Data migration can be challenging, but it is a crucial component of implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Every ERP solution is built upon the foundation of a shared database that gives all employees throughout the organisation access to a centralised, consistent set of information. When you implement a new ERP system, you must move all the key data stored on your old systems into the new database.
This process of data migration can often prove complex and time-consuming. This is why careful planning is of the utmost importance. If you underestimate the time and effort this process takes, the implementation of the ERP platform may be delayed. The accuracy of the transferred data is critical since many aspects of your business are going to rely on the database – this is not something you can afford to get wrong.
How do you define data migration?
Data migration for ERP implementation is the process of moving data from its original locations to the database of the new ERP system. This frequently involves making data transfers from a number of different formats, systems and storage mediums into a single, centralised structure.
Before an ERP is adopted, some departments may rely on systems that are specifically designed to support their functions alone. This often consists of things like standalone human resources or accounting applications. Other groups within the organisation may rely on broader tools like spreadsheets.
When migrating the data from these disparate departments, a methodical approach must be deployed. Before importing it into the new database, the data from these applications must be:
Key Points to Remember When Migrating Data
- The challenges of data migration include time, cost, issues with data redundancy and integrity, potential regulatory concerns and stakeholder support.
- Successful ERP implementation hinges on the quality of your data migration strategy. You should have a dedicated team to analyse data, perform the migration and evaluate the results.
- Best practices for ERP integration include starting early on the migration process to avoid delays in the ERP deployment. The data migration is also an opportunity to discover and remove obsolete historical data.
Why is data migration so important when implementing an ERP system?
The data migration process is absolutely fundamental to the data in the new ERP platform being complete and accurate. Many people throughout your organisation will be relying on this historical data, so accuracy is paramount. It’s also especially important to remain compliant with regards to retention of records.
Well-executed data migration can also ensure the wider ERP implementation project remains on budget and on schedule. As you carry it out, there will be opportunities to remove obsolete data that is no longer needed from the older systems. If you under-prioritise data migration, you are likely to encounter issues like inaccurate or duplicate data and your go-live data might be delayed.
Common Challenges with Data Migration
There are many challenges that can arise during ERP data migration:
The cost associated with extracting, cleaning and restructuring data can end up making up a substantial part of the budget for implementing the ERP. Even if the process is relatively simple, like moving data from an older ERP to a new one, the data migration process can add 10-15% to the overall cost of the new system.
2. Integrity of data and data redundancy
Different departments may have their own copies of the same information about certain products or customers. This doesn’t necessarily mean their data is identical, however, since different departments may use different criteria for categorising data.
For example, you may find that names and addresses are stored in different formats, or there might be different addresses for the same customer. Simply importing every record from every departmental system into the database is likely to lead to data duplication and inaccuracies.
3. Regulatory concerns
There are many regional and industry-specific regulations that impact the way organisations store and use data. When making data transfers, compliance with these regulations is essential. For example, legislation like GDPR requires organisations to retain the ability to delete all records of a customer’s personal data on request.
4. Stakeholder buy-in
Company managers have a number of priorities, and ERP data migration may struggle to make the list. But buy-in from stakeholders is important for the avoidance of internal conflict. Management backing can be pivotal in ensuring all departments cooperate to produce a consistent set of data when they have been accustomed to entering data in different ways.
4 Steps to Building Your ERP Data Migration Strategy
1. Assign a migration team
Put a team together that will be responsible for making decisions about the data to be transferred and the ways to clean it up. This will be part of your overall ERP implementation team and should include members of different business groups whose insights will help understand how those groups use data.
2. Analyse and map your data
Data in each of the source systems should be examined to identify inconsistencies and redundancies. The team must decide on resolutions for these issues before the data migration takes place, and you will need to map out the ERP database for each phase of the implementation so automation tools can handle the data import.
3. Decide what will be migrated
Identify obsolete data that does not need to be in the new system. If you wish, you can store it offline in a separate system (depending on your data retention policies).
4. Migrate and test
Modern ERP systems often include automation tools for data import. You may need to rationalise the data first and perhaps convert it into a form that the ERP can recognise. Once the migration is complete, run tests for every group in the organisation before going live.
Best Practices for Data Migration
- Data migration should be a priority. It’s a lot of work and, if it’s done wrong, the whole ERP implementation can be delayed.
- Think about how the data will be used by the business. This enables you to map it to the structure of the ERP database and establish rules for translating that data during migration. You want this data to enable the ERP to give you useful insights and analytics, so it needs to work for the ERP’s database.
- Think about data governance responsibility. Who owns which data? Assign roles within the team and pay close attention to compliance regulations that affect your business.
- Be selective with the data as not all historical data needs to be immediately accessible. Optimise the process and your new systems by weeding out obsolete data.
After reading this article, the importance of data migration during an ERP project should be appatrant. Data is the lifeblood of any business, and migrating it should be a big consideration when moving to new business systems.
The result of losing data, or data being imported into new systems inaccurately can be severe. Not only can your business become non-compliant with various data regulations, but day to day operations and reporting can become compromised.
When migrating to new business systems, it’s essential to follow all of the required steps and make data migration a serious priority, allowing time to get it right. It’s also essential to work with a partner who has experience in migrating data accurately and securely.
Why choose Eventura for your ERP project?
Eventura has been providing robust business solutions to countless organizations for over two decades. We are ERP and data migration experts who can identify all of your business needs, and deliver a comprehensive ERP solution that works for you.
As Sage 200 Partners and NetSuite Solution Providers, we can help you identify which solution will fit your business needs the best. Our expert team of business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff can guide you through your entire project, from initial scoping through to implementation and on-going support.
We also have extensive experience in Sage 50 to Sage 200 migrations, ensuring all of your data is carried across with you, without any disruption to your business.
We’re also managed IT service providers meaning we can help you identify your entire IT infrastructure requirements from day one. If you would like to speak to one of our ERP experts, you can request a free call back here.