­­How to get started now

For the 28 years I have been involved in ERP projects, every single project had one thing in common: data clean-up and migration. While it isn’t exactly fun news, here’s the positive: You don’t have to wait to get started, so you can enjoy that sense of accomplishment early on in your project. Below is some information that will help to clear up common misconceptions and hopefully encourage you to get that necessary part of your project completed sooner rather than later.

Data migration is one of those tasks that is often started too late because, honestly, many people are just plain afraid of it. Why? Because they can’t answer questions like the following:

  1. How bad is the data, really
  2. How long is this going to take
  3. What work needs to be done
  4. Who is going to do the work
  5. What software product will we be migrating to
  6. How much history are we going to migrate

Some facts about those above concerns:

  • You can’t answer number 1, 2, or 3 without getting started!
  • You can answer number 4 good enough for now TO get started
  • Number 5 doesn’t even matter right now
  • Number 6 will be decided by the project champions and / or steering committee later

So, get started and take the following steps:

Unless a project manager has already been selected, the person who has been facilitating the company in reaching the “Go Ahead” for this ERP project should task the appropriate department heads to:

Select a lead person to review, collect, and report on what data is inconsistent within their current software modules, in other words find the garbage data. (Everybody knows who that person should be.) This will begin to put some scale as to how good or bad the data is, how much repair will need to take place, and help start unfolding just how best it will be to clean it up. Learning this sooner helps the project management team better determine when and how much effort will need to be applied to getting this data cleaned up.

What data should be reviewed?

  • Active database records like the following can be reviewed to evaluate field usage consistency:
    • Purchase Orders
    • Receivers
    • Sales Orders
    • Invoices
    • Inventory movement records
    • Open AR records
    • Open AP records
  • Static database records that include but are not limited to:
    • Item Masters and related database items like units of measure, item classes…
    • Customer Masters including ship to, bill to, price list, and other related files
    • Vendor Masters including ship from, drop ship, pay to, price lists, and other related files
    • Employee Masters
    • Warehouse Master including location data
  • Finance can begin to evaluate the General Ledger and start to think about this being an opportunity to tweak or restructure it in the new system. Seize the moment.

Delaying the start of this task puts additional pressure on the migration and ERP team in the heart of the ERP project. This is not a time for adding stress to the team especially when it can be avoided. Instead, use the time when the project has just been approved as an opportunity to gain a level of accomplishment early on.

No matter how well the implementation goes, bad data in a new system will undermine all of the hard work done and the project’s success. So get started now. You will thank yourselves later.


John Bielecki

Mr. Bielecki is a senior advisor with 25+ years in improving Order Fulfillment, Shop Floor Control and Supply Chain operations for manufacturers/ distributors in numerous industries. His expertise helps enterprises meet their ever-changing customer and market needs through BPI, the application of ERP systems, and the development of their Omni-Channel. John helps clients become stream-lined, agile and scale-able. His client-first approach ensures that his solutions are tailored to each client’s needs and goals.