How to take the fear out of the dreaded data conversion this Halloween!
Halloween is the spookiest day of the year, and to celebrate this chilling occasion we are going to discuss a topic that can at times be considered equally frightening– switching retail management systems. From our experience, one of the most frightful challenges of a new retail software implementation is the dreaded data conversion. It is a critical step that involves retailers truly understanding their current database structure, what to keep and how to scrub the valuable data, and how to use it moving forward. Here are a couple of important data tips to keep in mind when switching retail platforms.
Have a plan
Successful data conversions start with proper planning. You need to define your goals, and answer the question: what do I want to accomplish with this project? To start you need to know what data needs to be moved, how much historical data needs to be kept, which data will be used online, and if there are there any data restrictions that your retail management provider needs to know about. We recommend converting the past two years of sales history, product and customer data.
Scrubbing and cleaning
Once your plan is in place, your next step is to analyze and scrub your exported data. Scrubbing your data will improve its quality and consistency and result with a clean database to then be imported into your new retail system. Any data that is incomplete, improperly formatted/duplicated with inconsistencies, duplicate customer records, etc. will need to be corrected. This can be a daunting and monstrous task, and so software providers often offer a service for data scrubbing, to take the burden off of the retailer.
Tests, tests and more tests
Our next tip is to ensure quality assurance. Testing your system will ensure everything is working properly and eliminate any ghastly situations while in production by revealing any issues with your data or even within your retail system in your environment. While your retail technology partner develops test scripts to simulate retail transitions and provides quality assurance, only after the individual retailer tests through their own businesses processes, can they be guaranteed that their new retail system will function with as needed and not cause any chilling situations after go-live.
Always have a backup
Our final tip is to back-up your database and do so regularly. There is nothing worse than perfectly executing your plan, scrubbing and reformatting your data, testing followed by importing your consolidated records, to have your system crash and risk losing everything. Your database needs to be backed up at critical points of your implementation process in order to prevent these frightful situations.
Cheers to a Spooky Halloween and a Happy Data Conversion!