When your ERP system goes live, your employees will rely on this shared, central database to access critical information. As such, it’s important to ensure this database contains accurate data. 

Moving data from your old systems onto a new platform can be quite complex, depending on the nature of your current systems and data. In fact, you may encounter more than a few ERP data migration challenges.

Today, we’re sharing some of the most common issues that project teams experience during this phase and detailing how to avoid them.

A Failed Payroll System Implementation

Panorama’s Expert Witness team was retained to provide a forensic analysis and written report to the court regarding the failed implementation of a major software developer’s ERP/payroll system.

6 ERP Data Migration Challenges

1. Redundant or Inaccurate Data

The data you migrate must be clean. It’s as simple as that.

Yet, it isn’t always so easy. When it comes to information about customers, services, or products, there’s a good chance that multiple departments have their own versions of this data. While the records might be mostly the same, they may not be identical.

For instance, your sales department might have one address for a particular customer, while your project management team has another. Meanwhile, the customer name fields are the same, and the phone numbers match.

If you start transferring data without checking the records, you’ll likely encounter these common data quality issues:

  • Duplicate accounts 
  • Blank fields
  • Outdated product codes
  • Data for clients, partners, or employees no longer associated with your company
  • Critical Excel data missing from your system of record

By cleansing your data beforehand, you can ensure that your new system will be accurate, updated, and fully functional. 

challenges in data migration in erp

2. Not Enough Project Resources

A successful data migration project takes a significant investment of time, money, and skill. It’s easy to underestimate these requirements when planning your ERP implementation

It’s common for teams to reach this phase only to find that they’ve severely under-staffed the effort. Then, they must rush to find additional support and extra in-house resources, which delays the project even further.

Make sure you not only have the right people assigned to the task but that you’ve built enough funds into your budget to cover the work required to completely extract, clean, and rationalize the data.

Even if you’re just moving data from one ERP solution to a newer one, you should still be realistic about what this process will cost.

3. Relying on Outdated Validation Rules

When you first entered data into your system, you did so in accordance with the business and validation rules that your organization had in place at the time. Are those standards still valid and accurate, or is it time to update them to match your current goals and best practices? 

Blindly following validation rules without considering their validity could mean transferring data that you don’t need or can’t use. Your project team should check to see if you need to change any data rules or create new ones. Then, they should make sure the ERP database uses those new validations. 

4. Failing to Achieve Stakeholder Buy-In

Your project stakeholders must understand how important data migration is to the success of the ERP project. If stakeholders are unwilling to devote the necessary resources, then this could undermine your entire effort. 

Not only do you need stakeholders to sign off on the money and resources required to complete the process, but they must also be present to diffuse any internal conflicts that may arise.

If your departments have been storing and entering data in their own unique way, they might have differing views on how it should migrate into the new system. Stakeholders can address these varying opinions and help team members establish a single, consistent method for data migration. 

5. Neglecting to Maintain Compliance With Industry Regulations

There are many different industry-specific regulations that dictate the ways organizations can store, manage, and use data. As you initiate the migration process, make sure you understand and comply with those standards.

For instance, HIPPA mandates require healthcare organizations to retain certain documents for a period of six years. Then, there are GDPR regulations that require organizations to have procedures in place that enable them to delete a consumer’s personal data upon request.

It’s important to stay up-to-date on these standards as well as any changes that occur to them. 

6. Waiting Too Long for Validation and Testing

The weeks leading up to your go-live date should be spent fine-tuning the ERP software. You shouldn’t spend these last weeks performing data validation and testing. 

These steps should be taken care of as early in the project as possible. That way, you have time to course-correct if your data team finds any critical errors that require resolution.

We recommend asking users to validate data at every stage of the process, so you can make sure it’s accurate and complete. 

Data Migration Doesn’t Have to Derail Your Project

ERP platforms are only as efficient as the data that drives them, so it’s worth performing data migration right the first time. When you know the ERP data migration challenges to avoid, you’ll be prepared to sidestep common roadblocks and avoid ERP failure.

Our ERP consultants are on hand to help you navigate data challenges and plan for migration as early as possible. Contact us below for a free consultation.

About the author

As Director of Panorama’s Expert Witness Practice, Bill oversees all expert witness engagements. In addition, he concurrently provides oversight on a number of ERP selection and implementation projects for manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and public sector clients.

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