8 Steps to Include in Your ERP Data Migration Plan



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: July 5, 2021

Big data drives most modern businesses, and it never sleeps. Simply put, you have to ensure data integration and data migration are well-established, seamless processes. You need to have a streamlined process even if the data is migrating from inputs to a data lake, from a data warehouse to a data mart, from one repository to another, or in or through the cloud. 

What is data migration?

Data migration involves moving data either from one place to another, one application to another, or from one format to another. Companies practice this method to introduce a new location or system for data.

 8 Key steps in ERP data migration strategy

While defining the ERP data migration strategy, the organizations need to define the type of migration they want to use big bang (full migration) or trickle (migration process in phases). To choose any of these, businesses have to draw out the technical architecture for detailing the migration processes.

By keeping in mind the design, target system, and data to be pulled over, you must start defining timelines for the concerned project. Once you are done with this, the whole ERP project will be documented.

While planning, don’t forget to consider security plans for your data. You can seamlessly thread protection plans throughout the process for any data that needs special security.

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1. Allocate Data Cleaning Responsibilities

Companies often believe that all the data cleaning can be easily handled by the IT team. This is a common misunderstanding, and while there is cleaning software available, these programs can only help with defining regions that require cleaning.

For example, out of two address documents for business, people still need to understand the correct one. A knowledgeable person is also required to check if a closing equilibrium is right or not.

In certain situations, the person in charge of cleaning up the data may not be part of the IT department, they might be part of the sales department. However, they may belong to the department that owns the data. These individuals are information managers, and their role is crucial to establish some quality information, norms, and guidelines. IT employees can help data holders to define the information flow, where to update the information, and what information sources to look for.

A few examples of data cleaning are mentioned here:

  • Cleaning duplicate accounts of clients or suppliers
  • Clearing old stock codes which aren’t in use anymore
  • Master information not categorized as prevalent taxonomy
  • Fields of the blank description of items
  • Removing data for a client who has terminated the contract with the company
  • Important data stored in your Excel, which is not included in the recording scheme

2. Remove Duplicate Data

There are two ways to identify duplicate items:

  1. The direct duplicates include either two or more items with the same manufacturer name, description, and part number.
  2. The fit-form-function data duplicates typically include two or more items with different manufacturer names and part numbers. However, they may have the same form, function, and fit.

Ensure you are getting rid of both these types for a better migration experience.

3. Determine Requirements Resources

To clear data, you will require developers to help you convert the data. You will also need data owners for reviewing and cleansing your data. Additionally, having a few executives handy to review certain types of data is also recommended. You are most likely to need data elements related to the core of your organization’s culture. These elements may include items that your organization has avoided because, at that point, they seemed difficult to address.

Other resources you are likely to need include executives for change management and business process management. You will have to train employees on managing, analyzing, and inputting data after the new system is implemented.

4. Consider Industry Regulations

Different industries have different regulatory requirements. 

For instance, a few regulations restrict the ability to change and/or export certain kinds of data records. An example of this is HIPAA, which restricts exporting data of electronic medical records from one location to another.

Before carrying out ERP data migration, carefully consider your method of data cleansing. Check whether you need in-system data or Excel data cleaning based on your company’s industry-specific regulatory requirements.

5. Define Attributes and Taxonomies

The majority of the ERP systems make use of taxonomy to classify items easily. You have to correctly and completely classify master records in great detail. By doing this, you can make the record easy to identify for search and report-related functions.

It is unnecessary to choose a particular taxonomy, but you must have a taxonomy for supporting your company’s business initiatives. You have to ensure your ERP consultant has a good amount of experience with taxonomy selection and deployment processes.

Item record attributes are equally essential because they help you define items. Besides, they are significant for effective parametric searches. If you have incomplete or incorrect attributes, it can prevent items from being found. And this can result in excess inventories or even proliferation of parts.

To carry out a successful ERP implementation, you must extract, normalize, and complete item attributes beforehand. Since the volume of attributes for extraction and enrichment is huge, an automated approach seems like the only practical way to do this.

6. Develop New Processes

After you are done with the initial data cleansing, there will still be plenty of data to cleanse. You can avoid this if you ensure your employees adopt new processes for enabling better data accuracy.

These processes are indeed designed for legacy systems that will soon be retired, but they are still worth your time and effort.

Given that most ERP projects last for years, will you be able to endure two (or more) years of messy data?

To avoid this scenario, companies can redesign their business processes and train employees for the future and the interim state alike. Organizational change management and business process reengineering together play a special role in maintaining neat data.

7. Don’t Migrate All Your Data

Industries believe the notion that migrating all the information from the legacy system to fresh ERP software is a good idea. They believe the software will somehow magically wipe and optimize it.

This is not true.

Take this, for instance; you won’t place garbage and clutter in the moving van if you were moving to a new house. Just like this, you don’t have to carry every bit of information when you are moving to a new ERP system. You need to eliminate information that is unclean, useless, or just garbage for you. Having useless information will make it difficult for you to find the information you are looking for.

Companies often tend to hoard data, thinking it might be useful to someone someday. An ERP system is a great way to clean such useless data and make room for important information.

8. Testing Before Migration

It is important to find out if you’re shifting information to test environments and that your data is on the right path. To check whether you are on the right track, move your data to test environments. Although check time-consuming and ERP security, you will have to develop a special unique code for this process. Don’t leave the code development until the last minute because you don’t want to make a security error when exiting it.

Final Thought

Data migration is not important during the initiation phase of a project.

If your company avoids or delays the data migration process, your new system won’t provide reliable data. This will lead to several technical challenges, low system usage, short benefits realization, and customer dissatisfaction.

 It is true, ERP data migration and cleansing can be significantly costly to an already costly ERP project, but it will pay off almost immediately. After successfully migrating your data, you can easily get through the identification of excess inventory and reduced equipment downtime and enjoy improved data insights.

The above points can help your organization develop a robust ERP data migration strategy. They will help you ensure the ERP software offers reliable data to all participants from the minute it goes live until it’s discharged.

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