The City of New Orleans embarked on a complex business transformation project, Project BRASS, which included the implementation of Infor CloudSuite Financials and Supply Management applications. To implement the Infor CloudSuite solution, the existing business data from several disparate legacy applications (including an IBM mainframe (VSAM), Great Plains, BuySpeed, and other various spreadsheets) needed to be extracted, cleansed, transformed, migrated, and reconciled. Additionally, Federal government audit and reporting rules required 20 years of financial data history to be migrated to prove grants were administered correctly through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other major events that impacted the city over the years. Recognizing the inherent risk and challenge that data posed to the success of the implementation, the city selected Premier International to perform the data migration.
The data migration risk on this implementation was amplified by the implementation’s high profile, underlying data complexities, and limited internal resources. Additional factors included:
- Lack of understanding of the legacy applications’ underlying data, which was magnified the farther back in history that the data came from
- Significant data quality issues within the mainframe because of limited functionality set up decades ago
- Duplicate information within and across disparate data sources
- Complex vendor classification rules and migration requirements
- New GL accounting structures required extensive restructuring and reconciliation processes
- Substantial and lengthy historical data requirements, including 14 million general ledger records across 20 years of financial history
- Additional target system (MHC Software) needed to be implemented to accommodate the City’s complex contract attachment requirements
- Constant turnover without adequate knowledge transfer across City resources
“Premier is one of the best, if not the best, contractors that I have ever worked with.” – City Project Manager
Mitigating the Risks
To mitigate the identified risk factors, Premier leveraged several techniques to ensure that the data was ready for each test cycle and production cutover. Additionally, Premier ensured that the City employees, Infor consultants, and MHC consultants were educated, informed, and prepared for each aspect of the data migration.
- Performed a data assessment that provided clarity to the underlying data across the entire data landscape.
- Applaud’s mainframe data capabilities automatically accessed the EBCDIC data, significantly accelerating the process by eliminating the need for custom COBOL extracts from the City IT resources.
- Applaud’s powerful deduplication processing identified and consolidated duplicate vendor data across the landscape.
- Premier’s Infor CloudSuite CTQ (Critical-to-Quality) validations assisted with previewing conversion results and identifying records that will fail Infor’s system requirements and client’s functional business requirements, enabling the entire project team to address many issues before the actual loads were processed.
- Powerful delta and exception-based reporting focused the City’s limited resources on changed, new, and problematic data throughout the entire implementation cycle.
- Readiness dashboards that tracked essential metrics from the creation of mapping specifications to final load statistics were regularly shared with the PMO and kept management informed of the overall status.
- Premier’s data readiness process drove the project team to ensure that the data was ready for each test cycle and go-live by monitoring data quality issues, transformation issues, missing cross-references, and missing configurations.
“We are a public sector client and we would hire Premier for future conversions in a heartbeat. In fact, whether my next big conversion project is public or private sector, I will be reaching out to Premier for an opportunity to work on the project.” – City Project Manager
The combination of Premier’s data migration experts, Applaud data migration software, and our EPACTL methodology ensured that the data migration was successful. the value Premier brought to the implementation was summed up in the following comment from the City made in front of the entire implementation team, “Premier is one of the best, if not the best, contractors that I have ever worked with.”
Premier’s approach made it possible to identify and resolve legacy and target data issues ahead of time, avoiding issues at go-live. Premier’s tools automated the vendor survivorship and merging process, facilitated the complex financial history requirements, processed the raw mainframe data, and generated detailed audit trail reporting. Premier’s expert consultants worked with the City and the various implementation partners to unravel the business requirements and drive data issues to completion before each test cycle and go-live.
The Applaud® Advantage
To help overcome the expected data migration challenges the organization engaged Premier International’s Applaud® data migration services to eliminate the risk from their data migration and ensure the overall success of their transformation.
Three key components of Premier International’s Applaud solution helped the client navigate their data migration:
- Premier’s data migration consultants: Premier’s services group averages more than six years of experience working with Applaud, exclusively on data migration projects.
- Premier’s methodology: Premier’s EPACTL approach to data migration projects is different than traditional ETL approaches and helps ensure the project stays on track. This methodology decreases overall implementation time and reduces the risk of the migration.
- Premier’s data migration software, Applaud®: Applaud has been optimized to address the challenges that occur on data migration projects, allowing the team to accomplish all data needs using one integrated product.