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How to plan a comprehensive data migration

TIPS FROM OUR RECENT ROUNDTABLE

Derek Munro 4 minute read Data migration, Data quality

In November last year, Experian Data Quality hosted a client roundtable that gave insight into how to plan a comprehensive data migration. The presenters for the session were Experian Data Quality’s Jim Williams and founder and editor of Data Migration Pro, Dylan Jones.

I’ve had the privilege of hosting a number of these data migration events and they always prove incredibly popular - which is yet more evidence of the sheer number of migrations taking place within organisations these days. As host of this latest roundtable I was interested to hear some new insights from both presenters and attendees which I’ve shared in this blog.

Download the checklist, and use it!

Earlier this year I blogged about the Data Migration Checklist and we were lucky enough to have its creator, Dylan Jones of Data Migration Pro, with us to present on the day. Dylan created the first version of this checklist back in 2008 for the simple reason that he kept seeing the same issues with migrations, time and time again. Based on his experiences the checklist gives migration practitioners a starting point to guide them through the murky waters of a data migration by helping to plan every stage from pre-impact assessments to data quality checks and de-commissioning systems afterwards.

Data migration project checklist

Don’t set yourself up to fail

A lot of projects fail before the initiation stage because important decisions are not made early enough in the process. In his past experience, Dylan has seen people make bold statements at the start of the migration, such as, ‘we won’t conduct any data quality activity, we’ll just migrate the data’, which can hinder you, and the project, in the long run. By clearly assigning owners to decisions you can create an audit trail of responsibility and how each decision was made. As Dylan says, clarifying responsibility encourages people to maximise their understanding of the scope and impact of their decisions and it can be your ‘butt cover’ (if you need it!)

Decommission your old software

Step seven in the checklist, ‘decommission and monitor’, is one that gets frequently overlooked. Essentially it covers how and when you turn the old system off. Failure to plan effectively for the decommissioning of the old systems can mean the business continuing to run out of date systems that block some of the planned financial benefits of the migration. Having a clear decommissioning plan in place not only supports the effective roll-out of the migration but it can focus the mind of the Board in supporting your project as the migration now has a fixed end-point and tangible outcomes.

Ensure you’re monitoring the data quality

Use the migration as an excuse to overhaul the data quality monitoring in your business. It’s the best time to launch a data quality initiative and to create a rules process going forward that the business can adopt as you have buy-in and awareness. The processes, responsibilities, tools, expertise and knowledge of the data built up during the migration can almost all be re-used afterwards. A lot of people miss this aspect, but if you’re not careful you can miss an opportunity to make changes for the better in your business.

You can access, what was deemed by Bloor, "the most powerful data profiler on the market" for free, using the Experian Pandora Free Data Profiler, to get really granular insight into your data.

Make it easier with the right technology

Having the right tools in place can make all the difference when it comes to a data migration. Experian Pandora is well known for having functionality that eliminates risks, shortens project timescales and ensures costs remain under control. The tool can also help to overcome the usual barriers to data migration success and supports the management of the project while providing better quality results and a full audit trail. It’s also extremely easy to use, which is why our customers find it particularly useful for migrations as it can be used by technical and non-technical staff. Get a feel for some of Experian Pandora's data analysis capabilities by getting the Free Data Profiler or contact us to discuss arranging a data audit before your migration.

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