Data is invaluable to companies in the digital age. In the complex IT landscapes of companies, they are available in different formats, on different data storage devices and in various data systems. The introduction of new systems and applications, the expansion of system and storage capacities or the outsourcing of applications and data to the cloud can make data migration necessary. But how do you best approach the transfer of data to other systems, to other data stores or to other formats?
We give you some advice on how to professionally map the complex process of a data migration. If you follow our tips for data migration, you will benefit from clean data, high data quality and thus an ideal basis for your business after a successful completion of the project.
1. Give data migration the importance it deserves
If the data migration is successful, a company creates an important prerequisite for its future success. However, if something goes wrong, the consequences can be devastating and have a very negative impact on the operational business.
So the first tip is to reflect the importance of data migration in your approach. Treat data migration as a separate project. This ensures that you have the capacity, tools and methods you need to plan, control and monitor the process.
Many organizations tend to do data migration as part of a larger project. The problem is that if something goes wrong and the schedule is postponed, the overall project is at risk of failing.
Conclusion: If data migration is carried out step-by-step and systematically, the probability of a successful project realization increases significantly.
2. Create a detailed concept for the data migration
The concept includes the migration procedure and its planning as well as the technical and organizational requirements. It is important to understand what you are migrating and how it fits into the target system. Get an idea of how much data will be transferred and what it will look like.
The data migration plan describes the individual steps and takes into account who will be affected, what downtime, potential technical difficulties or compatibility problems may occur, how data integrity will be managed and how the data will be protected during the migration. This includes setting the schedule and all the issues for the project, taking into account the design, the data to be transferred and the target system.
3. Plan sufficient time for the data migration
True to the motto “Good things take time”, the schedule for data migration should not be too tight. The more extensive your data is and the longer you have been using your previous ERP system, for example, the more likely it is that difficulties will arise during data migration – whether due to an incorrect database (see tip #4) or due to unexpected technical problems.
If the migrated data goes into productive use too hastily, the consequences of the difficulties encountered are particularly unpleasant and have far-reaching consequences. The only way to prevent this is to test, test, test. Test runs with real data, generic data validation and the timely testing of all application processes by responsible users as part of the data migration process can help to detect and prevent data errors.
4. Clean up your inventory before data migration
Every move to a new apartment is a welcome opportunity to clean up. Only what is actually needed should be taken along. The situation is similar with a data migration. It is the ideal time to free the data from old burdens, errors and duplicates. This is because problems that were already present in the source data can have a greater impact when it is transferred to a new, more complex system.
Define the scope of the data and in the next step, get to work on cleansing the content – using address cleansing, data cleansing and duplicate matching. There are now helpful tools available that allow you to run through the various processes automatically. For example, they ensure that your data is validated and enriched with information from leading providers of geodata and enterprise data.
Thanks to thorough data cleansing, you can start your migration project with high-quality, validated data. In this way you also get the users on your side. If high-quality data means fewer errors and tasks can be completed faster, you’ll gain user recognition. Clean data is therefore an important factor in improving the performance and competitiveness of a company through data migration.
5. Involve your business departments in the data migration
Nobody knows the data better than the respective business department that uses it every day. As a result, IT staff alone cannot migrate data. Instead, the business departments should be involved in the processes from the very beginning and kept up to date on the latest developments. In addition, the employees from the business departments can provide important information regarding the quality of the migrated data (see tip #4). Problem cases and subsequent analyses can thus be prevented or at least reduced. Because one thing is clear: It is a characteristic of high data quality if users can use the data securely and as error-free as possible.