The process of data migration

The process of data migration

 

The purpose of this article is to present the process of data migration, from an easy to understand perspective of people with no technical background, who encounter themselves with this challenge while using an ERP system.

Data migration is the process by which information is transferred from one software application to another. This process can be implemented in two stages: when you start using a new application (ERP, accounting software, etc.) and when a permanent transfer of data between two applications is required, the alternative being double registration of data in both systems.

One of the most common cases is the permanent transfer of data between a website and an ERP system. In most cases, the website provider is different from the ERP provider, so that, for the sake of good practice, they will not access data sources that are in the maintenance of the other. Yet, data sharing needs to take place. For this, the data must be available to the beneficiary, in a buffer zone. Such areas can be XML, CSV, Excel or TXT files. Specifically, the data from the website are exported to physical files (in a physical location accessible to both providers), from where the ERP implementer reads and uses them as needed.

But, this method tends to be less and less used. Currently, the data is transferred using web services. These are collections of functions, which called with a specific syntax extract the needed data from a website.

Further, the ERP implementer must use the data returned by these functions. For this, there are many variants, depending on the programming language used. Most have predefined functions and syntax for calling and reading a web service response. This work cannot be done without a programmer, who has access to the ERP area where code can be written, reading and processing the data, transforming them into records known by the ERP in question.

Things become simple when the ERP provider provides the implementer with a software component for data migration or systems integration. Although technical and programming skills are still needed, the development time is much shorter. In addition to the advantage of easy development, these software components come with a number of ready to use functionalities: timer for automatically triggering data transfer at a certain time, monitoring import results.

In the case of SAP Business One, ERP for small and medium-sized companies, produced by SAP SE Germany, the data migration utility is called the Integration Framework. It exceeds the data migration limit between two software applications, having the ability to retrieve data captured with sensors: light intensity, temperature, motion.
More details about the Integration Framework can be found here.

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