Data Migration: Challenges & Joy!

What is data migration?

Data migration is the process of transferring data between storage types, formats, or computer systems.

Over the last decade, I have led multiple data migration efforts and found each one of these projects challenging and enriching. I keep swearing that I will not take up another but yet I always do. In a series of posts, I am going to share my experiences so that you may benefit from my lessons learnt and insights.

Common Data Migration Scenarios: when would you have a need to migrate data and create a project around this activity?
1. Mergers and acquisitions
2. Legacy system modernization
3. Enterprise application consolidation, implementation, or upgrade, such as an SAP ERP or CRM implementation
4. Master data management implementation
5. Business process outsourcing

Why are Data Migration Projects Are Risky: If you have been assigned as the lead for data migration, be aware of the heavy odds against you! Do your research and do it well.
Based on reference documents I have researched over the years (Gartner, Standish Group Study), I have found that
1. 84 percent of data migration projects fail to meet expectations
2. 37 percent experience budget overruns
3. 67 percent are not delivered on time

Why Data Migration Projects Fail: In earlier posts, I have outlined the importance of data management and the pitfalls of bad data management. These contribute to the overall success/failure of large implementation (and its data migration). Here are some reasons that have been attributed to failures of data migration.

1. Lack of methodology
2. Unrealistic scope
3. Improper understanding and use of tools
4. Inattention to data quality
5. Lack of experience

While data migration is essential to the success of implementation of a new application or business system, its role in the project often overlooked and underestimated. The common assumption is that tools exist to extract and move the data into the target application, or that data migration is something a consulting partner will handle. Often project teams tasked with data migration focus solely on the timely conversion and movement of data between systems. But data migration is not just about moving the data into the new application; it’s about making the data work once within the new application. This means that the data in the new application must be accurate and trustworthy for business users to readily transition from their legacy applications to adopt this new application.

In upcoming posts, I will outline the methodology I have used and why I have chosen this approach. Most of my team members would fondly remember my mantras of “Wash, Rinse & Repeat” and “I love data migration”. :)

"Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are my own only and in no way represent the views, positions or opinions - expressed or implied - of my employer (present and past) "
"Please post your comments - Swati Ranganathan"


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