A $2.8B for-profit higher education organization continually acquired universities as their network expanded over the years. Each university traditionally utilized separate (and often disparate) financial and student management systems. Monthly financial reports were prepared in each of the different financial systems and provided to Hyperion, leading to an extended financial close process each month as the results were compiled and reconciled. The organization initiated a project to implement PeopleSoft as a centralized replacement for the disparate localized solutions, with the intent to consolidate data at the corporate level, streamlining financial reporting and student management.
This case study represents the migration of the financial general ledger data to PeopleSoft for nearly twenty of the organization’s South American universities.
The high level Data Migration requirements for each phase of the project were:
- The data from multiple distinct and separate local financial systems needed to be extracted, cleansed, and transformed before it could be loaded into a single instance of PeopleSoft
- A standardized Chart of Accounts needed to be applied to each in scope university, aligning with their existing Hyperion structure
- The Data Migration process needed to be standardized and repeatable, as new universities were added to the scope over the course of the project
- The migrated data needed to be reconciled back to both the source data and to Hyperion after transformation
There were many obstacles to making the Data Migration successful. Some of the largest challenges were:
- The local financial systems were not always well understood from an IT perspective, with the location of the relevant data not always clearly understood
- Many of the legacy systems were homegrown and continually in development and under revision
- Several of the legacy systems had poor data quality, including missing, inconsistent, and invalid data
- At times, a single university might maintain their financial information across a combination of multiple legacy systems and/or spreadsheets
- The legacy financial data did not always balance to the centralized Hyperion reported financials
- The data structures of the legacy systems were drastically different than the target PeopleSoft structure
- Frequent changes to the Chart of Account mappings, which translated local accounts to the consolidated PeopleSoft financial structure, needed to be applied and validated within short timeframes, often several times in a single day
- As a static PeopleSoft data upload process was being used to load the translated data, there was no room for issues with the converted data submitted for upload. Bad data and unmapped accounts needed to be identified and corrected earlier in the process
Using Applaud for Data Migration
To help overcome the expected Data Migration challenges, the organization engaged Premier International’s Applaud® Data Migration Services.
Three key components of Premier’s Applaud solution helped the organization navigate the Data Migration aspect of the project.
- Premier’s data migration consultants. Premier’s services group average more than 8 years of experience working with Applaud in support of data migration activities
- Premier’s RapidTrak methodology helps ensure that the project stays on track. Premier’s approach to data migration projects is different than the traditional approach. This methodology decreases the implementation time and reduces the risk of the migration.
- Premier’s data migration software, Applaud. Applaud was built from the ground up to address the challenges that occur on data migration projects and allows the team to accomplish all data needs using one integrated product.
The combined aspects of the Applaud solution were leveraged to meet the challenges of this project.
- Identifying the key data sets to be considered within each legacy source system
- Using Applaud’s extraction capabilities to extract the raw data from the disparate legacy systems into Applaud’s data repository
- Using Applaud’s integrated analytics/reporting tools to perform deeper analysis on the legacy data to identify potential data issues
- Using experienced data migration consultants to identify, prevent, and resolve issues before they became issues.
- Using Applaud’s integrated analytics/reporting tools to generate unique combinations of entities, accounts and degree codes that needed to be accounted for in the cross-reference mapping documents
- Using Applaud’s data transformation capabilities to quickly build easily repeatable data migration programs and to swiftly react to every specification change
- Leveraging Applaud’s data transformation capabilities to develop a template that could be easily adapted to support additional countries / universities as they came in scope
- Using Applaud’s integrated reporting tools to develop full financial reconciliations between the legacy source data, reported monthly Hyperion balances and the translated PeopleSoft load file
- Using the RapidTrak methodology to tie all the pieces together, decreasing the overall Data Migration effort and reducing project risk
The end result of using Applaud data migration services was a series of successful implementations as each subsequent country completed their adoption of the PeopleSoft solution. Without the Applaud team, it is unlikely the number of iterations required to address all mapping issues would have been possible in the required timeframe.
By building a repeatable process that could be rolled out to future sites with minimal development, deployment of the Applaud process to additional countries and universities was streamlined, allowing the client team to focus on the functionality of their go-forward PeopleSoft solution rather than getting the data migrated. Over the course of the project, the Applaud process was rolled out to several different countries and nearly twenty different universities.