Garbage In? Garbage Out. The Client’s Part in the Data Migration Process

July 25, 2017

Written by: Heather Soper

Individuals within an organization seeking to update, or even create, processes and procedures will often use the move to a new HRIS system as the catalyst. They feel that their current platform is not as robust as they would like, or that it does not align with their plans for the future.

Sometimes clients are dissatisfied with their current service and feel like they need more options, and occasionally it is a lack of knowledge or understanding of their system which results in underutilization. One thing is for certain, if your data is “garbage” in your current system – and you do not make steps to correct it – your data will be “garbage” in your new system.

That may sound harsh, but the success of migrating data from one system to another is a critical factor to the effectiveness of your implementation. Your consultant should guide you with advice and best practices; however, the onus is on the customer to make sure that the data they are presenting to their implementation team to be loaded, is the data they want to utilize moving forward.

Consider this, I once worked with a customer doing a data conversion from a well-known payroll software vendor. They were not using their current software to its full potential (although it worked for them), and were placing different payroll elements into erroneous buckets within the system. As a result, reporting was invalid and showed some employees with earnings reported in categories for which they were ineligible, and others had “missing” earnings that were just mislabeled.

Attempting to translate all that invalid data into the new HRIS system uncovered multiple issues. The data was provided in the format requested, but the customer failed to relabel and reallocate amounts appropriately before providing it for load and, as a result, the data could not be tied out to make sure it was accurate. Earnings, deductions, and taxes were wrong. The load had to be scrapped, resulting in a delay of the implementation, and more scrambling trying to figure out how to pay people without the new platform being ready to go – it was a nightmare!  This not only caused delays but introduced unnecessary stresses and doubts with the stakeholders.  Buy in can also be impacted and long term usability compromised, all because of a preventable issue.

Your consultant will always have the best interests of your company in mind, but they do not know where your data is supposed to go, or if it is correct, unless you tell them. If there is an earning for overtime, and the client provides data to load that is labeled overtime, we don’t know if those amounts are in the correct place or if they should actually be in a shift differential column. We don’t know if salaries are correct, or if the jobs aligned to employees are accurate – only you will know this.  It is important for this to be understood and considered when scheduling time for data migration and validation. If you don’t take the time to validate and format the data correctly, it can affect everything from payroll taxes to reporting – Garbage In, Garbage Out!

HRchitect is a leader in Human Capital Management (HCM) implementations for most major systems. As a strategic consulting firm, and not just an implementation firm, we understand the importance of best practices and bring this expertise to help ensure a successful implementation that meets the unique needs of your organization. This includes discussions around your data that may be coming from another system and the pros and cons of data migration. HRchitect can also assist with HCM technology strategic planning, evaluation and selection services, and change management.

About Heather Soper, Implementation Consultant

Heather Soper is an Implementation Consultant at HRchitect with deep expertise assisting clients with Benefits and Core HR / Payroll Systems. Learn more about Heather Soper on LinkedIn.