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SAP Business One Data Conversion Projects and Recommendations

It is not a secret that data migration is typically done in Data Transfer Workbench and the sources are CSV templates, which you need to fill with the data exported from your legacy accounting.

We would like to talk about conversion scope, exporting data from legacy ERP as well as suggest Advanced ODBC data link.  If you are reading this paper after data import failed and you would like to seek second opinion you are in the right place.  We do not want to be too technical here and document should be understandable to managerial as well as IT staff.  Let’s begin with recommended data migration scope:

1. Master records and beginning balances only scope is recommended.  It is often the case that you have to bring over business partners, such as customers, vendors and prospects.  Inventory items are also the candidates.  Chart of Accounts you may decide to redesign or otherwise if you are happy with what it was you also import the Chart.  Historical documents import is generally not recommended.  First of all – you may have hundreds of thousands or even millions and plus historical sales invoices.  To pull into SB1 these documents you are looking at expensive consulting project, which is in our opinion optional and often not required.  You may often if not always keep your legacy ERP running on the small server or user computer just for historical data lookup in case if old customer calls

2. Exporting data from old accounting.  There might be numerous scenarios and the names of the specific accounting system from where you are walking away and replacing them with SAP B1.  When you are downsizing and replacing luxury MRP system (maybe something like Oracle Financials, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Axapta) with Business One data export usually is simple, as all those high end Accounting and Enterprise Resource Planning packages are based in SQL database platforms. But if you are happy in business growing and upsizing your old system might have proprietary database platform with limitation to get direct connection to its tables.  Such popular small business ERP packages as QuickBooks, MYOB, Peach Tree, Quicken allow you to print their reports to the text file.  Next step is to weed out such lines as report header, page number, blank line, etc.  We like the method where text file is opened in Excel, you mark the columns based on the valid lines and then save it into CSV with the following export into MS SQL Server custom table.  In this newly created table you can weed out irrelevant lines with SQL View.  There is also popular migration path from old versions of Great Plains Dynamics or Accounting.  These applications were based in Pervasive SQL Server (high end Great Plains eEnterprise was hosted in MS SQL Server).  In order to connect to Pervasive SQL or Btrieve (Pervasive acquired Btrieve DB platform in late 1990th) you have to produce so-called DDF files (Data Definition Files).  DDF generation procedure is outside of the scope, however we have other publications dedicated to exporting data from Great Plains Dynamics and Accounting for DOS, Windows and Mac

3. Filling up Excel Templates.  Assuming that you got your legacy documents exported and cleansing was successful – then filling up CSV templates may require some time and creativity, but we typically do not hear this procedure as the reason for the whole migration project to go to limbo phase

4. If historical data migration is required and you need to convert millions of records.  Well, these scenarios typically have to be repeated multiple times until you are satisfied with results.  On the other hand you may figure out that opening and formatting the file with million lines in Excel is not practical – you will be waiting hours for computer to open the file in Excel and do each consecutive step.  In this case we would like to suggest better method.  First of all import your records into custom SQL table via SSIS or data import wizard.  Then create SQL view which exactly reproduce required fields (and optional fields that you would like to bring over) in the CSV template file for the master record or document element you are planning migration for.  Then in SAP BO Data Transfer Workbench use ODBC as connection method.  You can reuse these custom SQL views as many times as required to bring you to the step of final data conversion

5. Second Opinion.  Well, you are not the first and not the last one.  And we believe that your original consulting firm did the best they could.  Not every reseller has technical people, who would be able to export from such challenging old applications as Great Plains for DOS or QuickBooks.  Exported data cleansing often requires technical expertise and creativity from dedicated programmers.  Seek for the fresh air, go outside of your cubicle or office, search Google, Yahoo, MSN and the way out should show up

6. Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904 (for international customers, where our representative pick up the phone in St. Joseph, MI call center).  We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, South West Michigan, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). Our consultants speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese.  Our core expertise is in International Business

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Andrew Karasev is Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project and founder of Alba Spectrum information space

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