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March 12, 2010

What Should Data Migration Plan Comprise?

Filed under: Data Cleansing, Data Migration, Data Quality — Tags: , — Olga Belokurskaya @ 2:22 am

In my previous posting, I wrote about the importance of planning to avoid data migration project failure. So today, I’d like to have some words on what data migration plan should provide for. I mentioned pre-migration procedures and process. A good data migration project starts from planning the necessary pre-migration procedures and then gets to planning the process itself.

Why pre-migration stage? The data can’t be migrated from an old system to a new one just as is, because the old problems will be migrated to the new system as well, thus making data migration useless. To take the most of the new system, a company should ensure the data migrated there can bring value to the business and can be utilized by the business users. Thus, before being migrated:

  • The business value of the data should be analyzed to define what data to be migrated
  • Data cleansing (elimination of duplicate records, etc.) should be performed to ensure the quality of the data.
  • If needed, data transformation should also be performed, to ensure that data formats qualify the new system’s requirements.

Well-elaborated process is the key to data migration project’s success.

  • Data migration project requires creating and implementing migration policies to define the order of the process and a responsible person for each stage of the migration. When the order of the process is set, it’s easier to prevent the troubles, such as server or system crash due to the excessive amount of data migrated at once, etc.
  • Testing is an important stage. One should test each portion of the migrated data to ensure that it’s accurate and in the right format. Without proper testing, the whole data migration project may fail. It’s not a good decision to migrate tons of data only to find out that it’s not in the expected format or the new system can’t read it, and thus the migrated records are useless.
  • In order to ensure future success of data migration project, the process of migration—each stage—should be carefully documented.

So, to conclude: ensure you know what to migrate, provide the quality, systematize the process, test, again test, and document it. This may seem rather time consuming, however, in the reality, when all the procedures and stages are planned, you get more clear picture about time and budget data migration process will require.