An ERP implementation is a major undertaking for any organization, regardless of company size. Whether you are upgrading your existing ERP, implementing the company’s very first, or merging legacy systems together to achieve one common enterprise platform, the process can be quite timely and complex.
If you speak with any industry professional who has previously been through an enterprise system implementation, chances are they will tell you that data quality was one of the most critical and underestimated success factors. Here’s why…
The purpose of an ERP is to provide integrated visibility across all business units, while enabling efficient asset utilization and planning. What fuels this ever so important piece of technology is data, more specifically high quality data. There are many variables that define quality data such as completeness, information accuracy, standardization, classification, and proper formatting. In many cases, legacy data has been entered by several different employees with varying languages and interpretations, using multiple enterprise systems, and with little to no standard guidelines. Without complete, consistent, and reliable data, ERP search and reporting functionality is significantly limited and often misleading.
Implementing a data cleansing initiative in parallel with an ERP implementation not only makes sense from a project success and ROI standpoint, but also from a budgetary perspective. It is often much easier to build the cost of data cleansing into a larger ERP implementation than it is to justify a separate project after the fact. In order to maximize ERP functionality and project success, legacy data must be merged together, cleaned, and migrated into the new system. “Clean” implies that the data now maintains a standard nomenclature, possesses valid attribute-rich descriptions, and has been properly formatted to the specified system requirements.
A Data Cleansing solution provider will utilize a combination of internal software, subject matter expertise, and manual procedures to effectively clean, standardize, and enhance legacy data. Prior to project commencement, a custom Standard Operating Procedure must be developed to define the nomenclature, abbreviations, classifications, policies, and formatting structure that will be applied during the cleansing process. The Standard Operating Procedure will not only be used during the initial cleansing project, but will also be used in the ongoing governance of all future data entries. During the cleansing process, duplication and unidentifiable items will be flagged for company review. Upon review, these items will later remain in the item master provided that adequate information has been collected, or will be removed completely. Once the project is complete, cleansed data is prepared into a load-ready file for seamless migration into the new ERP system.
Undeniably, an enterprise system is only as functionally useful as the quality of data flowing through it. If you are planning to implement a new ERP system in the near future, do your team and your company a favor by including data cleansing as a priority in the project plan. In the end it will save you a lot of time, stress, and money, in addition to the shame of a failed ERP implementation.
For more information on data cleansing or to request a data evaluation, visit www.imaltd.com or contact email@example.com.