Software has a shelf life. All organizations must eventually move to new systems. It’s hard enough, though, to update your anti-virus packages let alone migrate data from your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.
When changing from one program to another, it’s easy to end up in a state of flux. Some data may be contained within old systems and some within your new solution, making it hard to know which to rely on.
In this article, we’ll explain how to take control of these situations, improve your data quality, and guarantee the continuity of your reports.
The Causes and Risks of Migration
There are many reasons why an organization might need to transfer data and operations from one system to another. System migration typically needs to occur when:
- A previous system has reached the end of its life. For instance, when the service provider or developer ends its product support.
- An organization acquires a new business and wants this new subsidiary to start using its existing applications.
- A business moves from one system to another or tries to merge data into an ERP such as SAP’s S/4HANA Cloud or Microsoft Dynamics.
Regardless of the motivation for migration, organizations risk disrupting their activities. It could be that new systems use different definitions for fields or that they don’t measure or report on desired KPIs. In some cases, switching between solutions could even lead to a gap in reporting leaving you unable to properly inform decision-makers.
These risks are common across all major software migration projects. Whether you’re trying to migrate ERP systems or merge data from the HR programs used by different offices, the same challenges apply.
How to Migrate Data Successfully
Thankfully, there are steps that businesses can take to secure continuity when moving between software solutions. These include:
- Define and classify the data. Ensure that important KPIs are available within the new system. These may have even changed or evolved since inception, so choose which are most relevant today. These may or may not be what you already use, so defining them before choosing a new system will allow you to make the right choice.
- Run both old and new systems in parallel. This will allow you to verify the accuracy of reports without losing data. It also helps you to check that the data itself is correct. Without knowing what they should look like, these numbers may leave you missing vital information.
- Provide training and support to employees. If they can readily perform vital tasks using the new solution, they will be more empowered and, ultimately, more data-driven.
These actions can help to mitigate the risks discussed above, but there is another way to continue reporting on data while you converge systems. Overlaying a data platform such as the Cohelion Data Platform can provide continuity and benchmarks against which to assess the accuracy of a new solution.
Data Management in Action
Cohelion’s platform bridges the gap between data sources, but it’s more than just a safeguard or temporary reporting solution. The following examples illustrate the platform’s capabilities and demonstrate how it complements the data migration process.
Case Study: Efficient System Transitions
A customer of ours, Swissport International, had a strategy to grow via acquisition. They acquired handling facilities of over 30 airports all at once. Since most of these new offices used very different software applications, it was difficult to consolidate on a group level and thereby see the contribution of expansion. Migrating the new offices to the standard Swissport applications was planned but would take years to complete.
Using the Cohelion Data Platform, Swissport was able to quickly get accurate global reporting capabilities without the need to rush their migration project. Our solution captured, cleaned, aligned, and categorized data from the old and new programs to ensure it could be compared and reported on.
All of this meant that the client could continue to use the legacy software and at the same time report integrally to headquarters. The organization could then bring those offices into step at its own pace and in an efficient rather than hurried (and likely expensive) manner.
Case Study: Operational Continuity
Black Box initiated a project with us to centralize all of their data into one standard ERP system; only to find that two of their offices used such complex systems that the proposed global ERP system wouldn’t work. This made it impossible to get a complete picture of sales and revenue across their entire organization.
The Cohelion Data Platform had already captured, cleaned, and aligned data from the old applications. Once linked to the new ERP, we were able to provide consolidated reports that accounted for both systems. This meant that our client could continue analyzing KPIs all without rolling back to previous software versions or using Excel for reporting on data.
Prepare with Success
Migrating from one software package to another is a complex and time-consuming undertaking. It can lead to inconsistent reports or even prevent them from being produced in the first place.
Using the Cohelion Data Platform can help you to overcome these issues by placing it above applications as a protective layer to provide a complete solution to data management. The result is consistent reporting without the need to hastily migrate data.
Your enterprise software probably won’t last forever, but with the right data solution, your reporting standards can maintain all of their integrity.