There's a lot of interest these day in consolidating enterprise applications. Usually that means retiring a legacy application in favor of a packaged ERP application that, in theory, is more cost effective to run.
But more often than not, the migration to the packaged application winds up being extraordinarily painful because there are fields in the packaged application that never existed in the legacy application, fields that somebody has to fill in manually.
And, of course, once the migration is complete, IT organizations are usually left to their own devices to make sure that data in the new application matches up with the appropriate business process in a way that can be easily audited.
According to BackOffice Associates CEO Trish Kennedy, these are the fundamental problems that the master data management (MDM) platform from BOA automates. Every other MDM platform, she said, requires too much manual intervention to use, which puts undue pressure on the IT department.
Because of a lack of tools to truly automate the data migration process, most IT organizations take longer than necessary to implement a new ERP system. And in many instances, the migration is never attempted because the IT department doesn't want to devote an inordinate amount of time to it.
BOA argues that rather than tackling each database separately, IT organizations would be better off exporting all the data in the legacy applications into the BOA system at the beginning of the project. The BOA system can then compare that data to what's in the new ERP system to identify anomalies and errors. That means that when the migration is complete, there should be no errors in the new application.
The real issue, says Kennedy, is that IT organizations need to take a holistic approach to data migrations that takes into account all the relationships between business data. Anything short of that, she says, is just asking for trouble.