Generating new data? Old data to manage? Need advice on how to communicate your data?
Switching to a new system? Experts in data conversion, ACI Consulting has you covered. Our team will come alongside your IT department every step of the way as your business upgrades to an advanced information system.
From sole proprietors to companies with thousands of employees, we know that any company that has updated its enterprise resource plan (ERP) knows the agony of getting the data ready for a new software system. Typically, the following steps are taken:
- Extract or define
- Clean and transform
- Validate and verify
Rather than replacing existing vendor consultant services, which provide valuable product knowledge, ACI Consulting supports your business and enhances your ability to produce successful ERP implementation projects.
To ensure the accurate transfer of data, ACI Consulting takes serious, guided steps designed to safeguard information and guarantee it is protected and accurate. This process is usually executed multiple times. Problems can occur if the data is flawed, not properly cleaned, or incorrectly adjusted or loaded into the new system, leading to delays in the system launch. The following steps are time-honored and proven data to be the best practices:
Step 1: Extract or Define
This process involves extracting the data from existing systems, which then need to be deactivated. Sometimes the “system” of storing data is to manually enter it into a spreadsheet. In this case, the data needs to be converted to a format that can then be put into a data management application.
Step 2: Data cleansing
Once the data is properly extracted, reviewed for accuracy by the business, and converted to a readable format, it needs to be cleaned. This can be a time-consuming endeavor depending upon the level of change and data quality.
Step 3: Load data to new system
As the data is extracted and cleaned, making it easier for the new ERP system to handle, the load programs can also be built to handle the new changes and assist with converting the data to the new system. Data is loaded into interface tables and loaded into the new system’s core master data and transactions tables.
A key consideration in this process is the fact that the different data elements are interdependent upon one another. Cross dependencies must be validated to ensure proper transferring of data.
Step 4: Validate and verify
The last phase of the data conversion process is to ensure that all data transferred correctly. This can be done through extracts, reports, or manual applications. Both internal and external audit groups plus the key data owners may take part in this process. The final test is to make sure that transactions can be successfully completed using the converted data.
For optimum success, ACI Consulting recommends these suggestions:
- Start early, giving yourself enough time to thoroughly complete each step. A late start can result in expensive project delays or rushed decisions to load incomplete data, thus increasing problems as the new system is launched.
- Assign data owners and customers for each of the different elements. Make sure that the data owners sign off on the conversions. In addition, it is important that those who frequently use the data are involved in reviewing the final product.
- Test the data (several times if necessary). Validate the loads and make sure that transactions can be completed with the converted data.
- Brainstorm possible tools that reach beyond spreadsheets and custom programming. These can help with the data conversion process.
- Take the time to thoroughly and properly clean and validate the converted data.
- Consider how the data will be maintained after the system is launched.
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