Picture this: You are currently using a computerized maintenance management software system (CMMS) that is outdated, no longer supported, too cumbersome to use or that you’ve outgrown.
Whatever the reason, the people in your maintenance department all agree, it’s time to get a new maintenance management system in place. You’re spearheading the project and two questions come to mind;
- How do I get the years of data that’s stored in our current CMMS into a new system?
- How much time will it take and how much will it cost?
This scenario isn’t too far off is it?
Data migration can be a grueling process if not planned out correctly. A lot of things can go wrong when extracting data from the current CMMS software, determining what data you want to be migrated to the new system, mapping out the field names, communication break downs with your current CMMS provider and the new provider, and the data migration itself. If you are currently going through this process or will be in the near future we have provided the following guidelines in an effort to help you avoid some costly pitfalls along the way.
If you’re confused about the next steps of data migration from your old CMMS to another, read on to learn these solid migration guidelines.
Guideline 1: Determine how to extract the data from your current CMMS
Extracting data with the latest maintenance management software systems is pretty simple and straightforward. Most CMMS come with extracting tools that allow users to export your data to CSV file or spreadsheet. If this is the case, then determine what data you need and export it. If you are not familiar with the extracting tools, it’s best to get one of the power users to help you, or ask someone from your IT department. Another option is contact the technical support team from your CMMS provider. There may be service fees involved with extracting the data, so make sure you ask about them up front. If technical support is in your service level agreement, then they will help you with no additional charges. If your current maintenance software program has easy-to-use extract tools, you are off to a great start.
Unfortunately, not all companies are using systems that were developed within the last 10 years. Some organizations are switching from CMMS programs that were developed more than 20 years ago, while others are looking to upgrade from a system that was built in-house by rounds of IT professionals. In such cases, extracting the data is not so simple, but not impossible. If you upgrading from an earlier maintenance program developed 10+ years ago, and that is no longer supported, we suggest connecting with the vendor (if they are still in business). Usually, when a system is no longer supported, the vendor simply discontinued the application, but will have technical staff and resources that should be able to assist you. Be prepared to spend a little money, as the business relationship is coming to end.
Guideline 2: Validate the Data
Once you have the data in a CSV file or spreadsheet, you need to go through it and make sure that you have all that you need, and the extract was a success. We highly recommend getting a second set of eyes, or better yet a third. You need to know what to look for. Compare the column names on the extracted file with the field names that you initially set out to export. If you are extracting equipment and assets, you will likely want the equipment or asset name, ID, make and model, serial number, install and purchase date, location, and history. Make sure nothing is missing and that the data looks good.
Guideline 3: Map and Redefine Field Names
The new CMMS software that you are migrating to will undoubtedly have different names for some of the data fields. Some field names are pretty standard, but if your current CMMS is really dated or is a home grown maintenance system, there will be discrepancies. For example, some maintenance management software name building and equipment all as assets, some name on demand work orders, unplanned maintenance. In order for the migration to go well, you have to spend some time on mapping the field names of your legacy CMMS to the new system. We strongly recommend using the services of your new CMMS provider for this. Your new software vendor wants to ensure that you have the best experience with their maintenance software, so they should be eager and willing to help. Get on a GoToMeeting call with them and go through your extract, bring up any uncertainties, establish the best way to define them and proceed with the data migration.
Guideline 4: Importing Data into New CMMS Software
Many maintenance software programs have import wizard tools which allows the client to upload large amounts of data without going through the CMMS vendor. This is a great tool if you are simply importing equipment, asset, parts list from excel files. But if you are migrating years of data from an older maintenance software program and have a lot of history, a lot can go wrong and things can get hairy. When there’s a lot of history, it’s best to get some help from the vendor’s data integration team. A smooth migration is key to the success of your new CMMS software.
Consult with your new CMMS provider when doing the import. If your maintenance processes are very unique, the new CMMS vendor might have to write a custom script to perform the import. If this is the case, find out what is involved and there may be some charges here. Make sure there is room in your budget for this. The maintenance software vendor should be forthcoming about costs and will let you know of any additional fees that might come up. Read our post on factors affecting setup to learn more.
Guideline 5: QA Testing
Once the data has been imported into the new maintenance management program, be sure to do some thorough QA testing. Have a couple of power users go through the system and make sure that everything looks good. Depending on how much data has been migrated, you’ll likely need a well prepared QA testing plan in advance. Things to test for, field names match and make sense, maintenance history is available and correct, equipment, asset and parts lists are sound. Play close attention to maintenance history if this was migrated. Run numerous queries and make sure that the results match up with your most recent reports. Because the field names may have changed in the new CMMS software, the data should be cross referenced with the field names from the old maintenance system. If errors are detected, present them to the CMMS vendor’s data integration team and get them resolved. If you are working with a helpful team, the back and forth can be kept to a minimum.
Guideline 6: Roll Out
Once the migration has passed the QA testing, you are ready to get trained and roll the new CMMS software out. Be sure to take advantage of all training opportunities provided by your maintenance software provider. Having all users well trained is one of the best ways to set you up for success. Many maintenance management software providers offer web conference training and technical support at no charge and some have regular training webinars. Understand what’s available and be sure to inform your maintenance team of these helpful resources.
What Does Data Migration Cost?
There is no simple answer to this. The cost of the data migration really depends on the amount of data and the format that it is in. if you are reformatting and importing 15 years of data, you should definitely leave room in your budget for the CMMS data migration. CMMS software vendors will be upfront about expected costs. If you provide a vendor with a sample of extracted data, it will give them a good idea of the amount of effort that will be involved with re configuring the data and then importing it. Remember, CMMS companies have professionals and integration specialists that do this type of work day in and day out. Don’t be shy! Make sure you ask the right questions, but be prepared for some migration fees.
Following these 6 simple guidelines is a sure fire way to get your CMMS account up and running quickly with accurate legacy data.
For more information on data migration and CMMS set up services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org!