ERP Migration Potholes to Avoid on the Road to the Cloud

The migration of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to the cloud holds the promise of transformative benefits, but it’s not without its challenges.

Time and time again, organizations have embarked on this journey with great anticipation, only to encounter unforeseen roadblocks that leave them grappling with disruptions, inefficiencies, and unmet expectations.

By understanding and proactively addressing these challenges, businesses can pave the way for successful ERP migrations that harness the system’s full potential while avoiding the potholes that can otherwise hinder their progress.

Common Bumps in the Road You May Face During ERP Migration

ERP migration is a significant undertaking for organizations striving to streamline their operations, enhance efficiency, and drive growth. However, the path to a successful migration is laden with potential pitfalls that can disrupt operations, incur unexpected costs, and lead to frustration among stakeholders.

Understanding these ERP migration potholes is crucial for steering your migration project toward success.

Complexities of Data Migration

One of the most intricate challenges in ERP migration revolves around data migration. The intricate nature of data, often spread across various systems, departments, and formats, can result in several potholes if not navigated carefully.

Migrating vast amounts of data introduces the risk of data corruption, loss, or duplication. Ensuring the integrity and accuracy of data during the migration process is paramount to prevent erroneous outcomes.

For example, data inconsistencies and inaccuracies might have crept into the existing systems. Cleaning and validating data before migration is essential to prevent carrying those errors over into the new ERP.

Additionally, data from legacy systems might not align seamlessly with the new ERP structure. Mapping data fields and transforming them to fit the new schema can be challenging and time-consuming.

Integration Woes

Integrating the new ERP with the existing technology landscape can lead to compatibility issues. Ensuring seamless data exchange and workflows between the ERP and other systems demands meticulous planning.

APIs and middleware are the glue that holds various systems together. Inadequate API design or middleware selection can hinder smooth data flow and functionality between systems.

On the other hand, inconsistent or delayed data synchronization between the ERP and other systems can lead to discrepancies, operational inefficiencies, and decision-making challenges.

Human Errors and Resistance

The human factor cannot be overlooked when discussing ERP migration. The organizational shift to a new system requires thorough change management and effective training.

Employees accustomed to the old systems might resist adopting new processes, leading to a decrease in productivity and increased frustration. Failing to provide comprehensive training and knowledge transfer to employees can result in mistakes, confusion, and underutilization of the new ERP’s capabilities.

Further, striking a balance between customizing the ERP to meet specific business needs and ensuring user-friendly interfaces is essential. Over-customization might hinder user adoption and future upgrades.

Technical Glitches

Even with meticulous planning, data migration and system adjustments can lead to temporary performance degradation, impacting day-to-day operations if not anticipated and managed. Also, technical hiccups, such as software bugs or compatibility problems, can impede the functionality of the new ERP system and affect overall performance.

All in all, rushing through testing phases or overlooking critical scenarios can result in undetected errors post-migration, affecting the efficiency and accuracy of the ERP system. In navigating these ERP migration potholes, thorough planning, comprehensive testing, continuous communication, and a commitment to addressing challenges as they arise are key.

Best Practices for Successful ERP Migration to the Cloud

Undertaking an ERP migration demands a comprehensive strategy to navigate the complexities and potential pitfalls. By adhering to the following best practices, you can significantly enhance the chances of a successful ERP migration.

Thorough planning and assessment: Begin with an in-depth analysis of your current systems, processes, and data. Identify pain points, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement that the new ERP system should address. Identify potential risks and challenges specific to your organization. This could include data migration complications, integration hurdles, or employee resistance. Develop a detailed plan outlining the migration process, including timelines, responsibilities, and contingency plans for unforeseen challenges.

Data preparation and validation: Before migration, cleanse and transform your data to ensure accuracy and consistency. This reduces the chances of errors carrying over to the new system. Implement thorough validation checks to verify the accuracy of migrated data. Establish protocols to address discrepancies and errors promptly. Maintain reliable backup systems and disaster recovery plans to safeguard against potential data loss during the migration process.

Change management and training: Initiate a change management strategy that includes involving employees in the migration process from the beginning, communicating the benefits and reasons for the change. Provide tailored, hands-on training to ensure employees are comfortable with the new ERP’s features. Offer ongoing support and resources post-migration to address user questions, concerns, and to facilitate a smooth transition.

Rigorous testing: Create comprehensive test cases and scenarios covering various aspects of the ERP system, including data input, output, integrations, and user interfaces. Set up staging environments that mirror the production environment for testing purposes to ensure that testing closely simulates real-world usage. Implement multiple testing cycles to detect and rectify any errors or issues that might arise. Iterative testing enhances the system’s stability and performance.

Contingency planning: Establish detailed rollback plans in case critical failures occur during migration. This ensures you have a clear path to revert to the previous state if needed. Implement backup solutions for critical processes to maintain business continuity in the event of unexpected disruptions. Regularly assess the health and performance of the ERP system post-migration to identify any emerging issues and address them promptly.

A well-planned and executed ERP migration can drive improved efficiency, streamlined processes, and better decision-making across your organization. That said, if you feel unequipped to handle your ERP migration solely in-house, you have options.

In-House vs Outsourced: Which Is Best to Avoid Potholes?

The choice of whether to handle ERP migration in-house or seek assistance from an external partner hinges on multiple factors, such as the complexity of your organization’s requirements, the expertise within your team, budget constraints, and your risk tolerance.

Managing ERP migration internally provides direct control over the project and potential cost savings, but it requires expertise in areas like data migration, integration, and change management. Resource allocation and extended timelines could also be concerns.

On the other hand, partnering with external ERP consultants offers specialized knowledge, quicker project completion, and enhanced risk management. While there are associated costs, they might be offset by saved time and resources.

This decision necessitates evaluating your team’s expertise, project intricacy, budget, risk appetite, and the potential benefits of a hybrid approach that combines internal and external efforts.

Ultimately, the right choice will align with your organization’s goals, capabilities, and the desired outcome of the ERP migration. Consulting professionals and conducting a thorough analysis can aid in making a well-informed decision.

Tell-Tale Signs It’s Time to Look for a New Partner

In our experience helping hundreds of clients modernize their ERP systems, we’ve repeatedly seen organizations that have partnered with other migration service providers in the past, only to end up with lost data, technical hiccups, and, ultimately, unsuccessful ERP migrations.

If you’re dissatisfied with your current outsourced ERP migration partner, it’s essential to take proactive steps. Begin by evaluating the reasons for your dissatisfaction, then engage in open communication with the partner to discuss your concerns and possible solutions. Review your contract terms for guidance and work together to address the issues.

If resolution efforts prove ineffective, escalate the matter within the partner organization, and maintain thorough documentation of all interactions and outcomes.

Ultimately, be prepared to transition the project to a new partner or in-house. Then, learn from the experience to improve future outsourcing decisions. Prioritizing your organization’s interests throughout the process is crucial.

Steer Clear of ERP Cloud Migration Potholes with Sikich

In the realm of ERP migration, where the promise of transformation coexists with significant challenges, organizations often embark with high expectations only to encounter unforeseen hurdles leading to setbacks, inefficiencies, and objectives falling short.

By proactively addressing these challenges—especially if they do so with an experienced third-party consultant and partner—businesses can guide their ERP migrations towards success, maximizing the systems’ potential while circumventing potential pitfalls.

Ready to navigate the ERP migration landscape and emerge stronger, more agile, and better prepared for the road ahead? Don’t go at it alone.

For more than 30 years, we’ve facilitated hundreds of successful ERP implementation projects across numerous industries. Reach out to the team at Sikich to learn how we can help you get future ready, too.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

About the Author