Are you thinking about installing ERP software in your organization? Before you jump right in and start implementing the new features, it’s important to get your timeline right.

One thing is for sure: Your legacy system must go. The only questions are how and when. You don’t want to rush the process and suffer an implementation failure, so you want to learn how to do it right the first time. If this describes you, you’re in luck!

Today, we’re discussing the top legacy system migration risks so you can prepare for them before you even start evaluating new software.

10 Legacy System Migration Risks​

1. Not Analyzing the State of Your Current Data

When you’re ready to start looking at top ERP systems and begin moving data from your legacy system to your new ERP platform, it’s easy to rush into it and assume all your data is the same. In reality, it’s in various conditions and you have to account for those differences during the migration.

For instance, you should have a plan in place that clearly specifies how and when to cut unnecessary data if possible.

Eliminating it could save you money, but everyone needs to be on the same page as far as when and how to cut it. Schedule enough time for your key data scientists and planners to identify key data sets before the migration occurs.

A Failed Payroll System Implementation

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2. Misunderstanding the Functionality of Your Legacy System

Before you eliminate your legacy system, make sure you fully understand what it did and how your company used it. Older systems are usually tightly integrated with other systems, and you should know how those connections worked.

Most of the time, employees have an overarching understanding of what their legacy systems do, but they aren’t as familiar with its interworking components. Identify someone who has expertise in the legacy system and can help lead this portion of the project. They can help you make sure the new solution produces equivalent outflows and is free of any flaws that hindered the first system’s performance.

3. Devoting Insufficient Time and Resources to the Migration​

You don’t want to get halfway through the migration only to find that you don’t have enough money in the budget or time in the schedule to continue your efforts like you want to. In the early, initial planning phases, make sure to pad this part of the project with plenty of wiggle room.

It inevitably costs more and takes longer than most people think it would, and this is one situation where it’s better to err on the side of caution to complete a successful ERP implementation.

4. Hiring the Wrong People to Lead the Effort

For someone to successfully lead a team through data migration, they must possess a depth of knowledge about the application itself. They should also be able to talk about it and explain it in a way that’s approachable to everyone on your project team.

In addition to the technical side of the phase, make sure everyone you hire also understands the “people side” of migration. If they can possess a positive, encouraging attitude throughout each step, initiatives like organizational change management (OCM) become easier to pursue.

5. Failing to Get Key Stakeholder Buy-in and Support

Your ERP project can’t get off the ground (and stay there) without dedicated buy-in and support from your executive leaders. Your C-suite has the power and money required to turn your implementation from vision into reality. This includes funding and helping to manage the data migration phase.

As you seek buy-in, explain how the process works and what you need to make it happen, and make sure everyone is aware of how the project will impact operations. While it might require some major adjustments at first, explain that the benefits are well worth it.

6. Disrupting Business Too Much

Yes, data migration will disrupt your daily workflows to an extent. However, you can’t just freeze business as you move data away from your legacy system and into your new ERP system.

Instead, you have to enter into a temporary co-living space. The best way to circumvent this issue is to approach data migration in phases, rather than attempting to sort it all out at once.

Build your new components, migrate relevant data, and eliminate what’s left/old. As you perform this ERP system implementation in dedicated chunks, you’ll gradually get your employees used to the idea of using the old legacy system less and less, which makes the change easier to bear.

7. Failing to Manage the Change

Speaking of the change, have you considered how your workforce might react to the idea of moving away from the legacy system? While you might look at it and see its flaws and problems, many of those employees have grown comfortable with the interface.

The idea of learning something new can be terrifying, especially if the new ERP system is much more technologically advanced than they’re used to. Prioritize OCM and hire a change team to help everyone feel at ease.

8. Making a Data Entry Error

We’re all human. It’s easy to say that when you make a minor slip-up, like failing to call someone back on time. The stakes are much higher when you make a data migration mistake.

Sometimes, you can automate most of this process. When that’s not possible, you must enter the data by hand. You may also be required to hard-code the system architecture. This work is tedious and may be hard to find someone willing (and capable enough) to do it.

9. Misunderstanding How the Data Was Originally Coded

It’s important to understand the nature of your legacy system as it was originally coded. Why does this matter? If the system was proprietary or included non-standard tools/codes, you need to know this before you attempt to replicate the outputs on a new system.

Work closely with the individuals who know how the system was set up. They can help suggest ways to translate those components onto a new platform or environment.

10. Failing to Delegate

To keep things moving smoothly along, there should be an organizational structure in place during your migration. For instance, you need some resources whose main tasks are delegating responsibility for key parts of the project.

If team members aren’t aware of their unique roles, there’s the risk that they’ll work on the same thing and overlap one another’s efforts. Make sure they clearly understand what they’re supposed to do and who they should report to if they encounter an issue.

Avoid These Legacy System Migration Risks

Data migration is an integral part of any ERP project, but it’s important to get the right roadmap in place before you start. While these are some of the most common legacy system migration risks, they aren’t the only ones.

By taking the time to plan ahead, you can anticipate these issues before they occur. This is a critical part of the process, and success here can lay the foundation for long-term progress and achievement.

As you begin to think about ERP and the changes it can bring to your organization, we’re here to help. Contact our ERP consultants below to learn more and get started.

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