Moran Technology Consulting

Maximizing ERP Lessons Learned in Higher Education: Conversion, Integrations, and Reports

This article is part five of a ten-part series that will focus on lessons learned from decades of project and program management within higher education.

Implementing ERP systems in higher education is a complex process that involves various workstreams including conversion, integrations, and reporting. Here’s how to maximize lessons learned in the critical areas of conversion, integrations, and reports:


  1. Data Quality Pre-Work: Improve data quality before the conversion process begins. This preparation will increase successful data load percentages, making prototyping and testing more productive.
  2. Freeze Dates (last day to process transactions in the legacy system prior to conversion): Start planning freeze dates at least a year before deployment. These dates are crucial for maintaining business operations and data integrity during the transition.
  3. Catch-Up Transactions (transactions performed in legacy system after Freeze Date that also need to be converted): Develop a plan for catch-up transactions well in advance, as not all can be handled manually. Begin this planning at least a year ahead of deployment.


  1. Updated Inventory: Begin with an updated inventory of all integrations, including functional and technical owners. This ensures clear ownership, accountability and clarity.
  2. Leverage Common Transactions: Use common transactions like new hires, pay increases, and journals to reduce the number of integrations needed.
  3. Legacy Mapping Tools: Utilize legacy mapping tools to assist campus users but avoid the temptation to maintain them beyond deployment.
  4. Include in Performance Testing: Ensure that all integrations are included in performance testing to identify and resolve potential issues early.


  1. Strategic Focus: Reporting requirements might not be clear immediately after the design phase. Instead, develop or revise strategies that include access to data and tools, data warehouses and repositories, and appropriate usage. Avoid recreating existing reports. Utilize the new tools and data structures to manage information more efficiently.
  2. Finalize Requirements: During the configuration stage, finalize reporting requirements once users have seen a prototype with your data. This helps in understanding the real needs.
  3. User-Centric Reporting: Focus on reports that are necessary and benefit the most users. This ensures that the most critical information is available to those who need it at go live.


By focusing on data quality prework, planning freeze dates and catch-up transactions early, leveraging common transactions to reduce the number of integrations, updating inventories, and strategically developing reporting requirements, institutions can significantly enhance their ERP implementation process. These practices not only streamline the transition but also ensure the system meets the institution’s needs effectively. Adhering to these guidelines will help institutions navigate the complexities of ERP implementation, ensuring a smoother transition and more effective system utilization.

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About the author:

Christopher (Chris) Mercer has over forty years of experience in higher education, including the last twenty-five years consulting as an Executive Program/Project Director/Manager and other leadership roles.  Chris has managed or been engaged in more than four dozen programs\projects during his career.