3 Reasons Your ERP Data Conversion Failed
Data conversion is one of the make or break components of implementing any ERP. Even if your implementation is only an evolution from version 5 to version 6 of the same ERP there can be a requirements for some ERP data conversion. A full change from one ERP system to another is the same but on a much bigger scale.
Your Process Owners Didn't Take Ownership of Their Data
Sales owns sales records. Engineering owns bills of material and routings. Quality owns testing plans. None of the data belongs to the IT people. Your consultants own even less data then the IT people. The ERP project manager might come from a functional department, but in the project manager role, they are not an owner of ERP data.
Begin with a thorough cleansing of your data. Old part numbers do not need to be converted. The customer who went out of business three years ago is not likely to place a new order. Understand what tables and fields need to be populated in the new ERP. Your IT and consultants will help you here. Plan where to extract that required data from the old system and what changes are necessary. Date formats might be different. Field lengths could be shorter or longer and you need to decide where to truncate. Process owners must take responsibility for ERP data conversion for your implementation to be a success.
You Didn't Test at Every Process Level
Testing is an important part of proving the integrity of the data. Writing a simple sales order will fail if the table of ship-to addresses cannot be read. Begin testing simple every-day transactions and continue until you are testing more complex business events. Be sure to test a couple of once-a-year situations too. You will find that many problems are easily solved. Maybe you just forgot to populate the ship-to address table. Copy the data and try it again. Now see what else doesn’t work. You will lead to process flows such as order to cash testing. Just because you can invoice a customer doesn’t necessarily mean you can process the payment.
You Didn’t Retest After Fixes
You found a problem and created an entry in your issue log. The problem is now solved and you marked the issue as green. Test the process again. You can move past step five now but what if your fix broke something else? It happens. Testing again might show that you cannot complete step three this time. Test and retest until you are confident the whole system works. The process owners still own the data. Engineering owns the bill of materials. But it affects materials and purchasing and finance too. All must agree it works for the whole enterprise.
Time ERP data conversions on each iteration. You will know exactly how long each step requires and be better prepared for go live. That day is coming soon.
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