The Best Practices of ERP Migration — Challenges, Strategy, Checklist

Abto Software
7 min readMay 17, 2021

ERP systems, like any other digital business solutions, need to go in hand with new technologies. Outdated ERPs not just stole time from the business, they block its growth. ERP migration is never an easy process, but it’s necessary if you want to keep your business afloat.

In this article, we will learn how to create a proper ERP migration project plan and how to divide it into phases. At the end of the page, you will find an ERP data migration checklist convenient for any business.

What is ERP migration?

There are five types of ERP migration depending on which part of your system you need to migrate (database, backend, frontend). Each of them takes a different amount of time and efforts. The first three types do not require changes in user interfaces and can be done in comparatively short terms. The last two are hard in execution and need bigger teams and investments. Your main goal here is to choose the migration type based on your long-term business goals.

Type 1 — Database migration.

That is the basic ERP data migration that not affects the backend and frontend. The ERP system remains the same as well as the DB (Database) solution. For example, you need to migrate your database from MS SQL on-premises to MS SQL on the Cloud (Instead of MS SQL, it can be any other database type).

Project duration: 2/10

Team size: 2/10

Type 2. DB migration & DB Change

This type includes database migration as well as the previous one, but this time DB solution needs to be changed. This type of migration means that the database will not just be moved from MS SQL on-premises to the Cloud, but also MS SQL will be changed on Oracle (or any other database type).

Project duration: 3/10

Team size: 3/10

Type 3. Migration of DB and backend

You can choose this type of ERP migration if you need to migrate the database along with the ERP backend. As an illustration, you can migrate DB and backend from solution on-premises to the Cloud.

Project duration: 6/10

Team size: 6/10

Type 4. ERP system migration

This type will be suitable for your business if you need to change the ERP system. For example, replace Oracle ERP with Microsoft Dynamics GP or vice versa. Usually, the fourth type of migration requires new system customization, which will take extra time and expenses.

Project duration: 8/10

Team size: 8/10

Type 5. Migration to custom ERP

This type is a migration from your current ERP software to a custom solution built from scratch. That is the hardest type of migration that requires expensive development. However, it allows the business to get a unique solution tailored to their needs. For any business that wants to expand and stay competitive, the custom ERP software is always paid off.

Project duration: 10/10

Team size: 10/10

When is the best time for a company to migrate an ERP system?

ERP migration requires time, the right resources and an understanding of why the company generally needs a management system. Here are 10 top signs that your company is ready for migration:

  1. The current ERP system doesn’t cover all business needs;
  2. The benefits it gives to the business do not justify time and money expenses on ERP tech support and bug fixing;
  3. The current ERP isn’t able to handle full data flow;
  4. Business changes require different ERP functions, and over 40% of old ERP system need to be changed;
  5. New technologies on the market that is more convenient for your business;
  6. Outdated system become a bottleneck for your company growth;
  7. The team understands the necessity of changes and ready to learn how to work with a new solution;
  8. There are no urgent business problems or crises that can complicate the migration process;
  9. Timing is agreed with the accounting department. To not lose important figures, some businesses will prefer to migrate after the end of the financial year, some — before;
  10. You have a reliable tech supplier that will help to migrate your ERP system without time, data, and cost losses.

ERP migration strategy

If you sure that your company is ready for ERP migration and all the challenges and risks are taken into account, then it is time to start building the ERP migration strategy and project plan. All your decisions should be based on long term business goals. Having your goal in mind, you will make the ERP migration process less expensive and painful.

Different for every project and every migration type, migration strategy still has several common steps. A professional vendor will help you to do not get lost on the way. In this article, we will focus on ERP system migration (Type 4.) to give you broader information. The example is covering ERP system change with several modernizations.

We suggest dividing the migration plan into smaller steps or phases that will be easier to control and deliver. Do not miss any detail during the project realization using the ERP data migration checklist in every phase.

ERP migration project plan

Phase 1: Current state analyses


To start with, you need to analyze the current business situation and your ERP solution. List all challenges and drawbacks of your ERP to understand more clearly what needs to be changed. Define operating markets and forms of business ownership, locations of organizational units. List down the certifications that the ERP is compliant with.

Phase 2: Deployment analyses


Your project documentation should consist of two parts: the expected situation and current analysis. For example, describing the server operating system, note which system you are currently using and which are you going to use after ERP system migration. Have this information documented, you are answering the necessary questions for your tech vendor.

Phase 3: Planning


Working on every of our migration projects, we suggest to our clients to not migrate the whole database at once. It will prevent a lot of problems and simplify the process for every part involved: company management, ERP final users, and tech vendor.

We suggest finishing the list of ERP modulus during this phase and prioritizing their development. Some companies will prefer to transfer data in two steps: pilot transfer and final transfer.

For businesses with more complicated ERP systems, custom modules, and bigger databases will be more convenient to migrate in several steps. You can migrate every module separately or in groups. In this case, it will be enough time for ERP final users to get used to the new system and tech vendor to polish it.

Phase 4: Team assignment


Based on the previous analyses, you already have plenty of data and can finalize the ERP migration project plan. That is the time to allocate the right people in the right places in your and your vendor’s teams.

Phase 5: Pre-Migration events


Before migration, it is always a good idea to revise your database. Misused or unnecessary data can lead to difficulties and time lost during the migration project. It is not necessary to assign tech experts to the data cleaning. Your employees who regularly use the ERP system will know better which data is your Master Data and which information was duplicated by mistake.

Phase 6: Data transfer and testing


Depending on the migration type you have chosen, you will transfer the first part of your data during this phase. You can transfer data for the pilot migration, the first ERP module or a group of modules according to the prioritization plan. Step by step migration will give you more control of the process and allow a quicker reaction to errors.

If you migrate your ERP module by module, the team will return to Phases 6 and 7 more than once.

Phase 7: Modernization


The modernization phase will depend on your project size and plan. In our example for a smaller database, after transferring part of the data you already have experience with the renewed ERP system. It is time to validate your ideas about new functionality for the ERP and start the modernization process. In bigger projects, you will come back to the phase after finishing previous modernizations.

Phase 8: Testing and post-deployment


The last stage is for testing, bug fixing, training of ERP end-users, and for small correlations. It is a good time for the business to test its new system and plan how it can be polished in future.

Find here the ERP data migration checklist for every phase.


With years of experience in ERP migration, we know how complicated the process can be. But also we know that with structured and professional approaches, results for businesses can overcome any expectations. Do not hesitate to make this important step to release new growth opportunities for your business. And the Abto Software teams are always ready to join your ERP migration projects and use our experience for your company profit.

Originally published at on May 17, 2021.



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