ERP migration, ERP, Asia, Asia Pacific
An evolution in Improvements in ERP migration practices are necessary for businesses in the Asia region that are pursuing digital transformation.

Digital transformation isn’t “coming” to Asia – it’s here, and business owners are welcoming it with open arms. In 2017, International Data Corporation (IDC) surveyed 1,138 organizations across 12 countries in Asia on the topic of digital disposition. The study showed that the number of so-called “digital resistors” in these 12 countries dropped from 45.4% in 2016 to 24.8% in 2017. The study also found that 39.9% of organizations surveyed described themselves as “digital explorers,” having proactively initiated organizational “digital transformation” projects. Despite this shift in focus, the IDC study went on to reveal that 78% of organizations surveyed still “lack a digital mindset.” While initial zeal may introduce digital transformation, an integrated technical architecture is necessary for it to last.

The backbone of a company’s information systems, ERP software, is particularly important to an organization’s digital evolution. Retailers in Asia are starting to migrate their ERPs or implement new ERP projects because the current ones are old, worn out, or simply unable to support their business transformation journey beyond core activities. Improvements such as expanding beyond fuel to non-fuel and food services, executing digital initiatives, and optimizing operations and customer experience while leveraging a single data source across their supply chain are not just challenging – they are impossible with current ERPs. IDC reports that evolving a suitable digital transformation to address these challenges will involve a 10-year journey, taking 75% of Asia enterprises until 2027 to realize fully. As a part of this metamorphosis, many organizations will need to migrate from limited, outdated ERPs – ERPs that simply are not fit for purpose and lack the ability to meet retailer needs out of the box – to comprehensive, agile, capable, integrated ERPs that are hosted in the cloud and require no major enhancements at rollout. Obviously, ERP migration is no simple task, but by keeping three guiding principles of ERP migration front-of-mind, organizations anywhere can minimize complications.

Migrate swiftly with proven practices

Before an ERP migration ever takes off, business owners should communicate all requirements to relevant stakeholders. In reviewing requirements, business owners should then be mindful of bias toward well-known/comfortable systems, taking inventory of all systems currently in use and being wary of sometimes unreliable tribal knowledge sparked by habit.

A quick ERP migration minimizes transformation chaos; however, speed without proper planning invites continued chaos in the years following implementation. One of the first steps in a speedy, reliable migration is streamlining repeatable, predictable processes. Often, when the order to migrate comes down, it is accompanied with a requested net of “everything.” However, arbitrarily moving data you no longer need or that is wholly obsolete will simply bloat your new system, just as it did your old system. Be discerning about what to retain. Automate sharing between IT and business users to improve transparency during the process. Doing so ensures that all stakeholders willingly sign off.

Be vigilant in validation

The adage “measure twice, cut once” has poignant application in the context of ERP migration, as once the “cut” that separates your organization from old data and processes occurs, it may be irreversible. Bolster confidence by executing multiple mock loads well ahead of final implementation. Thoroughly validate assumptions in each testing cycle, and involve a variety of roles, from organizational decision makers to tech experts to SMEs, to avoid costly mistakes. Beyond conducting mock loads, organizations should also perform full mock migrations. The time investment in doing so, while potentially significant, will be minimal compared to the time spent performing damage control on a faulty, incomplete, or error-filled migration.

Control expenses

Retaining a historic investment is one of the most compelling reasons organizations continue with outdated, inflexible ERPs. But clinging to inadequate technology simply to avoid relinquishing a years-old financial expense, may prevent promising organizations in Asia from making the leap into digital transformation. Progress may be painful, but organizational leaders must evaluate the effectiveness of legacy systems and take appropriate action. That being said, there are a few ways “digital explorers” can minimize migration expenses, making the jump to a modern ERP a little more palatable.

Invest in a robust ERP solution, as it will handle much of the migration work for you, reducing staff time and minimizing costly migration delays or failures. Additionally, a dynamic solution can recycle rules and data design elements, making the app a viable option for the future, saving organizations thousands through repeat use. Ultimately, by reducing migration complexity, an intuitive ERP application can “pay itself off” quickly.

IDC estimates that by 2020, “50% of all enterprises in Asia Pacific are forecast to have fully articulated an organization-wide digital platform strategy.” An organization’s ERP is an essential link in an updated digital platform. As continued digital transformation continues to take place in Asia, ERP migration will be necessary across a multitude of retail organizations. Remember these principles, and keep chaos at bay.

Did You Know: Your Source for PDI News provided by PDI, the leader in enterprise management software for the convenience retail and petroleum wholesale markets.