Golden Rules of Data Migration

The Golden Rules of Data Migration

Last week I discussed three reasons that data migrations fail. You might be wondering to avoid some of these challenges. You can avoid a failed data migration by following these golden rules.

Data Migration is a Business Issue

The first golden rule for data migration is that it’s a business issue, not just a technical one. There are technical aspects to it, but at the core of it is a business issue. We’re moving business information from one place to another, and that means the business needs to be involved with that data migration. This ensures things are set up in a way that is best for the business.

The Business Knows Best

The second golden rule is that the business knows best when it comes to how they are using their data. The technical specialist’s job is to trust but verify. There might be different people in the business that use the data differently. If you speak with all of them, you get the complete answer.

You have to have someone on the project that knows the business well enough to understand when they’re not getting the complete answer. That person should keep asking for more information until they get what they need. The business has reasons behind having their data a certain way. The IT people need to be able to help them get there the best way they can with the available resources.

No Perfect Data

The third golden rule of a data migration is that no organization wants, needs, or will pay for perfect quality data. There’s not enough money in the world to make data go perfectly from system to system. Throughout the data migration process, you have to set expectations and verify you have the core information that you need.

If you aren’t able to bring everything over, document why. Differentiate between nice to have data versus critical data, so if choices must be made, the right data is preserved.

If You Can’t Count it, It Doesn’t Count

The final golden rule is if you can’t count it, it doesn’t count. What this means is that you have to have metrics that quantify the data. This may not necessarily mean quantifying the rows of data from one database to another. It may be quantifying the whole object.

For example, instead of saying 1 million dates went from one database to the other, you may say that 1500 purchase orders were moved from the old database to the new one. Have a unit of measure that makes sense to the business when you quantify the data migration.

If you are in charge of a data migration for your firm, make sure you follow these 4 golden rules. If you need any help with the planning, strategy, or technical aspects of your records migration, you can schedule a 10-minute strategy session with me here.

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