While this alarming statistic portrays a bleak picture of wasted efforts that leads to a huge drain on budget and resources, but at the same time blurts out an obnoxious fact that data migration is a challenging task pertaining to high risks. However being aware of certain imperative considerations you need to make prior to migration can potentially reduce the causes which are likely to derail your project success. Thereby, increasing the probability of smooth transition of your data to your new CRM system.
Data migrations can be complex or lucid but no matter what, you need concrete steps and considerations to make while you are opting for a CRM switch! So the ten considerations we make are listed below:
- 1. Data Backup: Prior to initiating the process of migration the first step involves taking a backup of the existing database. We have run a check through the data fidelity on a local SQL server when the process is being carried out from an SQL Database.
- 2. Know the size and age of your Database: While some tools are best for short development cycles because of the point and click features. In a similar fashion SSIS development is time consuming but its packages perform well talking in times of speed. In addition you also have to lay a close look on the age of your database with respect to the format. You have to consider the questions like – Were the data formats changed during past upgrades? Was there a different way to store the data in the previous years? Because in this case the test run might look fine but may throw errors during full run, so you need to be careful.
- 3. Data Analysis: The next topic on the agenda is to run some extensive research on the type of data. Scan through some aggregates on columns to know the type of data you are handling making use of tools like SQL analyzer or queries.
For instance it should hint at how many distinct values do you have? How many nulls are there? How many empty strings are there? You might be expecting zero but might find a bunch. Similarly you might be expecting max length is 255 but might land up with some 1080. So a rigorous data analysis is needed.
- 4. User Mapping: As we proceed further to take one step ahead in the process of migration one of the first things to be taken care of is user mapping. We need to have a crystal clear picture of how the user ids prevailing in the existing systems map to the new user ids on the CRM system you are about to switch to. This is a very crucial step to ensure record ownership is setup decorously in the new system.
- 5. Revisiting OWDs and Profiles: When you are going for a large data migration you have to revisit all the previously existing profiles and Organization Wide Defaults. The Organization Wide Defaults or more commonly known as OWDs and Profiles are the base of security of any CRM instance so it’s by far very critical that these are setup accurately.
- 6. Scripting and Cleaning up: To automate the process of transferring data from the legacy system to new CRM structure there is an utmost need of scripting. This will help is severe time optimization during the final steps. Records are cleansed and standardized in uniform and legible text replacing HTML emails, encoded strips, etc.
- 7. Setup migration packages with error handling: You have to store the erroneous rows in a table or track down a mechanism to flag the source records that are processed. The server might go down at any moment for maintenance, so starting the migration from there can prove to be a disaster.
- 8. Perform a trial run before actual migration: It is ideal to perform a trial run with the full source dataset. This will provide you with a rough estimation of the time it takes to complete the actual migration and also aids in identifying the bottlenecks if any pops up at all.
- 9. Deactivate workflows, indexes and plugins: Prior to the initiation of migration you have to deactivate the workflow processes in progress in the CRM, disable the database index and unregister plugins that should not be running during the ongoing of migration. Once the process of migration is over you have to turn them on positively.
- 10. Initial Import with Authentication: The data is now all cleansed and standardized and properly mapped which means that the data is now ready for the primary import and can be directly carried out in production environment. In case of CRM like Salesforce, if the CRM is already functional then the initial import can take place into the Sandbox, such that the already live users aren’t disrupted. The initial import should be validated and revised now if needed.
- 11. Final Import: Special care of the updated and validated data has to be taken and plan the delta load should be done over the weekend to reduce the disruption of downtime. You can go live happily on your CRM once the validated data has been migrated.
Most importantly it is crucial that businesses execute myriad test migrations prior the new CRM system is rolled out for production use. Pick out a small sample size and perform rigorous data review and validation with the key stakeholders to ensure the migration was performed successfully. Without these test migrations, you are prone to slip out on problems until it is too late. So go ahead, wishing you Happy CRM’ing ;).
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Article Resources: Powerobjects, Grazitti, Crmswitch.