In an ideal pension administration system replacement project the data project would precede the implementation of the new system by several months. This helps provide time to analyze, profile, cleanse and integrate all of the data. Typically the client subject matter experts that are needed to understand the data are the same staff needed to design the new system. Their time is valuable and project management is more difficult when both activities are occurring at the same time.
Data stewardship is focused on maintaining cleansed data. During the cleansing process the source of the bad data is identified and in some cases the data can be cleansed once and the issue is resolved. However, often the legacy system continues to generate bad data and cleanup becomes a constant process. This can be a complex issue and requires good coordination and documentation.
Another aspect of data stewardship involves data bridging. Often pension administration projects are rolled out in phases. Frequently phase one involves employer reporting and active member data while phase two involves retirement processing. Once a system implements the first phase it is necessary to send data back and forth between the legacy systems still in production and the components of the new system now in production. This transfer of data is known as data bridging. ICON typically does not manage data bridges on a daily basis. However, we frequently advise both the client and the PAS vendor in the initial creation of the bridges, produce data files from the TSD used in bridging, and as part of data stewardship maintain the quality of bridged data. This service is often needed for several months or even years, depending on the PAS project progress pace.