Data migration underpins any system change and paves the way for future success or failure. Get it wrong and your starting point is flawed. Get it right and you have the solid foundations in place to safely support your digital transformation journey.

It’s a daunting prospect though. It is widely reported that the vast majority of data migration projects fail and/or exceed their budgets and anticipated timelines.

That’s where expertise and experience pay dividends. Partnering with specialists who have ‘been there, done that (and possibly even got the T-shirt!)’ will ultimately save time and money.

But not just any partner, one which values quality as much as getting the job done. Shoehorning data from one system into another is a form of migrating data, but not one we would recommend. What you can achieve in terms of your digital aspirations will only ever be as good as the quality of the data driving that transformation, so we would recommend investing time and effort into getting that right.

Preparation is also essential. Too often the data requirements for any system implementation are left to the last minute, which is a costly mistake to make. Do not underestimate these aspects of a project. Prepare to succeed early on!

Here’s some more on our top tips to help pave the way to data migration success:

1. Start early to prepare for success

Experience has shown that data migration is typically an afterthought for many projects. This, more often than not, causes so many problems, creates unnecessary risks and delays, given data migration is such a complex task and one which is fundamental in any system change programme.

It is vital to prepare early (and its always earlier than you would expect) to ensure your organisation, your data and your teams are ready and equipped to take on the challenge.

2. Make sure you, your data, and the organisation, are ready.

It’s important to take time to review and assess how ready your organisation is to take on the challenge of a complex data migration programme. This should include a thorough assessment, not just of your data, but of your solution architecture too.

A meaningful data readiness assessment will provide a solid understanding of the current data landscape, and early identification of, and mitigations for, any problems and issues which might occur. It will help ensure appropriate organisational structures, processes and expectations are in place to deliver the best outcomes, thus minimising risks of delays to timescales and cost escalations.

3. Put an effective strategy in place

Having a strategy is a must. Drawn up by skilled data migration experts, your strategy will identify challenges and issues to address / mitigate against ahead of time. This will help prevent unforeseen problems arising, which will most likely cause delay and probably cost money.

Having a solid strategy in place ensures:

  • a roadmap is in place for a smooth and successful transition, helping minimising risks and disruptions.
  • resources are optimised and used effectively.
  • data is transferred without corruption and loss because clearly defined data validation processes are included
  • accurate, reliable data, of the highest quality, is available to leverage your digital requirements, from day-to-day operational and management reporting to transformation initiatives.

4. Source the right tools to automate the process

Automated tools reduce the risk and complexity associated with the data migration process, removing chance, inconsistencies, and human error.

Good solutions provide a repeatable and consistent approach to each stage – Extract, Transform & Load – speeding up implementation time with a quicker, safer and more reliable process.

Even better tools also include powerful data quality, reconciliation and validation reporting as standard to monitor data integrity and pinpoint issues at any stage, as well as offering a full audit trail.

5. Employ a team of data migration experts

It can be tempting to cut costs and try and run a data migration programme in-house or use the services of suppliers who specialise in moving data quickly without identifying and resolving data quality issues. However, it is a complex and specialist process, which is easy and costly to get wrong.

Data migration projects are notorious for failing especially when moving data from highly customised legacy systems that have been in use for many years. Cutting corners initially can prove risky, and very costly in the long run, if the data has not been correctly managed during the migration process. Data integrity is undermined. Errors and inconsistencies persist.

Investing in data migration partners, with a proven track record and solid experience who take a pragmatic approach to solving complex data issues, offers many benefits, including:

  • Early engagement, planning and strategy development through to post-project support, de-risking the entire process and ensuring timescales are met.
  • The ability and experience to handle complex issues efficiently and effectively. The experts have seen, and addressed, the problems before.
  • Chosen data partners should have industry and system knowledge relevant to your organisation, so offer proven methodologies and repeatable processes that work.

Data migration programmes can be complex, challenging, risky and time-consuming, but they don’t have to be. Prepare early for success, take time to review your existing data and system landscape, develop an achievable and pragmatic strategy, find the right tools to support you and work with trusted partners who have the experience and approach you need to get the job done right – first time. This will ensure your data is managed with the respect it deserves, after all, it is the foundation upon which any analysis, decision and transformation will be built.

Learn more about our data migration services HERE.

Or contact one of our data experts to discuss how we can support your organisation in getting your data migration right.