Business Data Migration: What Could Go Wrong?

Whether it’s customer information, sales records, or analytics, the protection and storage of data is essential to businesses today. When companies need to scale quickly or get more competitive, migrating that data into a new system or application can mean huge efficiency improvements. However, not only is data security at stake, but if a migration process goes awry the errors could be costly. Luckily, by keeping an eye out for these common mistakes you can focus on getting your data migration done successfully.

What Can Go Wrong During Data Migration?

There are some common missteps  in all three phases of a data migration: planning, validation, and execution.

  • Planning a Data Migration

Often we see data migration strategies based around assumptions about one or both systems involved. Your data migration team should begin with a thorough infrastructure audit. Fully take stock of all physical and virtual components, as well as network devices and general layout. Additionally, the team should lay out all relevant dependencies between programs and devices, so you know where the connections are. When a migration fails, many times it can be traced back to an update or change that was made to one part without considering the whole. These mistakes can be avoided by establishing clear leadership and well-defined goals.

  • Validation and Testing During Data Migration

Validation is a way to confirm beforehand that the migration plan will work. Basically, this means rigorous testing and in-depth analysis by all departments. Once your IT team has set up the plan and list of goals for a given migration, they can create a checklist for every department to follow. This checklist should ask them to refer back to the old application as well as test the new one. This will help them see if any gaps have been created. For example, if your company is undergoing a database migration, confirm that searches performed in the new system will produce the same information.

The validation and testing portions should consider other variables. How long will this migration prevent users from interacting with your materials? What is or could be the financial impact of going offline during this period? Say a bank has data that needs to merge with a new mobile app or customer-facing interface. What would a customer reaction be to a service outage? These kinds of questions may be easy to gloss over in discussion, but in practice, they represent some of the biggest risks.

  • Execution of a Data Migration

Once all internal checklists and pre-migration testing has been completed, it’s not as simple as just clicking a button.  A migration is all about keeping many balls in the air at once–and keeping your eye on all of them. That means that there will likely be numerous changes and corrections even after the transfer has completed. Data migration testing tools like backwards compatibility verification also sometimes prove to be necessary.

Migrating data to a new system often supports businesses looking to become more efficient and streamlined. But even as it gets more common, stakeholders must plan with care to avoid risks or errors. If you’re unsure of how to get started or how to be certain the process has been a success, contact iLAB today.