Most companies preparing for an ERP implementation focus on business process reengineering and configuration in their strategy planning and goal setting. Rarely are these companies given a meaningful explanation of their data readiness and what that means for the new ERP, CRM or HCM system, nor do they understand why application vendors recommend allocating 20-40% of the implementation budget to data migration. Like many others, your organization has decided to retire currently running legacy systems and migrate to a new instance of an ERP system or consolidate multiple instances of ERP into a single instance. The question you (and many others) have most likely avoided is: Is your data ready for your new system?
Implementing an ERP solution can seem like an insurmountable task and can leave even the most disciplined CEO, CFO or CIO with feelings of fear, uncertainty and doubt. A modern ERP implementation quickly absorbs large amounts of company resources and becomes the focal point of corporate strategy in the short term. The consequences of failing are enough to make any executive dread the decisions involved. Data migration challenges are typically excluded as a company learns the common requirements of a new ERP, CRM or HCM system. In addition, the toolset offered by implementation partners generally focuses on configuration and business process challenges rather than the challenges of migrating the thousands of critical business objects in a complete, clean, consistent and properly formatted way using a repeatable process. However complicated the existing systems may seem, it’s not the complexity that overwhelms implementation teams but the lack of an effective migration methodology to eliminate the inevitable project delays associated with poorly executed migration plans.
While there are several ways to tackle the problem, the quality of a data migration often suffers from compromises made to meet rapidly emerging deadlines and the lack of a sufficient strategy for handling the data in the first place. BackOffice Associates® has recognized four levels of data readiness and the associated levels of risk that emphasize the importance and consequences of data migration. These four levels are balanced between costs associated with the entire implementation and the risk of costly errors and delays created by incomplete, inaccurate and irrelevant data. Ignoring the impact of bad data in any ERP system will lead to a poorly performing system requiring constant and costly remediation.