Data migration is a critical consideration for any new system implementation, upgrade, or consolidation. For Strategic Systems Group (SSG), data migration is a daily activity. We serve new clients, moving to one of the modern ERP software solutions that we represent. And we serve our existing clients who are upgrading their ERP system, transitioning from on-premises to the cloud, or moving from a legacy solution to a new ERP.

During any of these operations, we find that clients are typically worried about the loss of data, and understandably so. That is why SSG has developed an 18-step process based on best practices for any data migration. In this article, we will discuss those best practices and outline those 18 steps.

Steps 1 to 4

The first step in setting a migration in motion is arguably the most important and a key to best practices for any data migration, large or small.

Step 1: Meet with all departments and all constituencies to identify data that needs to be migrated (for example: chart of accounts, customers, vendors, items, transactions, reports, etc.). Different types of data will be stored in different areas and databases. All these need to be mapped to the new ERP system that is being implemented or upgraded.

Typically, clients will want to move every shred of their data. But this is not the best practice for data migration. There tend to be volumes of old data that a client will not really need to access in their new ERP system. Much of the old data can be archived, just in case! This leads us to:

Step 2: Define the minimum, good to have, and maximum data to transfer to establish priorities.

And logically from there to:

Step 3: Define the appropriate level of granularity (for example, static master data, open transactions, transaction history, etc.). As the level of granularity increases, so will the complexity (and the cost) of the data migration.

Followed closely by:

Step 4: To the extent that it is possible and practical, clean up the data in the source system before beginning the data migration process.

The four preliminary steps above lay the groundwork for a successful data migration.

As we progress through the data migration process, you will find that best practices will call for cleaning the data more than one time. Cleaning, archiving, mapping, and testing are all critical and repetitive tasks. No steps in the process can be eliminated. Simply stated, there are no shortcuts.

Let us take a look at what comes next, which is naturally…

Steps 5 to 8

Step 5: Keep the source data available to answer operational questions and to satisfy compliance and audit requirements. You might want to consider building a data mart for reporting purposes.

Step 6: Set up a database that you can use as an interim data repository.

Step 7: If it is at all practical, you should consider keeping the source system running so that it can be used as an additional archive.

Step 8: Grant limited access to the historical data (for example, reporting data only).

Now, you have made your way through 8 out of the 18 steps, which we consider to be best practices when performing a data migration. Only now are you ready for some serious mapping, cleaning, and testing, which you will find in the next 4 steps.

Steps 9 to 12

Step 9: Map the source tables and files as closely as possible to your new target system.

Step 10: Clean the data (again) in the SQL database!

Step 11: After loading the data, test, test, test transactions in the target system using the migrated data. Test each critical process, test each non-critical process, and then test it all. (Please! Do not say that I did not warn you.)

Step 12: Test the entire quote-to-cash process.

If you have gotten this far, if you have been reading through the first 12 steps in the data migration process, you are clearly interested enough in the best practices for data migration to want to see the rest. There are 18 in total so contact us to discuss the rest.

Also, we would be remiss is we did not tell you to ask us about an excellent migration tool called “Migration Cheetah.” Have we piqued your interest? For more information, please contact SSG at (310) 539-4645 or via the contact form today!

Once you have completed the data migration, you might think that your job is done. But that is not the case. Data management is an ongoing process, and Strategic Systems Group offers a complete repertoire of data management solutions and services.

We recognize that your organization’s business data is a critical asset. When you or your customers cannot access the information they need, business STOPS.

Strategic Systems Group (SSG) provides services to help you implement complete lifecycle solutions for database and system management. We offer expert consulting for new and existing databases in the following areas:

  • Maintenance
  • Back-Up
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Performance Tuning
  • Standards Development
  • Replication
  • Data Migration
  • Data Mining and Reporting
  • Documentation
  • Remote Administrative Services
  • Re-engineering

SSG’s database management consultants are experts in the Microsoft® SQL Server product line and several other relational database applications.

For more interesting information about how SSG can help your organization migrate, manage, and maintain databases, please contact SSG at (310) 539-4645 or via our contact form today!

Related Article

We generally use this space to link to other articles about SSG’s Microsoft Dynamics and Infor ERP solutions and services for manufacturers and distributors (our niche industry specializations!). But given the millions of people impacted by COVID-19, we are instead referring you to this recent, timely, and relevant blog post: What You Need to Stay Safe and Work from Home