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Preparing For Conversion

Preparing for your conversion is a very important step. If it is skipped, you may spend incredible amounts of time getting to your desired results. Proper attention to this preparation pays off amazingly. It is important to know, if you ever need to automate the conversion of data.

tip.gif If your data set is small, less than 50 clients and 600 debtors, then entering the data manually may be more cost-effective than importing. It is time-consuming to learn the importing process. Instead, you may want to use the time for learning how to use Collect!. Reading this document should help you decide whether or not the conversion process is right for you.

Preparing for a conversion is a three part process:

  1. Learn where to put the data in Collect!
  2. Get the data from your old system ready for Collect!
  3. Import the data into Collect!

The preparation process will make more sense as you proceed. This can be a big job. You have just purchased a new business application that takes getting used to. You have to learn what the fields and forms in Collect! are used for. Start simply, using only what you need for now. You may discover that it is not as complex as you thought it would be.

1. Learn where to put the data in Collect!

This most important step will help you and your technicians when the time comes to take the information from the other system and import this data into Collect!

Get your previously used system up and running. Then start Collect! and sign in. Enter information for a client and a few accounts into Collect! This will help you determine what data you need from the old system and where this data is placed in Collect!

Select good samples from your old system to start entering in Collect! - just a few. Don't enter 300 clients, only to find out that you may have to delete them, or re-enter them differently! Start with a small, well-chosen cross section of your current client types. Enter a few accounts for each client. This helps you determine what to do with data from the old system and will, at the same time, teach you more about Collect!

You may discover that Collect! does not have certain fields that you used in the old system. This may be because Collect! does not need these values. Perhaps they are calculated internally. For example, Collect! calculates the debtor's Owing from transactions and settings entered on the Debtor form. You cannot enter an Owing amount. Therefore, it would be pointless to try to import this value.

2. Get the data from your old system ready for Collect!

Now that you have entered data manually from the old system into Collect! you should have a better understanding of Collect!'s interface and a clearer idea of the types of data that you need to enter manually and what data can be imported from your existing system.

Data from the old system must be pulled into files that Collect! can import from. This may be as simple as creating a CSV file or writing reports to export your old data set to a fixed length ASCII text file.

This process is completely in your control. It requires someone who knows how to produce the data files so that Collect! can import them. Perhaps you have a company guru for your old system. If not, you may need to ask the software vendor for assistance. Or, you may have to delve into their documentation to find out how to get the data out of the system into appropriate files.

Consider this step completed when you have a set of ASCII text files in comma separated value or fixed length format with only the data that you need to import into Collect!. When you can guarantee that all your required data is in these files, you are ready to proceed. If the files contain extra information, this will not be a problem. Collect!'s import routine can skip over any data that is not needed.

3. Import the data into Collect!

You know where you want to place your data in Collect! and you are confident that you have the data in an appropriate file or files. To complete the conversion process, the last step uses Collect!'s Import/Export module to bring the data into Collect!

tip.gif If you have jumped to this step before completing Steps 1 and 2, please go back, or you will waste many hours, generally getting frustrated and making your conversion overwhelming.

This step requires that someone has learned how to use the Import module in Collect! This can sometimes become a large task all on its own. You may request that Comtech create the import routine for you, now that you know where to place your data and have the data files ready. If you wish to continue doing this conversion process yourself, review the Help documentation on importing to create the import routine. Use the import map that you, or Comtech, created to bring your database information from your old system into Collect!

Collect!'s import function is fast and powerful. You can import 1500 clients in less than a minute, import 10,000 debtor accounts within 5 minutes.

After your data is imported successfully into Collect! you are ready to test your conversion and prepare the data so that your operators can use it.

See Also

- Successful Data Conversion
- Testing Your Conversion
- Going Through With The Final Cutover

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