ERP Data Migration: Upgrade Process, Challenges and How to Overcome Them?


Upgrade from AX 2009 to Dynamics 365 F&O

Each new Version leads to new capacities, technical as well as functional. The same rule holds when it comes to a different version of Dynamic AX 2009, AX2021, and Dynamics 365 (D365) Finance and Operations (F&O). So, it is imperative to upgrade to the most recent software to make use of the new enhancements, and additional process features and benefit from the ones you already have.

Korcomptenz provides an efficient and predetermined upgrade service for current Dynamics AX customers wanting to improve their solutions to the recent version within a reasonable period.

Microsoft provides tools to migrate/upgrade your lower version to the latest version D365 F&O. One of the most important processes in the upgrade is data migration. The reason why it is so important is that the old application may have data that is not up to date as some of the old unused data may still reside in the system or users would have not maintained the data accurately for different reasons etc.

Among the various options, you can utilize Microsoft data migration tool or DMT to move your business data from AX 2009 to F&O. DMT is the unique supported development path from AX 2009 that lets you discover and bridge the gaps between the table schemas for every version and assists you to migrate data.

What Does Data Migration Include?

The following image depicts the process of gathering and preparing data in AX 2009 and next, importing that information into the new environment.

Data Migration Tool

Source: Microsoft

AX2012 to Dynamics 365 F&O Process

F&O apps also provide you with an upgrade path for customers presently on the Dynamics AX 2012. They can migrate their code and data to Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O. It is important to note here that now, the upgrade processes from Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and Dynamics AX 2012 R2 are the ones that are supported. When it comes to the upgrade process, it is developed on the following components:

Overview of the Upgrade Process

You can visualize the total upgrade procedure as three primary stages, which are Analyze, Execute & Validate.

Upgrade Process

Analyze: Assess and evaluate upgrade tasks, Fit/Gap assessment, build a project plan.

Execute: AX 2012 database preparation, Code development, Data upgrade.

Validate: Upgrade validation, Functional test pass, cutover testing.

The end-to-end upgrade from AX 2012 to Dynamics F&O

Complete Process

Source: Microsoft

What is ERP Data Migration?

ERP data migration signifies the data transfer process from the old system to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system’s database. The process frequently entails shifting data from a variety of systems, storage types, and formats into a distinct and familiar structure.

Gathering enterprise data is key to how businesses keep pace with others and continue to survive, as companies evolve with digital transformation. However, when organizations merge and technologies change, handling information becomes an enormously complicated and crucial task.

For enterprises shifting from an on-premises old ERP system to Microsoft’s D365 for F&O D365, they will find a few unique challenges as well as new tools to exploit when thinking of the data migration in ERP. Microsoft delivers the DMF tool to help customers with data migration.

If you underestimate the effort and time required in the process, it could delay your ERP accomplishment goal. Therefore, it is imperative to have an ERP data migration strategy that is fail-safe.

Things that Could Go Wrong

ERP data migration is not just about copying information from one source to another destination. You need to authenticate the data ensuring it is clean. If you follow your business ways of entering data into the company legacy systems, or for that matter, processes did not adhere to the standardized methods across functional groups, your data will be unclean. Here are three things that could go wrong:

Data credibility issues

System issues

Poor knowledge of working with data

Risks Associated with Poor Data Migration Strategy

When implementing data migration in ERP, you need to mull over many things. The goal is to ensure successful implementation by following the ERP data migration best practices. However, there are many risks associated with data migration such as:

ERP Data Migration – The Six Key Challenges

Before your ERP system is live, your workforce will depend on this central, shared database to access crucial data. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that this database has precise information. Besides, it is also important to have an ERP data migration checklist before implementation.

In this blog, we will share the six major challenges project teams face during the data migration process in ERP.

Insufficient Project Resources

That’s why you need to have the right resources allocated to the job. You will also need sufficient funds and an ERP data migration plan to appoint more people to work on extracting, cleansing, and rationalizing data.

A successful ERP data migration calls for a considerable investment of budget, time, and expertise. Most teams, unfortunately, discover that they have inadequate resources when working on the data migration in ERP. Therefore, they need to make a serious effort to look for additional support and resources that further slows down the project.

Old and Erroneous Data

Now if you start migrating data without examining the records, you will face data quality issues like blank fields, duplicate accounts, old product codes, crucial spreadsheet info missing from your system record, and clients, employees, or partner data no longer related to your business.

When you migrate data, it should be clean, however, the process is not that simple. When it’s about data related to products, services, or customers, various departments can have different versions of this information. Though the records are mostly similar, they might not be identical. For instance, your sales division may have one address for a specific customer, but the project management team has a different address. Again, the name fields of the customers are similar and mobile numbers match.

Depending on Obsolete Authentication Rules

If data is moved without factoring in aspects such as validity, it translates to migrating data that you do not require or cannot use. The project team responsible must do a reality check to determine whether changes in data rules are required or if there is a need to create new validation guidelines for data migration in ERP implementation.

While initially entering information into the system, this was done as per the business authentication standards that you had set. Then, are those rules still correct and valid today, or do you need to update the validation standards to align with your company goals?

Non-Compliance with Industry Guidelines

For example, HIPPA dictates healthcare businesses retain specific documents for not more than 6 years. Again, GDPR guidelines mandate organizations to have processes in place to allow them to delete a customer’s personal information if requested.

There are several industry-specific guidelines dictating companies the ways to store, handle, and utilize data. When you work on the migration process, it is essential to understand and adhere to those industry standards.

Not Accomplishing Stakeholder Buy-In

The stakeholders need to address different data migration opinions and help the team establish one, consistent ERP data migration methodology.

When it comes to your project stakeholders, they should understand the significance of data migration for your ERP project. If they are reluctant to dedicate required resources, it could weaken your effort. Your stakeholders should not only approve the budget and people required to implement the data migration process but also help to remove internal conflicts if any.

Wasting Too Much Time in Authentication and Testing

The final weeks resulting in the going-live date should be utilized to improve your ERP solution. This is not the time to waste on data authentication and testing. Validating and testing must be completed in the early stages of the project. This way, you will have time later to make amends if your data team detects serious mistakes that call for resolution.

As an ERP data migration expert, Korcomptenz recommends you authenticate data in all stages of the process.

Data Migration – Two Scenarios

Customers with different ERP or home-grown ERP / any other legacy systems: Korcomptenz does not endorse data migration from their old system apart from master data, opening balances for Sales orders & Purchase orders, and associated invoices, accounting/finance opening balances. It is not a great idea to recommend transactional data migration because it is extremely challenging to comprehend the old ERP data structure and map to the new ERP. It is not feasible and not possible, and no ERP partner will ever recommend it. Most times we use spreadsheets to migrate this data, but Microsoft provides the DMF tool for the same purpose.

Customers with Microsoft ERP old version: For Dynamics 365 Business Central, we have a time-tested tool and technique to migrate all data from the old NAV edition. When it comes to AX versions (AX2009 / AX2012), Microsoft provided tools and alternatives for data migration. There are specific sets of processes to be followed and there is a method for data migration.

What is the Alternative?

The alternative is to create a Data Warehouse and migrate the old data or information to that together with new data from Dynamics 365 and use it for reporting objectives. We recommend this for our clients to move their financial data for a few years together with recent Dynamics data leveraging Power BI reports.

Address the ERP Data Migration Challenges

Data Migration Strategy: The popular saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you’re preparing to fail.” Smart ERP data management begins with a transparent, well-thought-out plan. Take your time to launch the project. First, define the data you want to migrate and analyze the quality of every data. A company’s data migration plan must factor in the technologies to be used, the testing methods, and the nature of the data migration team.

Data Migration Team: A company needs to strike the right balance between business and technical resources. Technical experts need to do programmatic migration activities, ideally, they should know about legacy systems. An ERP lead needs to involve themselves when it comes to the classification of data fields to be moved, as well as testing, and validation. Business stakeholders will be expected to participate and sign off at different stages of the migration process. All team members should work in collaboration to ascertain best quality information is accessible on the new system.

Data Cleaning: Cleaning data can commence as early as possible. Doing the job early will help in spreading the workload to let the team focus on tasks that cannot begin until the post-design stage. It is recommended that you cleanse data right on the old system to streamline the extract, convert, and load process, making the process more effective and standardized.

Vendor Input: Include your vendor in the data migration and request their inputs. Your vendor will assist the team to recognize new data or characteristics for current information, as well as in loading data onto the organization’s new system. Vendors can also recommend things like the volume of data to be transferred or alternate solutions for accessing historical information if migrating to a company’s new system is problematic.

Best Practices for Successful ERP Data Migration

Data migration comprises a significant portion of the whole ERP execution process. It depends on a host of factors such as the total systems your company uses, the existence of legacy systems, the sites you’re going live, guidelines related to your industry, and total end-users involved with the process. The faster you delve deeper into the data, the better your possibilities of preventing delays or interruptions in the ERP implementation journey. Here are some of the best practices to follow when embarking on your ERP data migration process:

Think of a Plan: The first thing businesses need to do is build a rock-solid strategy depending on the goal and business model of the ERP data migration process. There are certain ways to improve an all-inclusive data migration plan. These include:

These steps will let data analysts evaluate the information better and obtain useful reports, content, and analysis using the data. This way, you can gain relevant and meaningful insights to modernize operations, minimize business risks, and make informed decisions for enhanced results.

Adhere to Data Standards: Irrespective of the amount of data sources your organization is migrating the information from, data in every system would be stored in diverse formats, not one format identical to the other. Stick to data standardization and build a migration design to ensure uniformity and some amount of consistency for every data. Ensure that the correct data exists in the precise location in the target source or system.

Perform Sufficient Testing: There are several tests associated with your data migration process including system, unit, batch application, volume, etc. We recommend that you perform these tests quickly sans any delay for every unit before the conversion is approved. It will help you to prevent the buildup of superfluous data issues until the final stages when the information is more costly to modify.

How Korcomptenz Can Help Businesses with ERP Data Migration?

As a Microsoft Dynamics Gold Partner, Korcomptenz will take care of your total data migration process right from concept building to implementation. Our seasoned ERP professionals have the right insights into the latest market trends and needs of modern organizations across various sectors. We leverage time-honored, agile methodologies and technologies, following industry-focused best practices while providing the best-in-class ERP data migration support and services.

Final Thoughts

When it is about your company’s ERP implementation, migrating the data is the most crucial and time-consuming factor related to the process. However, several companies make too many miscalculations when going through data migration in ERP. Routine coordination and interaction between different teams is particularly critical for successful data migration right from the upgrade process from AX 2009 and AX2012 to Dynamics 365 F&O and beating the data migration challenges. You need to be on the same page with your ERP migration partner. Only then you can go ahead with the migration process. Plan, build a rock-solid migration strategy, conform to data standards, and implement effective testing to get the desired outcome. Contact Korcomptenz’s ERP data migration experts to succeed in your ERP migration journey.

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