In our previous blog post, we highlighted the challenges of ERP data migration. This time, we give you some tips and best practices to help you meet those data migration challenges.
Data Migration Strategy and Planning
Having a solid plan is the best way to ensure your ERP data migration project is successful.
Follow these four stages to steer your company through the process, avoiding the kinds of complications that can happen.
1. Bring together a data migration team
It’s important to have a team of people that will oversee the project. This will likely include the staff working on your ERP implementation, as well as others from across the company. Try to involve people from all the departments that have data to be migrated, so that their input is considered. You will probably want to include representatives from: finance and accounting, sales, marketing, HR, and other operational teams such as warehousing, purchasing, production or professional services.
2. Audit and map the data
Next comes the initial part of your ERP data migration action plan and that is analysing and mapping the data. Your team needs to check what data you have, where it is, and what format it is in. If there are any consistency issues, they will need to determine the best way to settle those, agreeing a common format that the organisation will use in the new system.
Once the data is uniform, it needs to be mapped to the ERP’s database structure. It may also need to be converted to a format that your new ERP will understand. This will allow your data to be imported into the ERP without any hitches.
3. Select what data will to keep
In many companies, there’s redundant or obsolete information. You may have data on customers or suppliers that no longer exist. Other detailed financial information, such as historical transactional data, may no longer be required. The team should decide what data is superfluous and discard or delete it. If your own policies dictate that it is all kept, you may prefer to archive it, rather than migrate it to the new system.
4. Migrate and check the data
Finally, it’s time to migrate the data. Your implementation partner may do this for you, and some systems will have specialised import tools that will handle it for you. It’s vital before you ultimately go live with your new system to validate the integrity of your data. Check that it has imported correctly and in full, for all business units, and that the data looks and behaves as expected. Run tests that check the performance of the data, to assess whether it all works as planned.
Best Practices for ERP Data Migration
There are some best practices when it comes to migrating ERP data.
1. Prioritise the data migration
Data migration should be considered a priority. It is vital to the organisation that data is not lost, corrupted or compromised in any way. Migrating it correctly can be an elaborate and time-consuming process that should not be underestimated. Make time for the process as part of your ERP implementation plan and be sure to allocate sufficient resources to the project so that it does not delay the deployment of your new ERP solution. If you tackle the data migration aspects early on, you will also have more time to address any unforeseen issues
2. Consider all uses of the data
Devote time to analysing your data – from right across the business – and how it maps to the new system. Use this stage as an opportunity to study how each of the business functions use the data to make business decisions. This may throw up alternative uses of the data or inform your procedures when it comes to the migration itself.
3. Designate data governance advocates
Clearly assign responsibility for who owns what data. For example, someone should be responsible for the data that will be archived and you will need to comply with national or industry regulations. All companies will need to have appointed a data protection officer under GDPR, so this person will need to have oversight of GDPR compliance.
4. Don’t worry about migrating everything
Not all your data will need to be migrated to your new system. Be selective about what you keep, what you discard and what you archive. Moving everything over might even be detrimental to the performance of the system, slowing it down or making it more difficult for your users to find what they want. If some data will be accessed rarely – or never – then it’s worth considering keeping it in a separate system, rather than migrating it to your new ERP.
Testing Tips for a Successful ERP Data Migration
Here are some tips on testing that will help ensure your data migration is successful.
- Test small and early. Begin testing a small sample of your migrated data early on, so that any issues can be highlighted as soon as possible. You can gradually scale up your testing over time.
- At first, select some typical data for orders and customers and test just that. Then develop that, testing data from across your business, for all areas and uses.
- Create a detailed checklist of tests that reflect the everyday processes your staff will undertake. Follow that list to assess that every procedure and action works as you want it to.
Need Some Help?
Data migration is only one part of the ERP implementation process. If you are planning to upgrade your ERP system, NoBlue has a wide range of NetSuite professional services. Book an appointment or contact us today. We can advise on how best to plan your data migration as well as help you configure your ERP system to suit your business.