4 Things to Consider When Considering a Data Conversion

To Convert or Not Convert

data-conversionWhen purchasing new software, one of the first things you need to consider is whether to convert your existing data to the new system or to start from scratch and enter everything manually. Converting your current data can be a huge time-saver, so here are some things you should consider before going through with the conversion.

1. In what format is the current data stored or what format can it be exported to for conversion?

The easiest way for a conversion to be done is if the data from reports in the current software system can be exported to a Microsoft Excel or comma delimted format. The reason for this is that when the data shows on a report it has been translated into a format that can be understood.

The data a software system uses can be stored in several different formats and terminology used for the table and field names are most often cryptic and only make sense to the software developer. Having the data appear on a report with common column names such as “Well ID”, makes it much easier to convert.

2. What data should be converted?

You usually have a choice of what data from your current oil & gas software system to bring over to the new system. At a minimum the Wells, Owners and Division of Interests should be converted since that is the heart of the system.

What about historical data? The answer is, “it depends”. What condition is your historical data in? Is it clean? If not, do you want to go through it and clean it up before the conversion? Do you want to include wells that have been sold or that are now inactive?

If you keep track of suspense, such as owner amounts on hold, owners under your check minimum and owners in deficit, you should convert these amounts so that your first distribution can take them into account.

The rest of the historical data can wait until later. So that gives you some time to decide.

3. What data can be converted?

After you decide what data you want converted, you need to find out what data can be converted to the new format and who needs to do the conversion. Most application vendors will do the conversion for you for an added fee, SherWare included. The data in an accounting, revenue distribution and joint interest billing system is intricately woven together in such a way that the conversion needs to be handled with care so that all the related records are kept together.

The list of wells along with their information, the list of owners, royalty and working, and their addresses and settings and the division of interests can always be converted.

The historical information can sometimes be converted depending on the format the from which the data is being converted.

4. How long will the conversion take?

Having your data converted won’t do much good if it can’t be done in a reasonably quick fashion. To convert the data, the current system needs to not change while the data is converted to the new system or you’ll have to enter any new transactions into the new system once the data is converted. If the data can be converted quickly, there will be no down time for your processing.

Most data conversions we do at SherWare take three days or less depending on the format of the information. Comma delimited and Excel files convert the quickest. Text files come in at a close second and other formats take longer.

What to do after a data conversion

After the data is converted, it’s good to run comparable reports in the current software and the new software to make sure balances match, and to check that the division of interests are correct.

If the historical data has been converted you would want to check the balances on well history and owner history reports. Especially if you plan to create 1099s on the new system for the current year.

Converting to a new software system doesn’t need to be hard and filled with pain and dread. If you take the steps to make sure your data is converted properly then you should be able to take off running with your new software system and never look back.

Source: SherWare Blog

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