How is Data Migration Done?

A graphic representing how data migration is done when switching your ERP system from QuickBooks to NetSuite

Data migration is the process of moving data from one source to another, from one application to another, or from one location to another. It’s a very important process that is usually driven by a company updating existing systems or migrating to a new system.

For example, in today’s business environment, data migration is typically driven by the need to move applications from on-premise hosting to cloud-based storage to optimize performance, increase security, and drive down costs. Or, your company could be ready to migrate from QuickBooks to Oracle NetSuite ERP.

During the data migration process, the new system often shares the same data as the old system to ensure data is not lost during the transition. The question is: how is data migration done to ensure a successful migration? Let’s examine.

Data Migration in 5 Basic Steps

When your company schedules a data migration project, these are the most important steps to be aware of in the data migration process.

1. Inspect: this step involves inspecting the data that your company wants to migrate for verification.

2. Extract: this is retrieving data from different applications.

3. Cleanse: next is removing and fixing corrupted, duplicate, incomplete, or incorrect data.

4. Transform: when transforming data, you change the values, format, or structure of the data.

5. Load: the last step is copying and loading data from one application to another.

When moving data from one application to another, a data migration specialist will utilize checklists and plans to ensure the migration goes smoothly. These elements include:

  • Pre-migration planning: evaluate the data being moved.
  • Project implementation: identify key stakeholders who will be affected.
  • Landscape analysis: brief your company on the project’s goals for data migration.
  • Data migration strategy: determine which data to move and how the data will be transferred over to the new system.
  • Build and test: test the migration process before transferring all of your data.
  • Validate: ensure that the migrated data matches the historical data in your legacy system.
  • Completion: show that the migration has been completed to satisfy the project requirements to make the data viable for business use.

Why a Data Migration Strategy is Important

A data migration strategy is valuable because it prevents data inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and duplication. A strategy also provides a roadmap for troubleshooting if the data migration reveals problems in the system that went undetected until the migration. This can help solve issues with various types of data.

Types of Data Involved in a Data Migration

– Historical financials: companies can choose to bring over historical trial balances or general ledger transactional data. Most companies bring over net change trials balance versus general ledger transaction data because it is much easier to migrate. You can accomplish both, but the difference in the effort is radically different. A data specialist can help simplify issues managing complex accounting data.

– Historical sales orders: tracking historical sales for each customer is crucial, so migrating this information is often a top priority for most organizations.

– Historical purchase orders: tracking historical purchases for all vendors will allow your company to maintain continuity in capturing expenses year over year.

– Customer records: the importance of customer data is critical to tracking sales trends for your customers and understanding projected sales.

– Inventory: for organizations that rely on accurate inventory tracking, it’s important to put this type of data at the top of the priority list during a data migration project to ensure correct and accurate inventory counts.

– Fixed assets: companies must maintain accurate historical and current information on fixed assets. You will want to be able to maintain an accurate calculation of each asset’s current value and remaining amortization schedule in your new system.

The Different Approaches to Data Migration

When a migration specialist executes the actual data migration, they will select one of a handful of options to complete the project. Consider three different approaches that are typically employed:

– “Trickle” migration: during a trickle migration, the process is completed in phases. During implementation, the old and new systems continue to run, eliminating operational interruptions and downtime. These implementations are often complex but, when done right, reduce risks.

– “Start Fresh” migration: during this type of migration, your company would only migrate one year of data and keep previous data in Excel or other data repositories for reference to reduce the amount of data being transferred.

“Big Bang” migration: in this approach, the specialist will set a time to complete the entire transfer in a specified window. Unfortunately, your business will experience downtime during data transfer. This migration approach can create stress and pressure because you have to operate with resources offline.

A specialist will work with you to determine and select the best approach to complete the migration. Things to consider are the business need, available resources, upcoming deadlines, budget, the quality of the data, and other considerations.

Then, before the project is initiated, you will want to work with the specialist to complete a few tasks:

  • Back up the data before the migration begins.
  • Ensure alignment with the migration priorities.
  • Understand the migration strategy being implemented.
  • Communicate what’s happening with your team.
  • Test the migration before implementing.

Find Support with Data Migration from Finlyte

Moving to the cloud, updating systems, and integrating data into a new system is a complex process. If this includes migrating to the best-in-class Oracle NetSuite ERP platform, we can lend our expertise to support your data migration. We know exactly how data migration is done.

Our team has worked with numerous clients across many different industries to complete data migration to NetSuite ERP. Our experts are ready to assist your company through our NetSuite implementation process.

Jumpstart your migration by contacting us today for a consultation to discuss your company’s goals. Let’s take care of your data migration needs.