Are you considering implementing a new ERP system for your business? The process of migrating your data to a new system can be daunting.
The ERP is only as good as the data inside, so how do you get vast amounts of information into that system without a massive, error-prone effort? We will explain how.
What is data migration?
Data migration is the process of transferring your existing data from your current system to a new one. This might sound simple and even boring, but in reality, migrating data can be complex and time-consuming – and it’s also crucial to the success of your ERP transition and ongoing business success. If not well managed, data migration can delay your implementation deadlines, leading to unexpected costs and complexity.
It’s common to underestimate the preparations needed for that critical day when old systems are switched off and operations start in the new ERP. Success hinges on historical data. The weight of critical transactions, vital customer interactions, and all orders to the last minute cannot be overlooked. Organisations should carefully plan for this transition, ensuring their teams can continue operations from day one. The nightmare scenario of duplicating work in both systems after go-live should be avoided at all costs.
With careful planning and execution, the data migration process can be smooth and predictable, saving both money and time.
The goal here isn’t simply migrating data. The goal is migrating the right data in a consistent and predictable format, to ensure maximum efficiency and usefulness of your new ERP. Key stakeholders must come together to agree on:
- Which data to migrate,
- How much of that data to migrate, and
- What that data should look like.
Working through this challenging process delivers a single, agreed understanding of what your business’ important data is and how it should be presented, breaking down silos and increasing alignment across departments.
Common Challenges with Data MigrationSmaller manufacturers, especially those with field service operations that generate vast amounts of data, may face bigger challenges in data migration due to their small IT and administrative staff. Limited resources in terms of time, staff, and skills make data migration a burdensome task. Working with experts to address these challenges will make all the difference to your ERP transition. To avoid common mistakes during data migration, it’s important to address the following issues:
- Bad Data: The biggest problem is when inaccurate, redundant, incomplete, or improperly formatted data ends up in the ERP, either from the old system or during migration.
- High Cost: Data migration requires time, staff, planning, and resources, which can become problematic if the process takes longer than expected, doesn’t follow best practices, or lacks proper budgeting.
- Minimal Support: Managing day-to-day operations while migrating data can create friction between managers and the ERP team. It is crucial to gain buy-in from all levels of the organization to ensure a successful data migration.
- Compliance Problems: Field service providers, bound by regulatory or contractual requirements regarding data storage, face the risk of compliance issues and their associated consequences when moving data between systems.
Planning for Data MigrationWhile the challenges outlined above are common, they are also avoidable. Knowing where other data migrations have stalled or taken a left turn makes it possible to plan around those problems. Develop a plan that addresses these key steps:
- Appoint adata migration representative: They will determine what and how to migrate, manage the process, and take responsibility for the results.
- Take inventory: Map data locations, and address redundancies and inconsistent formats. Craig Jessup, one of Klugo’s data migration experts, notes that different departments often use different terms for the same thing: “Is it Customer Name or Company Name?”. Use the map to guide automated data import in the ERP.
- Ditch bad data: Not all data should be migrated, especially if it is outdated or irrelevant. Do you really need to import sales data from years ago for products that are no longer? “Deciding what to exclude from the ERP can save time and money, making sure you meet your go-live date” advises Craig.
- Migrate and modify: Once the data is migrated into the ERP, don’t assume the system is ready for immediate use. Validate and test the migrated data in the ERP. Ongoing input and adjustment is essential to achieve a clean and accessible format for users.
Best Practices for Data MigrationField service providers and manufacturers adopting ERP systems can benefit from proven practices. While each migration is unique, the following principles are always relevant:
- Recognize the importance of data migration: Data migration is vital and resource intensive, so invest in sufficient effort and planning. Start early, allocate resources, and standardize data extraction and cleansing.
- Support the business case: Data migration isn’t just populating the ERP. Strive to make data more accessible, integrated, intuitive, and insightful. Consider user needs for maximum value. This process brings value beyond the data migration. Craig points out that this discussion process “Breaks down silos and encourages the whole company to work as a single unit, sharing information in agreed formats and ways”.
- Prioritize data governance: Data governance is crucial before and after ERP adoption. Define roles, policies, and security measures before you transition to the new ERP and continue to adapt as your needs evolve.
- Emphasize quality: Focus on quality, relevant data. Migrate essential information first and refine it as needed. Other data can be migrated later, or possibly never.
- Seek data migration support: Partner with experts who understand the importance of best practice data migration, ERP implementation, and your industry. Look for providers such as Klugo, who provide not only CSV import templates, but guidance specific to industry practices in NetSuite and Next Service. “Your data is an important business asset,” cautions Craig. “Let’s make sure nothing threatens the quality and timelines of your ERP transition.”
Partnering with Klugo takes the worry out of data migration. Unlike some other ERP providers without industry experience, Klugo will help you manage the entire process with focus on optimising relevant industry data and workflows. Our experienced team understands the unique characteristics of the field service and manufacturing industries, as well as the intricacies of both NetSuite and Next Service, ensuring your data is migrated efficiently and accurately. Using this expertise, Klugo will guide you through the migration process, drawing in key stakeholders to clearly understand all requirements, and the implications of those requirements.
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Klugo’s vision is to unlock the full operating potential of our customers to maximise the value of their business. We do this by helping our customers achieve operating excellence using NetSuite + NextService, the world-leading cloud ERP and FSM business platform for small-to-medium-sized businesses.
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