How to Perform HRMS Data Migration

Any HRMS is only as good (i.e. as useful) as the data that it contains. If the recorded information is out of date, incomplete or just plain wrong, then all the fancy self-service features, analytical capabilities and careful system integration in the world won’t give you a return on your investment. As the old truism goes: garbage in, garbage out. So the question is, how can HRMS data migration be performed in such a way as to ensure maximum data utility?

Time to Clean House

First of all, it’s time to clean house. Taking data from your legacy HRMS system and transferring to its new home isn’t just an opportunity to cleanse, clarify and update employee information, it’s practically mandatory for successful HRMS data migration. For reasons of pay, terms and conditions, time and attendance records, succession planning, talent management and so on, accurate data is critical. Ask your people to check their own records, not only does that give the best result, it also serves to engage them in the implementation of the new HRMS.

Consider the timing of your go-live. For many HR functions, it may make no difference to your HRMS data migration but there are some scenarios that have a timing element. For example, if you are planning a major recruitment drive later in the year, it might be better to have switched systems beforehand and therefore be in a position to input new employee information directly into the new database. Or if your HRMS includes a payroll module, starting at the beginning of a new financial year means less data to migrate because the balances are at zero.

Test the System

System testing is another way to ensure your data accuracy during HRMS data migration. With employee records there’s no real room for error if you want to avoid complaints from the workforce (which would damage the new system’s credibility). Once the new system is functional and loaded with the migrated data, carry out some rigorous parallel running tests against your legacy system. Not only does this uncover any software and hardware problems that can be fixed before go-live, but you are also hoping for more accurate information outputs as a reflection of your successfully cleansed and migrated data.

One option is to use the services of an external consultant. Some of the technical implementation issues, including HRMS data migration, may be beyond your in-house staff; or perhaps they simply don’t have the time. Whether it’s via the system vendor or through a separate source, consider engaging an expert who specializes in exactly this kind of task.

Migration to the Cloud

Given the potential effort involved, it’s worth pointing out that the benefits of clean, accurate data for an organization include: better succession planning, improved workforce reporting and analytics, easier auditing and archiving, and a solid foundation for business process reengineering.

Finally, if you’re going off-premises and making the leap to a cloud HRMS, your data will be one step removed from your direct control (being stored elsewhere) and ensuring its accuracy and completeness prior to launch becomes even more important. Remember the key test is if the accuracy of the data in the new system equals or exceeds the old then your HRMS data migration was a success.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall