Data management is an underestimated part of ERP projects. This involves more than simply transferring data to the new system. You need to make sure that the data is correct, you need to think carefully about which data you include in the conversion and you need a data conversion plan.
Have you thought about these questions?
You take some technical tool, enter the data you want to convert and with the push of a button it goes over to your new ERP system. Unfortunately,... it is not that simple. Before you can start your data conversion, you need to understand a few things. For example, do you have answers to these questions?
- How complete and clean is your data?
- What data do you need in your new ERP system?
- How do you deal with historical data?
- How do you convert transactional data such as open work orders?
- Can you transfer data 1-on-1 or are the fields and structures different?
Work on the quality of your data
It all starts with that you should aim to convert clean, complete and correct data. When moving to another home, you also pack everything neatly in boxes and you throw away what you no longer need. This is also how it works with a data conversion. There is a good chance that data contamination has developed in your system(s) over time. Incorrect, duplicate, incomplete... this is almost inevitable. Therefore, it is important to take a close look at your data and start cleaning, deduplicating and enriching it. Not a fun job and something that can take a lot of time, but very important.
"Thorough data management prior to the ERP project ensures that you start working with a clean database, of which you will continue to benefit in your business operations for a long time."
Think carefully about what to include in the conversion
Customers, spare parts, objects, suppliers; of course you want to put all that in the new ERP system. But what do you do with transactions and historical data? Do you only take the master data with you and do you check the old system for a while for historical data? It is important to decide on this with a team of different specialists. Management or business might desire to convert all or as much data as possible, but your IT specialist or application specialist might judge that this is a hell of a job. Together you can weigh up how complex and time-consuming the data conversion will be and how valuable it is to have certain data available in the new ERP system.
Come up with a clear data conversion plan
When you know which data you are going to convert, you have to come up with a clear conversion plan. Start by transferring master data, because it is desirable or even necessary to have this at the start of the implementation. Perform some test conversions later in the project, after which you thoroughly evaluate whether data has been converted correctly. With the final data conversion, you no longer need to worry about whether this will go well.
A fresh start with clean data
An ERP implementation is a tough project for your organization and even after the go-live, you will regularly bump into issues and questions. It would be nice if in that case it is not due to data problems. Thorough data management prior to the ERP project ensures that you start working with a clean database, of which you will continue to benefit in your business operations for a long time.