Data conversion requirements are often glossed over when planning an ERP project. Oftentimes we speculate this happens because it is an obvious task in most projects. However, the conversion process still requires focused planning and teams should make a concerted effort to stay engaged.
Many companies house significantly more data than needed. In an effort to reduce the tremendous workload of data cleansing, it is best to take a hard look at what data is needed in the new system. Can the organization run successfully with a subset of their current data? For example, an organization may only extract and clean customers or items that have transactional activity in the past year or two. Data that falls outside of the cutoff may still be needed for historical reporting. If this is the case, a good reporting tool may be required to access both legacy and new ERP systems.
Focused Clean Up
In many cases, the volume of data can be daunting, yet the benefits of training and testing with real data can’t be overstated. Too often the cleanup effort takes so long that clean, relevant data isn’t available until too far into the project. In these cases, the organization should evaluate their core business areas and scenarios. For example, the organization may have several product lines, with both import and export variations. This exercise may follow value streams and business process mapping, brands, product types, channels, etc. The team can focus the data cleanup on a smaller set of data that supports these different areas. Through testing, data gaps are uncovered and can then be addressed across the entire data set. This helps prevent rework and having to touch the same records multiple times.
Load Early and Often
In the best cases, it is possible to load data easily and often. Many systems have simplified data loading and even provide Excel import functionality. This allows for an iterative loading process where the team can load, test, rework and reload data often. This feature is ideal in that all data doesn’t have to be cleansed and loaded at once. Obviously these features need to be controlled with security, especially after go-live.
With ERP data conversion, the devil is in the details. With thorough planning, focused efforts and iterative cycles, accurate data is available earlier in your project, all while reducing the number of times each record has to be reviewed.
To learn more about improving your business processes, refer to our whitepaper “A Roadmap for Business Performance Improvement.”