Data migration: how we make it work for you

Read this before you migrate your data (because you will eventually!)

When it comes to trying to anticipate what’s ahead for your business, a crystal ball would certainly be handy! But there is one thing we can predict with a fair bit of confidence.

At some point, you will need to migrate your customer data from one or more technology systems to a new target application or system.

Reasons may include, more data is being produced than ever before and technology keeps improving to help business realise value from their data.

Naturally, you’ll want to tap-into this cutting-edge technology and consolidate data sources. But what you also need to know is that the data migration process is what can make or break this move.

Getting it right is the goal. Getting it wrong is something you don’t want to think about.

Data migration is part of DCA’s core business. Here’s what we do to make it work, and some examples of clients that we’ve completed migrations for.

Data migrations happen for a range of reasons.

You might be upgrading systems or consolidating data streams into a new CRM system. Perhaps you’re going through a merger or acquisition, implementing a new application or migrating to the cloud.

Whatever the reason, there’s a strong business objective — which will usually complement marketing goals — that drives the need to migrate. All the more reason to get it right.

If the thought of migrating thousands (or millions!) of pieces of data from dozens (or hundreds!) of touch points makes your head spin, then here’s how we can take the pain out of it for you.

Our data migration capabilities

We’ve seen the A-Z of data migration across every business size and have the expertise to manage any migration that comes our way.

Some of the more complex jobs we manage at DCA include large organisations wanting to combine multiple database systems, such as Point of Sale (POS), loyalty systems, legacy and marketing databases.

We also see clients who want to move customer records from multiple sources into new CRM systems (such as Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Teradata, SugarCRM and many others). They enlist DCA to consolidate and link this data to help them achieve a single-customer view.

We improve before we move

If one of our clients has invested time and money into a new system, we’re going to make sure that any data we move into it is up to scratch.

We can start with a data audit. This audit gives a picture – which is often our client’s first real insight — into the state of their data. From there, we know what data we need to cleanse, de-duplicate and then consolidate to ensure it’s in the best possible condition so our clients can hit the ground running after migration.

Final enhancement

Once we’re happy data is in good condition, we are able to apply our data enhancement process. This step validates our clients’ database against third party knowledge bases, in order to check, update and append information to a client’s database.

This is especially important during a merger or acquisition, where customers could have a relationship with both organisations, and a single customer view is needed to drive better decision-making and corporate responsiveness.

It also helps for direct mail campaigns when customer data will be combined with purchased third party lists.

Making the move

Once data is ready to migrate, we use the extensive ETL (extract, transfer, load) capabilities of our proprietary data management software, Nirvana. This comprises custom algorithms that help with the ‘heavy lifting’ of migration projects.

Our data bureau also ensures the migrated data is fully compliant with project requirements and the target application.

And while we’ve got the technology and methodology we also have the human touch. Our data migration team members will quality control this process using their extensive experience to check and audit the data being transferred.

Getting it right

It’s no secret that data migration projects have disappointed many companies by failing to deliver on scope, on time and within budget. In fact, some research estimates that more than 80% of data migration projects fail or run substantially over budget.

Migration is historically viewed as the biggest risk in new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations. Part of the problem is that migration simply does not always get the planning, attention and understanding it needs.

How do we help our clients avoid this fate?

We’ve got tried and trusted project methodologies that ensure the migration process has minimal impact on a business’s live operations and can help you prepare.

The ETL capabilities of DCA’s data management “Nirvana” software allows for a faster overall migration process. And the pre-migration work – data audit, cleansing, de-duping and enhancement – means we are working with quality data.

We’re there to support you throughout the entire process – including developing the migration strategy, project management, defining business rules for the target system (to help avoid staff having to find ‘workarounds’) and continued data-quality maintenance.

Twenty years of experience means we can give you accurate estimates on how long your migration will take, and foresee potential stumbling blocks.

Don’t take our word for it

Here’s what some clients had to say about our migration work with them.

The Leukaemia Foundation of Australia

Background: The Leukaemia Foundation had around 150,000 contacts and 15,000 organisations in its database. It’s data was in very poor condition – four regional offices had their own unlinked systems and did things in their own way (from inputting data and communicating with clients to running campaigns).

Task: In November 2013, the charity approached DCA for help migrating its data into Salesforce so details could be accessed throughout the organisation, allowing a single-customer view and ensuring consistent treatment. Although it initially sought quotes for just data cleansing, it recognised DCA had capacity to manage the entire data migration.

Result: DCA consolidated and cleansed more than 250 data sources across the different databases used throughout Australia. This dramatically simplified and streamlined the process of migrating the client’s data into a single national CRM database.

Client response:

The technical expertise of DCA is phenomenal, but it’s their customer service that really sets them apart. No problem was insurmountable and no timeframe was an imposition. In the middle of a difficult and troubled database implementation project, DCA’s calmness and efficiency was invaluable. Thank you to Leigh and Hanzel for being such professional and helpful human beings!

Wyan Carter, National Database Manager, Leukaemia Foundation

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