Although migrating from a legacy system to an advanced enterprise resource planning (ERP) system has several benefits, the cost and effort involved in a migration project are what scares most organizations off a data migration project. An ERP data migration project can take months or even years, depending on the organization's size and the number of companies involved. So, the fear is only justified. Additionally, if you have employees leave in the middle of a data migration project, that stalls the process even further.
However, if you have decided to move from your legacy ERP to Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management (D365 F&SCM), there are a lot of benefits such as improved functionality and features. You might be moving from Microsoft Dynamics AX2009 or AX2012, or another ERP in this case. This ambitious undertaking needs strategic planning, as we have seen implementation projects fail miserably before the customers used our solutions.
If you are wondering who we are and why To-Increase is involved in ERP data migration and ERP implementation projects, it is because we build solutions to solve challenges within the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem. We have a low-code/no-code solution named, Connectivity Studio, that can help you manage the challenges of ERP data migration if you decide to move to D365 F&SCM. We have helped over 600 customers in completing data integration and migration projects over the last 16+ years.
Therefore, in this blog, we will run through the challenges you can expect if you have decided to move from a legacy system/another ERP to D365 F&SCM and explain how our solution can solve those challenges with simple configurations.
First, what is Connectivity Studio?
In a nutshell, Connectivity Studio is a solution that simplifies integration and data migration and helps you to map data between your business systems and applications using configurations. It is also the base engine for our electronic data exchange (EDI Studio) and master data management (Master Data Management Studio) solutions. Although we offer this solution for D365 F&SCM, BC, AX, and NAV, in this blog, we will focus on the D365 data migration functionalities offered by Connectivity Studio for F&SCM.
Connectivity Studio can help you with high-performance data migrations using file-based imports or using a connector such as ODBC from AX 2009/2012/another ERP to D365 F&SCM.
Below is a video that will give you an overview of our solution.
What are the challenges in data migration when moving to Dynamics 365 F&SCM?
Moving transactional data
Using Connectivity Studio, the data migration possibilities are not limited to just master data like customers, products, vendors, but you can also import transactional data. So, if you use a ledger journal and want to move transactional data with certain financial dimensions you can do that with Connectivity Studio.
When you import transactional data using our integration solution, you will keep the history of orders for the last few years from your customers, which can help you with reporting and analysis.
We typically see most companies have four financial dimensions, but we recently worked with a customer that had 13 financial dimensions in their legacy ERP system that needed to be moved to Dynamics 365 F&SCM. Their older ERP system did not have the same rules around financial dimensions whereas in D365 there are rules.
So, they implemented our application integration solution for D365 F&SCM – Connectivity Studio which helped them with data migration since our solution can help you connect D365 ERP with other business systems and even ERPs.
Our solutions helped them ensure that all their data was validated and all the combinations that were incorrect gave an error so that they could make the changes while running tests in the staging environment. Our consultants helped them simplify this process by creating one view of all the erroneous combinations for financial dimensions so that the data could be checked easily, and any corrections could be made if needed.
Mapping fields and tables with Dynamics 365
Microsoft’s Data Management Framework (DMF) has over 1500 data entities. So, while migrating data, you need to have the same naming structure as D365 F&SCM or you need to start development.
With Connectivity Studio you can configure a kind of business logic with variables and conditions which gives you the option of several mapping possibilities. So, while performing data migrations you can do data manipulations by using placeholders such as transformations, conversions, and default values. You can also use conditional mapping at the table or field level with which you can also do some data cleansing.
External relations (recid relations)
Microsoft uses a unique 10-digit number on records for the customer identifier. So, in your old system, say you used a 6-digit customer number, with records of previous sales orders for a customer. When you move that data to Microsoft Dynamics 365, it will generate a new unique recid relation id for the customer and you will lose previous sales order records as the customer number doesn’t corroborate with the new recid relations number.
So, using Connectivity Studio, you can ensure the correct record relations are there for recid relations for different ERP systems and from previous AX versions.
It is important to have the correct inventory count at the start of a data migration project. So once the items in the warehouse have been checked and counted, they can be posted in Dynamics 365.
Using our solution, you can enter the starting amount and get the number for the deductions in case there has been a miss in inventory entry of a sales order or then theft can also be checked.
Multi-company import support
Using Dynamics 365, you can have sub-companies within a company. So, you might have multiple products with their own brands under the larger parent company. Some of these offerings might be available within limited countries while some might be available for many countries. So, it is possible that you might have the same customer purchasing several products and you will then need to upload that same customer to multiple companies at the same time which is not currently supported by Dynamics 365. But using Connectivity Studio this is possible.
To share an example, one of our customers had 3000 different companies and used our integration solution for their data migration project. They were able to migrate data for 50 companies at the same time with great accuracy which helped them improve the time taken for the project cause migrating one company at a time would have taken them much longer in comparison.
When you are importing data, you need to ensure dependent data is first imported before other data. For instance, first, you import currencies, then countries, then addresses, etc. So, there is a whole hierarchy that needs to be followed for data in data migration.
In another example, you cannot complete a sales order if your customer data has not been migrated to the system. Using Connectivity Studio, this hierarchy can be set up and when you import data, the system will automatically import data based on the hierarchy.
Parallel import (multi-threading)
If we use just one thread for a large amount of data imports, it can be a long processing time. So, we can split the data and use multi-threading and migrate data in parallel using batch processing really quickly in Connectivity Studio. We can optimize the use of the processor and improve the speed at the same time.
Why our integration solution is a great tool for data migrations for D365 ERP?
Low code or no code
Our solutions are built for business users and can be used with simple configurations. We offer tutorials that can be customized and can help you build your data migrations. For more technical and complex integrations also, it is easier to work with Connectivity Studio with minimal coding.
Integrated with D365 source code
All our solutions are embedded in D365 using the same business logic and source code so we can use the same methods/classes during import which makes data migrations quicker.
Use multiple data sources
Using Connectivity Studio, you can import data from multiple data sources using tables, entities, and views. Not just legacy ERP systems, you can also import data from Excel spreadsheets.
This includes business logic tracing and allows you to track migrations. You can export historical data and use it for analysis and reporting. Using the history, you can also look for data discrepancies when you get an error during data import.
Automatic splitting of files
Using Connectivity Studio, you can split files automatically which increases the processing time and helps you migrate data quickly.
Using this feature, you can start test runs with small batches of data and then increase the duration of each migration test if you see no errors. If there are errors, then you can correct them. This improves your chances of accuracy when you run the final data migration.
Are you considering moving to Microsoft Dynamics 365?
If you are considering the move to Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&SCM from another ERP system or from AX2009/2012, you do not have to hire developers or start developing this project in-house. Our ready-to-use enterprise solution will help you migrate data, integrate your systems, and can also help you monitor those integration messages using the Connectivity Monitor app which is available with Connectivity Studio.
If you have any questions or would like to share your business case, reach out to our experts. This will help them recommend the best possible approach and our team of consultants can also guide you through this project at every step. Additionally, we would ask you to consider data quality management during your data migration projects as that can help you weed out errors, duplicate records, and missing information, that can otherwise go unnoticed.
To learn more about Connectivity Studio before you reach out to our team, please download the factsheet from the link below.