Six steps to include in your ERP migration plan
These steps are all important parts of an ERP migration. These steps are not independent - your migration will take you up and back down these steps and sometimes you will jump back down two or more steps.
1. Obtain executive backing
Get c-level support before embarking on your project. Without it, your ERP migration will certainly fail to deliver the results you want. The entire executive group should back the efforts or at least not hinder it. One executive will be your sponsor who will help grease the wheels when you need support. That person will also sit on the steering committee and help ensure progress toward the finish line is keeping on schedule.
2. Prioritize needs
You will have many objectives you hope for from the ERP. Some are common to all and others are mainly the concern of certain departments. Achieving the priority needs are mandatory. There will also be lesser needs that are good to have but not necessarily critical to success. Everyone in the organization should know and understand them. At the end of your ERP migration, no-one should be able to say at the end “I thought we were going to get anything else.”
3. Test and retest
With those needs in mind run tests on every part of the new ERP. Did you get the expected result? Change some configuration settings and try again until you get the result needed. Move to the next test. After the second one passes, retest the first one to see if anything changed because of the settings made for the second test. Imported data will often affect the test. Some field you thought you could skip turns out to be required. Another field in the legacy needed to be modified to work with the new ERP. Keep testing until all are satisfied that the critical needs are satisfied and that there are no permanent roadblocks that cannot be resolved after implementation.
4. Import data
There are static kinds of data such as part numbers and customer records. These do change but usually at a slow pace. There are dynamic data such as transaction records that are updated continuously. Often there are data that must be loaded sequentially as some fields are dependent on other fields. Some data in the legacy will not directly translate and must be modified. Develop a plan for import around your testing. Practice data refreshing to learn how imports can be done more quickly. Import data and run tests. Based on the test, modify your import and import it again and run more tests. At go-live you want as short a time possible to shut the legacy ERP down and have the new one ready for work.
5. Clean up data
Look carefully at the data in your legacy ERP. Some might be so old there is no reason to import it. Some might relate to a business process no longer used. Some is just junk such as purchase orders that were assigned but never actually used. You probably have some unfinished transactions that will not import such as a quality inspection that was never done. You threw the product out and all forgot about it but the inspection was never recorded. Clean up the data so your imports are as short as possible and your tests are only on relevant data.
6. Follow through with staff training
Develop a training program. Everyone in the enterprise should understand the project and how it relates to the company and them individually. Users of all kinds in every department must have training so they can start work right away after ERP migration. Ongoing training should be ready to support new hires, job changes and remedial training as needed.
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