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7 min read

What is Data Conversion and Why Does it Matter?

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Data conversion is an incredibly crucial part of switching financial software systems. At its core, a smooth transition hinges on this critical yet often undervalued process. Software Solutions has done hundreds of data conversions over the years and has built code to make it easier. That’s why we have the best data conversions in the public ERP software space.  

Understanding this intricate process empowers you to make informed decisions when looking into new accounting software, safeguarding your valuable data and ensuring a successful software implementation. In this article, we’ll explain what software data conversion entails, the intricate process of switching vendors, and why Software Solutions stands out as the industry leader in data conversion for public sector finance. 


What is Data Conversion? 

At its core, software data conversion is the process of transforming data from one system to another. Whether you're upgrading to a newer version of your current software or switching vendors altogether, data conversion ensures that crucial financial information is seamlessly transferred without loss or corruption. 

For local government finance officials, whose responsibilities include managing budgets, payroll, accounts payable, and more, data integrity is paramount. A smooth data conversion process ensures that historical financial data is preserved, enabling continuity and informed decision-making. 

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The General Process 

Switching public sector accounting ERP software involves careful planning and execution, especially when it comes to data conversion. Here's a general overview of how the process might work: 

  1. Assessment and Planning: The first step is to assess the current data held in your vendor’s ERP system. This includes reviewing the types of financial data stored, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger entries, payroll records, budget information, and any other relevant data. 

  2. Mapping Data: Once the assessment is complete, the next step is to map the data from the old system to the corresponding data fields in the new system. This involves identifying equivalent data elements and ensuring that the data will be accurately transferred between the two systems. 

  3. Data Extraction: After mapping the data, the actual extraction process begins. Data is extracted from the old system in the appropriate format for transfer to the new system. This may involve exporting data from databases, generating reports, or using data migration tools provided by both software vendors. 

  4. Data Transformation: Once the data is extracted, it may need to be transformed or converted to meet the requirements of the new system. This could involve converting data formats, reconciling differences in data structures, and ensuring data integrity throughout the process. 

  5. Data Cleansing: Before importing the data into the new system, it's essential to clean/improve the data to remove any inconsistencies, errors, or duplicates in the legacy system. This ensures that the data transferred to the new system is accurate and reliable.  

  6. Data Import: With the data prepared and cleansed, it can be imported into the new system. Depending on the capabilities of the software, this may involve using import tools, APIs, or manual data entry for certain types of data. 

  7. Validation and Testing: Once the data is imported, thorough validation and testing are essential to ensure that it has been transferred accurately and completely. This may involve running reports, comparing data between the old and new systems, and performing sample transactions to verify that everything is functioning as expected. We also promote parallel processing, like duplicating a payroll that was processed in the legacy system.  This ensures both the system configuration is proper and the data transformation is valid. 

  8. Training and User Adoption: Finally, it's crucial to provide training and support to users who will be working with the new system. This helps ensure a smooth transition and enables users to leverage the full capabilities of the new software. 


Switching Vendors 

Switching software vendors is a significant decision, fraught with challenges and complexities. For public sector finance officials, the decision to switch vendors often arises from the need for enhanced functionality, better support, or cost considerations. However, the transition process can be daunting, particularly when it comes to data conversion. 

Imagine migrating years' worth of financial data—from budget allocations to payroll records—into a new system. Each data point must be accurately mapped, transformed, and validated to ensure a seamless transition. Any errors or inconsistencies could have far-reaching consequences, impacting financial reporting, compliance, and stakeholder trust. But what will that process actually look like? 

Firstly, almost all vendors require you to pay a fee for the new vendor to access to your data for the extraction. This is an industry standard. Secondly, each project is unique, demanding a tailored approach based on the complexity of your data, source systems, and desired outcomes. The more years of data being converted means the more data that should be cleansed prior to a conversion.  It also means there could be more "bad" data being brought into the new system. This takes time to fix. However, after all of the data is converted, then the testing and training begins. Think of data conversion like building a salad at a buffet; there’s a million different ways to do it, but one way might be better than the others. 

For public sector finance officials, the value of software data conversion cannot be overstated. Beyond the technical complexities lies a world of opportunity—a chance to unlock new insights, streamline processes, and empower informed decision-making. 


The Software Solutions Advantage 

No two vendor conversions are equal. In the competitive landscape of public sector accounting ERP software, Software Solutions shines as a beacon of excellence in data conversion. With their products, they offer not one, but two conversions during the onboarding process. One during the sandbox phase for training purposes, and then another conversion before going live, just to make sure all information is accurate. 

So, what sets Software Solutions apart when it comes to data conversion?  

Expertise and Experience 

With decades of experience serving public sector clients, Software Solutions understands the intricacies of government finance like no other. The SSI conversion specialists have over 100 years of combined data conversion experience. Our team of experts possesses in-depth knowledge of data conversion best practices, ensuring a smooth and seamless transition for clients.  

Robust Conversion Tools and Processes 

Software Solutions leverages state-of-the-art conversion tools and processes to streamline the data migration process. From data extraction to transformation and validation, their comprehensive approach ensures accuracy and reliability at every step. 

Customization and Flexibility 

Recognizing that no two government agencies are alike, Software Solutions offers customized data conversion solutions tailored to each client's unique requirements. Whether you're migrating from a legacy system or a competitor's software, their flexible approach accommodates diverse data formats and structures. 

Data Integrity and Security 

Protecting sensitive financial data is paramount in the public sector. Software Solutions prioritizes data integrity and security throughout the conversion process, employing robust encryption protocols and rigorous validation procedures to safeguard against data breaches or loss. We are even SOC compliant.  

Seamless Integration and Support 

Transitioning to a new ERP system can be challenging, but Software Solutions is committed to providing comprehensive support every step of the way. From initial implementation to ongoing training and support, their dedicated team ensures a seamless integration process and maximum client satisfaction. 

 By partnering with a trusted provider like Software Solutions, local government agencies can embark on their data conversion journey with confidence, knowing that their financial data is in safe hands. With the VIP Suite, they gain not only powerful ERP solutions but also a strategic partner committed to their success. 

Software data conversion is a critical process for public sector finance officials adapting to the landscape of government finance. By choosing Software Solutions as your partner, you can embark on a transformational journey, unlocking the full potential of your financial data and driving positive outcomes for your communities. 

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