Data migration may seem like a mundane and even daunting task, but the ability to leverage your system to get information to make better decisions will have a profound effect on your business.

I’ve been involved in a few projects lately where data migration has been the hot topic.  As much as it seems quite mundane, it can make or break success.  When moving to a new system, it is your opportunity to start with a clean slate.

A few tips to think about with data migration:

Start early: You cannot start too early.  The more time you have to cleanse your data, the better.  Eliminate obsolete items.  Review items you haven’t used in the last few years, customers you haven’t sold to in a few years, suppliers you haven’t utilized.  Should you move them to the new system?

  • Data setup:  Think through data setup in the new system.  How will the flags you set affect your business processes?  Find out what they mean.  Think about expansion from your current practices.  What does that mean in terms of data setup?
  • Keying vs. automation: Consider keying dynamic information such as sales orders, work orders and purchase orders.  It will be a good opportunity to clean up garbage, close old work orders, etc.  It will also give you a good idea of how the new system will work so that you have a leg up with your first day of transactions.
  • Ask for clarification:  One of my clients is proactive on this topic  She wants to know how each field is used, how it will affect reports etc.  This is the ideal process because the more you know about how the field will be utilized or could be utilized, the better opportunity you have to utilize it for success.
  • Excel:  Excel can be your friend when it comes to cleansing data.  If you take it out of your current system, massage it in Excel and then upload it to the new system, you can save yourself a lot of trouble.  It isn’t always feasible but it is viable most of the time.

Remember to give data migration your focus as it will have a profound impact on whether you’ll be able to leverage your system for success.