Joe Hoover: We've made it through our conversations around the people and process characteristics to keep in mind for a public sector ERP project. Now let's consider the systems characteristics that help your organization have a successful implementation. The first thing to identify before getting started is the quality of your data.
We come across this issue in almost every project – the quality of the existing data needs to be assessed to understand if it needs to be fixed within the current system or handled during conversion. Doing this during conversion requires a certain awareness & recognition of challenges that may arise, although it is sometimes reasonable to fix the data once it's in the new system. However, it's fixing the data in the legacy system that has the biggest impact in my experience.
What I mean is that over the many years, if you happen to have a legacy system, then that master record file for the employee could end up with different values. If the data isn't cleaned up prior to the start of the ERP implementation, then it's going to impact the timeline. Once a project is fully underway, you do not want to find out that you have bad data.
Barbie Hunley: Absolutely. Because then you're distracting from those crucial project resources who should be learning from the new system.
The employee example is a really great because some of the older systems don't have the capability to do something like assign someone a new employee number if they retire and come back while retaining all the data associated with that person. That’s why some of those decisions have to be made up front, or else dirty data gets brought over unintentionally. You don't want to bring that into the new system, you want to start off as clean as possible.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to identify that up front and understand that it is a cross-functional task. Get the tech team in there so that they understand what data we are going to pull when we go into conversions.