In 2018 Novon helped one of their clients complete a complex data migration project from on premise, Peoplesoft ERP application to Oracle ERP in the cloud, while today Novon is working closely with one of Australia’s most complex banking groups as they migrate from their legacy back office, Peoplesoft GL to Oracle’s Cloud ERP solution. This migration is one of, if not the first global banking group to attempt this project, with many challenges and learnings being encountered along the way.
The most successful data migrations are those completed by an organisation and people who have done it before. Typically, no two migrations are ever the same, even when the existing and target applications are provided by the same vendor. This is particularly the case with Financials and ERP products, which are traditionally only replaced every 10 – 15 years and therefore not a common practice within an organisation.
Unfortunately, it is also very common to hear the vendors and consulting SI’s often downplay the detail and potential difficulties that may arise when migrating data from legacy applications to a new cloud-based solution. Often focusing on the functional comparisons and business benefits of moving to the cloud. There is often an implied expectation that the process of migrating the data is a forgone conclusion, when in fact, the data migration process will most often become the most difficult part of the move. If you think about it from the following perspective it should help you understanding of the complexities and challenges you may encounter.
When you were deciding on the new software you would have reviewed how well the proposed vendors software satisfied your functional requirements and you would have also looked for significant improvements in how the new software performed your existing functions or improved on them. Its how the new software enhances your current business processes that can cause the bulk of your data migration challenges. Both the old and the new software have an underlying data model that is greatly affected by the business processes, and they will be different, most often very different and its these differences in the data model that create significant data migration challenges! These challenges have a significant impact on the data model configuration during a migration and these impacts are the critical items that if not discovered and resolved prior to the data migration, can cause failures at testing and extend the time and cost to finish the project! By how much often depends on the data and the historic business rules / process differences, but the generally rule, the older the application the more complex this job will be.
Enterprise System Migration
For an enterprise implementations, both Financial and ERP applications have a degree of functional and configuration change unique to every organisation. These business rules cause significant translation challenges in the data when moving from old to new, and our experience with cloud based applications has shown us that this will mean thousands of lines of data and specific code that will just not fit in to the new target application unless first translated to fit into the new data model and support the new business processes.
Notwithstanding these data model and process differences mentioned above, there are in every migration several items that are the same and should always be adopted. Some of these items are; define your architecture first, agree on the number of check points for data validation, discover all business rules logic that might affect the migration, define key mappings for the data, resolve all data transformations and translations from the old to new data model, test data often and correct quickly and decide if the final migration is a big bang or gradual approach.
Get your free copy of the ‘All about Data Migration’ booklet here.