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DMS Data Conversion Made Easy: Part II

By Mike Esposito, President & CEO
 
In the first part of this series, we covered the preparations for a DMS data conversion. In this installment, we’ll go through a department-by-department rundown of the information that should be converted.
 
Keep in mind, not all data conversions are created equal. Every supplier is different in terms of what they will and won’t convert. It’s helpful to create a list of questions for your new DMS provider, so you will know exactly what to expect.
 
In our experience, the most critical information, and therefore the minimum a dealer should expect to be converted, includes the following:
 

Accounting

The most challenging aspect in accounting is to ensure that all the accounts stay in balance through the conversion process. The first step is for the office manager to sit down with the installation team leader and go through all the set ups in detail, discussing any issues that may have to be changed such as splits or additions, or data that may have to be segregated out.
 
The majority of information will be converted during the pre-pull. The DMS vendor should schedule this as far in advance as possible; at the very minimum one week before the live pull. That way, the office manager has the ability to validate balances and make sure that all the necessary information has been converted. Accounting data to be converted should include:
 

 

Service

Prior to the live pull, the DMS provider should pre-pull all the reports and setups in the service system. Then, the service manager should review the data for validity and check the service set ups. Before the live pull, the service manager’s goal is to have the open repair order (RO) count to an absolute minimum. After the conversion, the RO’s still open on the old system can be worked on the old system until closed. After they are closed, the new DMS provider can do a supplemental service history pull. Service is the only department that will require supplemental pulls. As a minimum the information to be transferred includes:
 

 

Parts

In addition to reviewing set ups with the new DMS vendor, the parts manager needs to print an inventory parts report just before the data conversion. This creates a benchmark for the inventory on the existing DMS system. After the live pull, the new DMS provider should be able to print out an inventory report from the new system and match it to the inventory report from the old system. If the data pull was successful, parts and dollars should match within pennies. Information to be pulled includes:
 

 

Sales / F&I

Again, all set ups need to be reviewed before any conversions are performed. During the live pull, the new DMS vendor should extract the following information:
 

The key to preparing for any data conversion is communication, communication, and more communication. There’s so much data and history in a DMS system that it’s virtually impossible for a DMS vendor to validate every piece of information. The pre-pull process offers each department manager an opportunity to discover data that might be missing along with other issues that may arise. Prior to the live pull, data going to the wrong place can be quickly corrected. Once the old DMS system is shut down, that opportunity is gone forever. Department managers should encourage every employee to ask questions or notify them if anything seems wrong.
 
In the final article in this series, I’ll conclude with tips for the actual conversion process. What if there’s a problem? When is the data going to be available? Can employees do anything to ensure a successful conversion? If data is missing, who’s responsible for getting it there? All these questions and more will be answered.
 

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