Why ERP data migration?

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Why ERP data migration?

  1. ERP data migration Strategy
  2. ERP DATA MIGRATION Approaches

An ERP Data migration is the process of RELOCATING Business Data from its legacy sources into the database of the newly introduced ERP System. Basically, when you introduce a new ERP solution for whichever reason (obsolete legacy system/support termination for previous ERP/lack of specific required functionality only as examples) the preliminary transfer data transfer is a key requirement.

Data migration

Data migration involves moving the data, customizations and configurations from one or multiple legacy systems to the new one, ensuring a smooth transition without disrupting your business operations. This can be a quite complex task which includes multiple steps like planning, data cleanup in legacy, data mapping, data migration testing, training the users, finally Go-live and maintenance post Go-live.

This process engages different parties and comprises of systematic procedures which must be managed well and performed correctly.

There are particular challenges to address on the path to a successful Data migration, such as the quality of the information gathered, miscommunication or even different interests between the different interested departments.

Furthermore, also the cost factor must be considered:  a well-balanced compromise must be found for the conflicting interests of having a maximum complete data migration and the need to have the cost evolution under control.

A lack of scrupulousness or invested effort in analysis of the data can lead to duplicates and inconsistencies. On the other hand, trying to address the slightest peculiarities in data format and extensive transformation for little amount of records can blow the migration cost out of proportion (some manual adjustments after completed migration should be taken into consideration in these cases).

Cost of extracting

The cost of extracting, cleaning and transforming data can add up to a considerate part of the overall ERP implementation project. According to ERP Focus, even if you merely move from an older ERP system to ist new release the cost of data migration can add up to 15% to the cost of the new system!

It is very important to address the aspects for Time and Budget before the actual beginning of the migration project to prevent misunderstanding and allow the migration project to succeed.

ERP data migration Strategy

An ERP data migration should be planned carefully. It is not about taking all legacy data and simply move it to a new location. This would in the best case not lead to the efficiency and process quality gain expected. In the worst case it could end up in a considerable information chaos.

Building a successful ERP migration strategy should basically include the following steps:

  1. Identify and analyze all existing data and define if and how it should be aligned with the new system
  2. If the data should be part of the migration project, perform a clean-up from redundant or obsolete information
  3. For example, the same data inserted into different legacy systems from different standpoints should be aligned to a unque data set. This is a good opportunity to redefine data governance and standardization across the entire organization.
  4. Define a mapping logic or transformations where necessary.
  5. Perform the migration and test the data in the destination system; perform the necessary training for the end users who work with the migrated data.


There are 2 different approaches for ERP data migration, both of them have their own challenges and peculiarities.

Transaction-driven migration approach

This is the more commonly used approach for ERP data migration. With this approach, only active transactions and related master data are extracted from the legacy system. This approach is in general more cost efficient, but legacy data must be held available in the legacy system(s) or in a external Data warehouse for consulting purpose.

Table-driven migration approach

With the table driven approach the full transfer of tables without any selection criteria is entailed. This option is generally available only if legacy and target system are within the same ERP family, hence the table architecture is similar. The table-driven approach delivers very complete results and includes all historical data per definition.

The downside of the approach could be the rising in migration costs. This impact on the cost must be hold against the obsolete costs for external data warehouses or maintenance costs of the legacy system.

Additional tips for a successful Migration project:

  • An ERP migration projects needs a well-structured and methodical approach. Do not hurry!
  • Be selective and do not migrate every little piece of data you have, otherwise you end up with the same chaos in a new system. Use the migration process as an opportunity to weed out obsolete historical data lurking around in your old systems!
  • Do not postpone data migration until the latest possible point in time before Go-Live, but try to start it as early as possible to avoid delaying the ERP deployment!
  • Data must be tested thoroughly from the beginning of the project and tests must be repeated with each sprint! Do not only perform technical tests, but verify also the data quality and alignment with the requirements of the new system.
  • Be very clear, transparent and methodical with the management of the mapping and transformation rules; these are a crucial component of the migration and must be accessible for all members of the migration team (internal and external)
  • Assign data governance responsibility. Clearly determine who owns which data and assign roles to your team.
  • Appoint someone with overall responsibility for compliance with any regulations that concern your business (CCPA, GDPR etc.) to avoid costly mistakes.
  • And finally: find an ERP migration expert to support you in the project.


Typically, in a Data migration project both the ERP provider and your internal departments including IT Department are involved:

  • Data owners/Key Users who understand the design and structure of the legacy system.
  • Functional team (usually from ERP provider) who understand the design and structure of the target system as well as business requirements.
  • Data migration team (usually from ERP provider) who are exports for data profiling, cleansing and transformation; they are also in charge of documenting the migration process at functional and technical level.
  • Project Manager who ensures the migration project is implemented on time and on budget.

In cases when no member of the team knows the legacy’s system structure, the team my need to put an additional effort in auto-educate them on the previous system to understand both the old and the new system for a successful data migration. Request a free consultation.


(Scenario: Implemented new System is Dynamics 365 F&O)  

For its characteristics and purpose for the Business processes, data must be categorized into

  • Static (Gold) Data, that is defined in the Design Phase of the project and must be defined and made available at the latest for the Realization phase of the project to have the correct configuration in place for the GAP testing
  • Dynamic (Transactional) data, that changes with each Iteration of the project

For both types of Data there may be need of conversion logics for the legacy data, to make them fit the new system’s architecture. Those conversions must be atomized and repeatable, well documented and aligned between customer and Implementation partner.