organization if not planned and executed properly and supported by automation technology. Data preparation and migration for enterprise resource planning are important but time-consuming and expensive processes that need extensive planning, rigorous preparation, and a collaborative effort. All of this stems from the fact that the company's data is one of the most important assets required for its success. But the scale, complexity and potential risk of data, can make the process daunting. As a result, data migration should be meticulous, precise, and, above all, thorough.
What is ERP Data Migration, and is it Necessary?
ERP data migration is a time-consuming process of transferring data from primary sources to a newly implemented ERP system database. The early systematic data transfer is probably unavoidable when your firm adopts a new enterprise resource planning solution.
The most prevalent causes for a new solution are the system's and data structure's obsolescence, the end of existing ERP support, or the absence of data consolidation.
Client, product, partner, and supplier data is often stored in a variety of forms and storage locations. ERP transfer frequently entails consolidating data into a single interconnected system to allow for easier and faster information retrieval and search.
Many individuals inside and outside the firm, particularly customers and suppliers, rely on data integrity and continuity. Due to information redundancy and storage or file errors, the older the existing system is, the more unanticipated mistakes might arise.
There are certain issues you must solve on the route of data transfer since it is unavoidable. Costs of relocation, mistakes in the information (data quality), misunderstanding, and disagreements between offices and departments (the data owners) are the most common.
Because of the high costs, many people choose to simplify or ignore the rigours of data transfer, resulting in duplication and discrepancies and inevitably, significant data quality problems. Differences in classification or a lack of collaboration across departments might result in the same outcome.
ERP Data Migration: Best Practices and Tips
Build a Stellar Migration Team
It's critical to develop an ERP data migration plan that incorporates many essential aspects to guide the business through the often challenging process of migrating data to the new ERP system. To begin, assemble a team of individuals who will be in charge of determining which data has to be transmitted and how to clean it up. They will define and agree on what the critical data elements are. The data migration team is normally part of your overall ERP installation team, and it will often comprise members from several business areas who can give insight into how data is used in their respective organizations.
In addition to building a stellar team, be sure to determine who will be responsible for data cleansing. There is a widespread belief that the IT department can handle all data cleanup. While data quality software is available, it can only assist in identifying prospective areas for cleansing. Technologies like Data Sentinel can automate the process of identifying suspect data quality issues.
Someone still needs to know which of the two separate address entries for a corporation is correct, for example. A qualified person should also double-check that a closing balance is proper. Most of the time, the person responsible for cleaning these documents is not in the department, but rather in the department that owns the records or the data. These people are known as data owners, and they're in charge of developing rules and criteria to ensure that data is of high quality. Once those data quality rules are known, they can be implemented into the data quality tool to inspect the data measured against the quality rules defined by the data owner, automating the data discovery and quality processes, related to the critical data elements needed for the ERP migration.
IT employees should support data owners by identifying the data flow, integration points where data is updated, and data sources that are available.
Properly Analyze and Conduct Mapping of Your Data
Look for redundancy and inconsistencies in the data in each of the source systems. Before importing data into the ERP system, the data migration team will need to figure out how to overcome such concerns. You'll also need to match the data to the structure of the ERP database during this phase of the deployment so that automated tools can import the data. Leverage automated data mapping technology to discover, classify, find quality issues, find data duplicates and map your critical data elements.
Remove Any Duplicate Data
Duplicate data can be distinguished in one of two ways - examples: Fit-form-function duplicates are two or more things that have different manufacturer names and part numbers but the same fit, form, and function. Direct duplicates are two or more data elements that have the identical manufacture name, part number, and description.
Decide What Actually Needs to Be Migrated (Because It Won’t Be Everything)
Older systems may contain outdated data or what we call ROT (redundant, outdated or trivial) data, such as customers who haven't ordered in years, suppliers who have gone out of business, and information about obsolete items. Historical data regarding previous transactions may also be stored in systems. Much of the data may not be needed in the new system, so depending on your data retention policy, you can keep it offline or in a different system.
Companies continue to believe that by migrating all of the data from the old system to the new ERP software, the data will be scrubbed and standardized by the software. That simply isn't the case. Would you put rubbish and clutter in the moving truck if you were relocating to a new home? You probably don't need to carry over every single piece of data when switching to a new ERP system. Some of this information is outdated, unneeded, or just plain garbage.
The more meaningless data you bring over, the more difficult it will be to identify the data you actually need, perhaps delaying go-live. Companies have a tendency to store data in the hopes that someone, somewhere down the line, may require that one piece of information. An ERP project is an excellent chance to declutter your data holdings and simplify. Automating the process of data discovery of just the critical data elements that are needed, is a major cost reduction opportunity.
Invest Enough Time into Testing
Testing the data in the final structure will ensure that every group and department has a correct conclusion and that you're on the right track.
Understand Your Resource Requirements
Developers will be required to transform data, and data owners will be required to examine and cleanse data. You may also require executives to evaluate particular sorts of data. This will most likely include data items that are fundamental to the organization's culture. These may be issues that your company has avoided because they appear to be too difficult to handle in the past. You may also require change management and business process management resources since you will most likely need to teach personnel how to enter, manage, and analyze data once the new system is in place.
Keep Regulatory Compliance and Risk in Mind
Data risk, data privacy and regulatory restrictions vary depending on the industry, data sources, the kind of data, and the location of the data. Some rules, such as HIPAA with electronic medical records, limit the ability to update and/or export specific types of data records. If your organization has industry-specific regulatory requirements, you should carefully assess your data preparation strategy with these issues in mind. What is the risk profile of your data and what do you need to do to minimize and control that risk?
Make Sure Data Migration is the Priority
Be wary of the lift and shift mentality! It's easy to be tempted to lift and shift due to the complexity, time, effort and cost data migration entails. Data migration takes time, and if you don't prepare correctly, it can cause your entire implementation to be delayed or fail. It's critical to get started early and devote sufficient resources to avoid becoming a bottleneck. Begin creating procedures for extracting and purifying data from source systems towards the start of the deployment. Use technologies and automation and tools to reduce cost, simplify and control the timeline.
Focus on the Data Complexities of Large-Scale International Projects
Different systems speaking a range of ERP languages will be encountered in global ERP projects, built on top of cultural and linguistic variations. It's critical to recognize these difficulties early on and explain to your project team where you think executive choices are required. This will avoid delayed data conversion intervals, allowing engineers to remain engaged. If your project is worldwide, you'll also need a signed statement from the executive steering committee outlining who is accountable for master and transactional data at the global, regional, and national levels.
Use the Migration as an Opportunity to Evaluate Your Business Use of Data
Spend time examining your existing data, thinking about how it will be utilized within the ERP system, mapping it to the structure of the ERP database, and putting up procedures for converting the data to the new structure during migration before commencing the migration. An ERP deployment allows you to analyze data in real-time to have a better understanding of your business. Consider how data will be utilized for decision-making throughout the whole organization, as well as by each department prior to the migration project.
Define the critical data elements, get rid of ROT data, improve your data quality, ensure policy and regulatory data compliance, reduce the risk of your data, and simplify your data architecture. All while completing your ERP data migration on time and on budget.
Define Attributes Early On
To classify goods, most ERP systems employ some form of taxonomy. Master records must be categorized accurately, thoroughly, and to a degree of detail that makes them easy to find and report on.
While it is not required to use a specific taxonomy, it is vital to use one that supports your company's business goals. As a result, make sure your ERP expert is familiar with taxonomy selection and employment. Attributes in item records perform a similar purpose. Attributes are vital for effective parametric searches since they define the object. Incomplete or erroneous qualities make it difficult to locate products, resulting in an overabundance of components and bloated inventories.
We propose extracting, standardizing, and finalizing item characteristics ahead of time to guarantee a successful ERP data conversion effort. Because of the large number of qualities to be retrieved and enhanced, automating the process is the only viable option.
Within Your Team, Don’t Forget to Assign Roles for Data Governance
Assign responsibilities to your team and specify who owns which data. For instance, the team will need to figure out which version of redundant customer data is correct and should be entered into the ERP system. It's also a good opportunity to choose someone to be in charge of general compliance with any rules that apply to your company. A blunder under new standards like the CCPA and GDPR may be expensive.
Use the Migration as an Opportunity to Develop New Processes
You will have additional data to cleanse once the initial data cleansing is completed unless employees embrace new methods that enable data correctness. These procedures are still worth developing, even if they were created for outdated systems that will shortly be discontinued. Consider the reality that the majority of ERP initiatives take years to complete. Are you willing to put up with two more years of stale data? Companies should restructure their business processes and prepare personnel for both the future and current intermediate stage, according to our recommendations. Maintaining data purity necessitates both business process reengineering and organizational change management.
Don’t Forget to Test BEFORE the Migration – Not Just After
By shifting data to test environments, you can see if you're on the correct road with your data. This will take time and usually need the creation of unique code. Make sure you don't leave it till the last minute.
Automation is the Key to Success
With new and evolving technologies on the market today, you can automate most of the data preparation process. If there is one key takeaway, it's to find and use these technologies to reduce the cost, complexity, time and effort needed to ensure a successful ERP migration. Data Sentinel is one of these options.