Migrate Spreadsheet Data Into ERP
Even with the explosion of enterprise software solutions, spreadsheets continue to persist in offices. After all, it’s an affordable system for businesses still getting their footing. But business leaders are starting to figure out that ERP is here to stay, and Excel is gradually receding into obscurity with landlines and paper catalogs. As companies grow, their spreadsheets can’t maintain a high volume of data or enable users to collaborate and gain insights on mobile devices. They need to speed up their tasks and analyze data effectively with ERP software.
However, even if an enterprise moves on from Excel, it can’t part ways with all the critical information occupying their spreadsheets. One of the biggest steps in an ERP implementation is migrating data into the new system. We’re here to help you through this process with some tips on how to transfer your data and processes from spreadsheets to ERP software.
You can’t move forward with your ERP implementation if you don’t first review your current processes and datasets. To get started, consider the following questions:
- What information are you storing, and where is that information being stored?
- Which data is most important to carry out tasks?
- Which data is outdated or unnecessary?
- What information do you have trouble finding or generating actionable insights from?
- How is your data being used currently, and how will it be used in the new system?
The point of analyzing your data and procedures is to ensure that your new ERP system supports business needs and to determine your priorities for the project. Data migration is complicated. You don’t want to waste time by writing unnecessary data conversion programs or transferring data that is filled with errors or inconsistencies. Taking a complete audit of your business processes and data will help you simplify data migration and avoid disruptions in your software implementation.
If ERP is the backbone of your business, data is the backbone of your ERP. Migrating a massive amount of unnecessary or corrupted datasets slows down your implementation and gives you little to no return on your investment. That’s why data scrubbing is a key step in the implementation process. First, standardize the data stored throughout your spreadsheets and systems. Chances are, various users and departments classified data differently. Put in place standards to maintain uniform datasets; that way, data remains consistent and interpretable across the enterprise and nothing gets lost or misplaced during the transition.
Next, it’s time to rid your current spreadsheets of erroneous or duplicate data. Did some information get entered multiple times across documents? Were any names or numbers entered incorrectly? Finally, determine which information will be immediately needed in the new system, what can wait and what can be eradicated altogether. For example, some of your historical data probably only comes in handy occasionally. Speed up your implementation by only transferring files entered after a specific date, and worry about earlier data after go-live.
Additionally, smaller files can be entered directly into the new system rather than migrated to further streamline the process. Some data, such as information on long-gone employees and customers, can be done away with altogether. With clean data, you can start fresh on your new ERP instance.
Now we’ve reached the tricky part. Data conversion is the stage where implementations are most likely to experience delays. However, if you’ve thoroughly mapped business processes and cleaned data, you’re well on your way to accomplishing this part of the project. One critical aspect of data conversion is testing. Run a couple of tests to verify that data is loaded into the correct fields and formatted accurately. Additionally, check that the right number of records are created.
Besides testing, project teams also want to create a reasonable schedule for data conversions. Some teams make the mistake of converting their data all in one go, increasing their chances for errors. In many cases, the most manageable method is to convert data in batches or wait until after go-live to convert some of your historical data.
Another common problem is converting files too early or too late in the process. The earlier you perform data conversions, the longer you’ll be managing files, creating more work for your team. Wait too late and you risk pushing the go-live date. Plan your data conversion carefully to enable your business to execute an on-time, on-budget ERP implementation.
The key takeaway here is to appreciate the importance of converting data correctly. Projects go wrong when team members cut corners or refuse to conduct thorough tests. In most cases, a business can’t fully execute its implementation and data migration without expert guidance. An experienced consultant will take care of technical difficulties and tedious tasks to mitigate risk throughout your ERP project.
Enterprises going without an ERP system are also going without comprehensive insights, sophisticated reporting tools, proper data organization and overall operational efficiency. When you approach your ERP project with care, your workplace won’t even miss their spreadsheets.
But making the move from spreadsheets to ERP is too much to take on alone. Don’t trust just anyone to guide you throughout your software implementation—reach out to Datix, an Epicor Gold Partner that has executed enterprise software projects for over 20 years. We've helped countless manufacturers and distributors migrate from inefficient, outdated processes to sophisticated ERP solutions. But for those who aren't ready to completely part with Excel, we have Jet Analytics. Jet Analytics allows users to report against large Epicor databases in Excel and other popular platforms. This premier BI solution and data warehouse simplifies reporting to maximize enterprise insights.
Datix makes it easier than ever to transform businesses through software. Begin your transformation today—contact one of our expert consultants!