Data Migration: Best Practices
Data conversion is an important part of any ERP upgrade project, and Logan’s team has extensive experience in completing this crucial step. This blog details the best practices for a data migration.
Make decisions about what history to bring forward
Companies must make decisions about which data to transfer over to the new system. These decisions may include:
- How much history to bring
- Whether to bring all Customers/Supplier/Items or just those that are currently active
These decisions will impact the rest of the Data Conversion process and will have to be incorporated into nearly all of the ETL (Extraction Transformation and Load) routines.
Identifying which data to carry over to the new system also presents an opportunity for companies to clean up their data, making the migration process simpler and creating a fresh, organized start in the new database.
- Assume the data to be converted needs heavy cleansing prior to migration.
- Inactivate in legacy system if possible instead of creating stringent rules for what is to be extracted, as this complicates the extraction
- It is easier to build extraction routines based on the standard ways the legacy software “expires” data.
- Ex: Many data elements have a field on them to indicate they are no longer active. If a standard field is not available, many systems allow for the creation of user-defined fields to achieve this end.
- Using these standard methods to indicate active versus inactive data makes the extraction easier and more accurate as companies use the same rules to determine what data should be converted.
- Once the decision is made on how much data you want to bring, use standard methods in the legacy software to “expire” the data you do not want to bring.
- Start this process as early as possible to ensure data migration goes smoothly
Have a Plan
Document all steps, no matter how small, in a conversion checklist so that the process is tracked and repeatable. This step typically starts during the design phase and runs parallel to it. A very structured plan ensures that the appropriate resources are allocated efficiently. This plan should be tested as prelude to all conference room pilots and user acceptance testing.
Form a Team
Businesses should ensure that their data team has members who encompass the entire breadth of knowledge needed for the migration. It is possible to have one person do the entire conversion, but only if they have in-depth knowledge of the legacy software, the new software, the data standards of the business, and the business processes. Migration teams should include a member that understands the business standards and processes (i.e. customer schedules) and is comfortable in the relevant software environment.
Companies should thoroughly document the process and the results, including data mappings, cross references, and standards. Such documentation may seem tedious but ultimately ensures that the migration is thorough and complete, and that the new system is sustainable.
Companies should also implement a robust process for the review and validation of the data following the migration.
If you are interested in learning more about data migration and/or maximizing the use of your ERP system, contact us here to find out how we can help you grow your business. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 345-8810.
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