Advanced data migration tools: xFusion Studio
For our own projects, we have adopted a tool called xFusion. Using this tool, you gain flexibility and are able to reuse migration settings for specific project environments. The tool provides connectivity to directly extract data from applications (including QuickBooks and Peachtree). In addition, it also supports building rules for data profiling, validation, and conversions. For example, our project team participated in the development of the template for the Peachtree interface. We configured the mappings from Peachtree, and connected the data with the right fields in SAP. This was then saved as a migration template. Therefore, it would be easy and straightforward to migrate data from Peachtree to SAP in any future projects.
xFusion packs save migration knowledge
Based on the concept of establishing templates for migrations, xFusion provides preconfigured templates for the SAP Business ONE application. In xFusion, templates are called xFusion packs. Please note that these preconfigured packs may include master data packs, and also xFusion packs for transaction data. The following xFusion packs are provided for an SAP Business ONE migration:
- Business partner
- Inventory and production
- Marketing documents and receipts
You can see that the packs are also grouped by business object. For example, you have a group of xFusion packs for inventory and production. You can open the pack and find a group of xFusion files that contain the configuration information. If you open the inventory and production pack, a list of folders will be revealed. Each folder has a set of Excel templates and xFusion fi les (seen in the following screenshot). An xFusion pack essentially incorporates the configuration and data manipulation procedures required to bring data from a source into SAP. The source settings can be saved in xFusion packs so that you can reuse the knowledge with regards to data manipulation and formatting.
Data “massaging” using SQL
The key for the migration procedure is the capability to do data massaging in order to adjust formats and columns, in a step-by-step manner, based on requirements. Data manipulation is not done programmatically, but rather via a step-by-step process, where each step uses SQL statements to verify and format data. The entire process is represented visually, and thereby documents the steps required. This makes it easy to adjust settings and fine-tune them.
The following applications are supported and can, therefore, be used as a source for an SAP migration: (They are existing xFusion packs)
- SAP Business ONE
- Sage ACT!
- SAP BW
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
The following is a list of supported databases:
- OLE DB
- SQL Server
Working with xFusion
The workflow in xFusion starts when you open an existing xFusion pack, or create a new one. In this example, an xFusion pack for business partner migration was opened. You can see the graphical representation of the migration process in the main window (in the following screenshot). Each icon in the graphic representation represents a data manipulation and formatting step. If you click on an icon, the complete path from the data source to the icon is highlighted. Therefore, you can select the previous steps to adjust the data.
The core concept is that you do not directly change the input data, but define rules to convert data from the source format to the target format. If you open an xFusion pack for the SAP Business ONE application, the target is obviously SAP Business ONE. Therefore, you need to enter the privileges and database name so that the pack knows how to access the SAP system. In addition, the source parameters need to be provided.
xFusion packs come with example Excel fi les. You need to select the Excel fi les as the relevant source. However, it is important to note that you don’t need to use the Excel files. You can use any database, or other source, as long as you adjust the data format using the step-by-step process to represent the same format as provided in Excel.
In xFusion. you can use the sample files that come in Excel format.
The connection parameters are presented once you double-click on any of the connections listed in the Connections section as follows:
It is recommended to click on Test Connection to verify the proper parameters. If all of the connections are right, you can run a migration from the source to the target by right-clicking on an icon and selecting Run Export as shown here:
The progress and export is visually documented. This way, you can verify the success. There is also a log file in the directory where the currently utilized xFusion pack resides, as shown in the following screenshot:
Tips and recommendations for your own project
Now you know all of the main migration tools and methods. If you want to select the right tool and method for your specific situation, you will see that even though there may be many templates and preconfigured packs out there, your own project potentially comes with some individual aspects. When organizing the data migration project, use the project task skeleton I provided. It is important to subdivide the required migration steps into a group of easy-to-understand steps, where data can be verified at each level. If it gets complicated, it is probably not the right way to move forward, and you need to re-think the methods and tools you are using.
The most common issue I found in similar projects is that the data to be migrated is not entirely clean and consistent. Therefore, be sure to use a data verification procedure at each step. Don’t just import data, only to find out later that the database is overloaded with data that is not right.
Separate the master data and the transaction data. If you don’t want to lose valuable transaction data, you can establish a reporting database which will save all of the historic transactions. For example, sales history can easily be migrated to an SQL database. You can then provide access to this information from the required SAP forms using queries or Crystal Reports.
During the course of evaluating the data import features available in the SAP Business ONE application, we have already learned how to import business partner information and item data. This can easily be done using the standard SAP data import features based on the Excel or text files.
Using this method allows the lead, customer, and vendor data to be imported. Let’s say that the Lemonade Stand enterprise has salespeople who travel to trade fairs and collect contact information. We can import the address information using the proven BP import method. But after this data is imported, what would the next step be? It would be a good idea to create and manage opportunities based on the address material. Basically, you already know how to use Excel to bring over address information. Let’s enhance this concept to bring over opportunity information. We will use xFusion to import opportunity data into the SAP Business ONE application. The basis will be the xFusion pack for opportunities.
Importing sales opportunities for the Lemonade Stand
The xFusion pack is open, and you can see that it is a nice and clean example without major complexity. That’s how it should be, as you see here: