Salesforce data migration
As a company grows, the amount of data it generates grows with it: customer data, analytics, transaction histories, sales channel ops, marketing campaigns, you name it. If a function generates data, it also increases the need for data storage. More and more, companies that encounter the limitations of old-school data storage and management solutions are turning to cloud CRM — and there’s no choice more popular for that than Salesforce.
We can understand the platform’s popularity; we’ve written before about the benefits of Salesforce integration. But moving to Salesforce does take some planning and coordination. An essential step toward using Salesforce is migrating your existing data as a part of your Salesforce project, which can seem daunting. But do it the right way and you’ll avoid headaches and see better ROI.
What is data migration in Salesforce?
Data migration in Salesforce is the process by which an organization transfers its data from a previous storage system to a cloud environment on the Salesforce platform.
Benefits of Salesforce data migration
The biggest benefit of a Salesforce data migration is the enhanced accessibility and efficiency it unlocks: Moving your data onto a new cloud-based CRM platform means moving your organization into the up-leveled and more efficient, “green” world of cloud computing — or that you’re improving your existing cloud infrastructure. Making that move gives you access to the world-class services that Salesforce provides.
Preparing your data for migration to your Salesforce platform means making it agile and flexible, accessible, and transferrable. Plus, the act of migrating your data gives you the opportunity to rid your data of silos, meaning your departments can access and share information more seamlessly.
How to begin your data migration
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” “Measure twice, cut once.” There are dozens of shopworn cliches about the importance of planning, and for a business, each one applies to data migration.
Alongside the strategic planning, there’s a more tangible aspect of planning in the form of data mapping, a vital early step for any data migration. Data mapping is the process of pairing data fields from the original database to an equivalent field in the database it's being transferred to. This gives your data migration project a frame of reference for any — and every — data point from the beginning, middle, and end.
Data migration is a team effort. Make sure that your plans for migration are communicated to everyone involved well before it’s scheduled to take place, and keep those lines of communication open throughout the process. Every team member affected by your platform shift should know about it in advance and be prepared for it. Aleksej Rykov, one of our Salesforce consultants and Delivery Manager for many of our data migration projects, emphasized the importance of transparency, “The scope of data being moved, that uploading of every table to the database, takes significant time. Making sure everyone has that in mind and can plan accordingly, that’s vital.”
Set your scope, schedule, and budget
When it comes to data integration, traffic management is everything. Before you start, make sure you know what the job will entail. What’s being moved? What tools are being used? Who’s being affected by it? When will it happen? How long will it take? Every one of those questions needs an answer before you start work, but know that the last point is especially important for data migrations involving multiple systems, or that merge previously separate data from different sources into a new, singular database.
And when setting both the scope and schedule of migration, the vital, concurrent step is budgeting: not just in money allotted, but also staffing and time requirements. Data migration is a demanding process; staying accountable at every step is key to ensuring you migrate data seamlessly.
Find the right tool for the job
Databases in need of migration vary just as much as the business or organization that may need them. Likewise, there are a number of data migration tools out there, each serving a different function. Look carefully at all the options that make sense for your operation before deciding which one is right for your business (and keep an especially close eye on the volume of data you’ll be moving).
Indeed, one of the benefits of Salesforce is that it offers a suite of Salesforce-specific migration tools, built to make Salesforce data migration simple and straightforward.
Clean your data
No one wants to fire up a shiny new CRM just to find that some files are corrupted or incorrectly formatted. Before you start moving your data from its current location, protect the integrity of your new platform’s data environment by cleaning it: That means fixing structural errors, removing duplicate or irrelevant data, and removing unnecessary outliers. A pre-migration data cleanse helps to ensure no interruption of business operations.
Assess your data model
Data migration marks a fresh start: It not only lets you access your data more effectively, but gives you a chance to evaluate whether your data architecture is serving the needs of your present data cache. Assessing your data architecture helps you keep tabs on your information’s scalability as you complete the migration, so you’ll have a solid fund of “self-knowledge” as you make adjustments to your CRM down the road.
Validate migrated data
Even with the best-planned data migration, it’s worth checking that nothing went wrong in the process of moving from Point A to Point B (remember that data mapping we mentioned earlier? This is where it pays dividends). Running a rigorous evaluation of your data’s integrity in the early days post-migration can prevent untold hiccups and headaches as you take your system to full speed.
Clean your data: The Sequel
Just because you’ve got a brand new home doesn’t mean it can’t use a little tidying up. Many times after a migration, companies will find that data has been transferred multiple times — usually due to overlapping data sources — resulting in duplicates and redundancies. Go through your data immediately after migration for some spring cleaning. This exercise will deliver the added benefit of confirming that the migrated data on your new and improved system is absolutely spotless.
Welcome to Salesforce
With a focused, coordinated, team effort, you can conduct your company’s Salesforce data migration swiftly, efficiently, and with a minimum of speed bumps. And the payoff is that, once you’ve completed it, your business gets to reap the benefits of the world’s premier CRM solution.