data conversionThere’s a lot to think about when you’re replacing your legacy ERP system with a new one. One of the biggest considerations is how you’re going to get your data out of your old ERP system and into your new one. While there is no absolute rule that works for everyone when it comes to data conversion, there are four big questions that each manufacturer will want to consider.

Can You Get Data out of Your Current System?

There are many ways to get data out of one ERP system and into another. Sometimes, you can do it yourself, but other times you may need to pay someone else to do it. The best place to start is by looking at your current software. There may even be an option called “extract data” in your software. If this is the case, your data conversion should be a bit easier. If not, you should check if your current software provider will help you extract your data. They will probably have the easiest time getting your data out in a way that is still usable.

How Clean is Your Current Data?

Another way to ask this question is: Are you going to want all of the data in your current system? If some of that data isn’t useful, then there’s no need to bring it into your new ERP system. You should also look at your list of vendors and customers. If you no longer work with some of those companies, or if they’ve gone out of business, consider if you need to bring over their information. Data conversion can be expensive, and bringing over data you don’t need can take up needed space in your new ERP system. Make sure you’ve trimmed out any excessive data from your list before you begin your data transfer.

Will Your Existing Data Work in the New System?

When you change ERP systems, you’ll often need to structure your data differently. For example, when you’re looking at scheduling in your new ERP system, are the work centers set up the same way they were in your old system? Odds are good you’ll have to set them up a least a little bit differently. You’ll want to look over your data and think about if any of it wouldn’t fit into the new system. If converting it directly would lead to more problems, consider entering this data manually so you can use your new system to its fullest.

Will You Keep Using Your Current System Once You Get the New One?

Sometimes manufacturers find it helpful to keep their old ERP system around as a digital filing cabinet once they’ve transferred over to a new one. It is not always possible to convert historical transactions. If you need to keep them around for a while, it might be worth it to keep them in your old system. Be wary if a vendor promises that they can convert all data, even historical data. Sometimes they can, but they can’t always. And occasionally this data comes over corrupted. For some manufacturers, it’s better to keep this historical data in their old ERP system so it’s still accessible. For others, they have no need to keep that data, so they don’t need to worry if they can convert it over. It’s all about what’s right for your shop.

Data transfer is an important part of changing from one ERP system to another. No one wants to start from scratch and manually enter all of their data into their new system. However, transferring data can be expensive and the more you have to transfer, the higher the price. With the questions listed above, you can be sure your shop gets the data it needs in the new system without having to pay for more or leaving anything important out.

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