Behind any successful IT organization lies a network of well-functioning and up-to-date enterprise applications. One challenge many business leaders face is managing an effective data migration strategy. Moving application data from one version or platform to another can be a risky and extensive process with significant consequences if not executed properly.
According to one senior applications analyst, despite high data migration costs, about 75% of systems fail to meet expectations. This failure is due to migration process flaws, preventing many company leaders from delivering the competitive advantages they desire. According to the Oracle whitepaper, analysts can organize common data migration challenges and risks into four areas: effort, expertise, data quality, and migration strategies or methods.
More specifically, three primary challenges exist for migrating data within enterprise platforms. First, company leaders experience migration downtime. Second, many tech leaders are still making manual changes to critical apps to support their development life cycles. However, it’s best to automate all changes with minimal manual intervention. Third, all changes need to be auditable due to financial loss and compliance cost risks. It’s imperative to understand the technical steps necessary for successfully moving from one system to another.
Migration steps and benefits
Fortunately, enterprise platforms provide a range of migrating and reporting tools that can expedite the migration process, allowing company leaders to go live within days or weeks instead of months or years. But how can IT professionals best utilize these tools to design safe and efficient data migration processes? The key steps to this process are:
- Determine which data IT experts require for the migration process. To map out the data you’ll need to migrate to your new system, it’s crucial you have a good understanding of the application data relevant to your business process.
- Leverage available application program interfaces (APIs). Many enterprise platforms have data integration points and well-defined interfaces to facilitate data migration. These will help validate and load the data into the source or target system.
- Develop conversion design and data mapping. Data conversion design is crucial in this process, as it involves extracting data from the legacy system, utilizing templates to load data, preparing a mapping sheet to map the source data to the target data, and converting the data if required during mapping and validation.
- Finalize data for migration. IT experts must review every aspect of migrated data to ensure it will properly convert into target systems’ required forms.
- Load data into a test instance for quality assurance. This step can help catch any lingering issues or deficiencies in your data and provides a more detailed quality analysis prior to final upload.
- Implement data migration. This is a straightforward step but can be time-consuming depending on how much data you’re migrating.
- Perform final validation prior to production. Since detailed validation occurred in previous steps, this final validation should provide only high-level data.
Though these steps may seem straightforward and simple, each comes with its own set of challenges. An enterprise system’s integrity can impact business operations and profitability. Therefore, it may be prudent to hire an enterprise data migration services expert who understands complexities inherent to managing ever-changing technologies and can help oversee the migration process.
When done right, data migration can present you with significant business benefits, including:
- Greater business goal achievement via new infrastructure adoption
- Improved business performance and continuity
- New functionality, thanks to migration to a more up-to-date platform
- Reduced complexity and improved data consolidation
- Improved supportability and serviceability
- Lower support costs
Of course, no data migration process is one size fits all, and how you migrate data from legacy systems to newer, faster, more efficient ones may depend on your particular circumstances. However, by understanding what data migration entails and carefully following safe migration steps, you can improve corporate performance and deliver a competitive advantage for your clients.