HR Data: five steps for preparing for your HRMS migration

Some old truisms bear repeating regularly: your new HRMS is only ever going to be as good as the data it contains. After all, you can buy the most advanced analytics functionality in the world but if it’s working with inaccurate HR data, the insights it can provide your HR team will be limited at best and false at worst.

When migrating data from a legacy HRMS to your new purchase, there are a few non-negotiable steps you need to follow.

1. Plan your process

No aspect of your HRMS implementation should be done on the fly, least of all any data-related activities. Lay out the individual steps needed, then consider timings and who will take responsibility for carrying them out. Do not underestimate the time that data migration can require.

Recommended reading: learn how to plan and manage your HRMS implementation with our nine steps to HRMS implementation success

2. Cleanse out-of-date HR data

However accurate and complete you think your current database is, a change of HRMS is the perfect time to review the information it holds. After all, this information will inform pay, terms and conditions, time and attendance records, succession planning and talent management. Identify all gaps in your database and fill them. Check the accuracy by asking individuals to view and update their own personal data - this also engages users in the project, heightening their awareness of the impending change of system.

3. Run a pre-migration test

Before you entrust your precious HR data to its new home, run through the standard functions and processes using either dummy data or a sample selection of real records. This is basically a case of checking the integrity of the basket before you put your eggs into it, and can throw up the need for some basic fixes before you proceed.

4. Migrate the data

Your vendor should provide guidance and step-by-step instructions on the details of how to transfer your HR data to the new system.

5. Test the system post migration

Now the real test begins. Once the new system is functional and the data migration process complete, run a series of rigorous parallel-running tests, comparing the functions against your legacy HRMS. The benefits here are two-fold: firstly, you should identify any software or hardware problems before you go live. Secondly, you should start to see the improved performance that you are expecting from the new, enhanced system. In other words, this round of testing is all part of your HRMS evaluation and an early indicator of ROI levels.

This can be a highly technical process. Depending on your financial circumstances and what skills are available in-house you may consider bringing in an external consultant, either supplied by the vendor or an independent third party expert.

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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