Migrating data is one of the most complicated parts of successfully implementing a new ERP software. Everyone undergoing the process asks the same question: Can’t data migration be easier? Fortunately, by following 5 key steps and best practices, your business can optimize the complex data migration process to streamline ERP implementation.
These are the 5 necessary steps for migrating data to a new ERP system:
The very first step is to build a team to handle the migration process from start to finish. Data migration needs consistency and expertise to work, which a dedicated team can provide.Should any issues arise during the migration or implementation, they can be the first responders and know exactly what is happening.
Members on the team should first include representatives from the IT department, preferably those who are already familiar with the company’s current data management methods. They should also have some knowledge of the new ERP and how it works.
Next, the team should include members from different departments to provide additional context to data. For example, an accountant can point out which information needs to be migrated from their department in order to stay compliant with financial standards. By involving multiple areas of the company on the team, there’s a smaller chance of important data being overlooked.
The next step is to analyze the data your business already has. Pick what information will actually be migrated to reduce redundancy from duplicate data. This is also an opportunity to clean up digital clutter so the new ERP can start as fresh as possible. And if you want to modify any business processes in the future, such as updating inventory codes, now is the time to make those changes.
Remember: don’t bring what isn’t needed! This is what slows down a lot of ERP implementations: exporting bloated, unnecessary data. The assembled team should consider what data is no longer useful for current operations and leave it behind during the migration. This part of the migration process can get tricky due to data compliance regulations and security measures, as some information needs to be saved even if it is otherwise outdated and unnecessary for continued operations.
Just a few of the governmental regulations which dictate the storage of data include:
Some of these regulations require user data to be saved and protected almost indefinitely. As such, it’s important to know which data security regulations impact your business to ensure you migrate the correct data and avoid violations.
Next, determine where the data needs to go to stay organized after migration. The mapping process ensures that moved data will be easy to find in the new ERP. This is a great opportunity for reorganizing data to make it more manageable.
The next key step is to test the migration process before implementation to prevent issues later. First, that means finding the best method for migration, as every company will have different needs. For instance, an online retailer will have very different datasets to migrate than a local manufacturer. And the more information there is to transfer, the harder the process will be, even if everything goes right. As such, the selected migration method will largely depend on the scope of data, the industry, and number of users.
Migration types include:
The ERP itself is crucial to determining the migration method. Vendors may have their own preferred ways based on how much conversion is needed during import. Deployment type also matters, as there are substantial differences between on-premises and cloud-hosted systems.
This is also the step to begin training users on the new ERP system so employees can hit the ground running after implementation. The team can test out different features to familiarize themselves with the software.
Now it’s finally time for the actual migration process to begin. Remember to start small and work up to minimize disruptions. Following the previous 3 steps correctly should make this easier. Of course, there are always situations where things can go wrong, even after following each step. Follow the best practices listed below for more tips.
After the data migration is complete, you need to continue testing and evaluating performance for the duration of ERP implementation. There’s always a chance some data got missed and still needs to be brought over.
This is where the team gets a chance to shine. Ideally, their continued support through the entire migration process will now pay off with a seamless transition to the newly implemented ERP system. And if the ERP itself is causing problems, then the vendor should be able to help sort out issues.
Finally, it’s time to evaluate the new ERP implementation and data migration process. Were there any unexpected issues? Can users find their data? Is everything secure? Looking critically at what did and didn’t work can smooth any future migrations or software implementations.
Moving data to a new ERP system depends on several factors, such as how much data there is, if it has been organized, and the complexity of the new ERP. Small businesses can usually migrate data within 3 months. Medium-sized businesses can expect 3 to 9 months for the process to complete. Migration for enterprise and international businesses might take years.
By following the above steps and best practices, you can make data migration easier. Need help finding the best ERP software for your organization? Request free recommendations from our software experts to get demos and pricing information.