Data migrations aren’t easy. They have the potential to turn your clean and organized ETO database into a disorganized, unmanageable system. So data migration requires careful planning by weighing up the pros and cons of migrating your data – see our post on the Pros and Cons of ETO Data Migrations.
Once you understand the pros and cons of data migration, you should then ask yourself the following 5 questions which relate to your organisation and can affect the direction you take for your data migration as well as help you think through the decision-points of the data migration process.
1. Is there a cost?
Determine how much time, money, and stress are required for your organisation to complete the data migration. If the costs outweigh the benefits, a data migration may not be in the best interest of the organization; whereas if the benefits outweigh the costs, a data migration may be the appropriate strategic decision. The cost can also impact what data is migrated, how much data is migrated, and how that data is migrated into ETO.
2. Is the data useful?
Migrating all data isn’t always the right decision. So it is important to determine whether or not the data you want to migrate is actually useful to the organization by asking:
- Will this data be used in specific operational or strategic reporting?
- Will end-users and managers use this data on a consistent basis?
- Is this data being used now for any functional purpose? If yes, how so?
If the data is being used currently and has a functional and strategic purpose, it may be worth migrating. However, many organizations migrate data for the sake of migrating all data. Holding onto historical data that isn’t being used or adds no value is a waste of resources. Only manage, maintain, and support data is that is relevant to your current functions.
3. Where do we put the data?
Another question to help you think through the data migration process is “Does the data that you want to migrate fit?” That is, does the data align with the data structure of your new system? If the data fits, then a data migration may be an appropriate decision. However, if the data doesn’t fit and will require significant manipulation to merge with your new data structure, is it really necessary to bring the data into your new system? Incongruent data generally leads to corruption, poor data quality, and reporting challenges in the long-term, so don’t force data into a system where it isn’t a good fit.
If you decide that conducting a data migration is the right course of action, outline the specific process you will take to migrate the data into ETO by creating a blueprint or data map that describes where the data migration will occur, what data will be transferred, and how the historical data will map to the new data structure.
4. Who will migrate the data?
As part of your data migration process, it is useful to identify the person or team that will be responsible for the migration. This is important because data migrations should be conducted by:
- Someone with expertise and proficiency manipulating large data files in Excel and Access.
- A Gold Certified ETO Administrator who is proficient with the ETO import tool.
- Someone with the ability to review imported data by generating data quality reports and utilizing the ETO back-end data management and administrator features.
- Someone with high levels ofproficiency in ETO Results reporting, query wizard, and standard ETO reporting.
Data quality directly affects the quality of reports so any problems with the data migration process will affect data quality and can significantly impact the accuracy of your reports. You therefore need to assign capable individuals to your data migration project, either internally, or externally by enlisting the help of an ETO consultant (see our post on 7 ETO Tasks where you may need the expertise of an ETO consultant).
5. How will we migrate the data?
Regardless of who is assigned to your data migration project, having a clearly defined set of steps can lead to the successful completion of your data migration project and ensure it is on-track, on-schedule, and on budget.
Data migration projects will generally follow these broad steps:
- Discovery– Understand the requirements of the data migration. What data is being migrated? How much data is being migrated? Where is the data being migrated?
- Blueprint– Develop a data migration blueprint or map that translates the existing data into the new structure.
- Test– Using a small data set, conduct a test to validate the data migration blueprint.
- Build– After determining the accuracy of the test, bring the full data set into the new data structure.
- Review– When all data is in the new data structure, review the data for accuracy.
Asking these five questions before embarking on a data migration project can help you make some important decisions about whether to migrate or not, can save your organization time, energy, and money and ultimately help guarantee a successful ETO data migration process.
Then, once you have made the decision to migrate your data, there are several data migration options available – see our post on 5 Data Migration options to consider when implementing ETO for more information.