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Often ignored or somewhat swept under the carpet, data migration is such an important element of any CRM project. A significant part of the future success of any CRM system revolves around clean, high-quality data that adds value for both your users and your employees. By adopting a smooth and proven process in migrating data to a new CRM system will mean that you can be rest assured that your new systems have a strong chance of maintaining and retaining only the best quality data. 

Granted, it is quite easy to fall into the trap where data quality is not maintained within CRM systems. This can be for a variety of different reasons where duplicate entries, typos, poor formatting & more all contribute to a drop in the value of the data contained within your CRM. So if you go and simply pick up and drop this data into your new CRM system you are going to be still stuck with the same problems as before. Therefore, it is important to dedicate the time to improving data quality before moving it to a new CRM system as this will significantly benefit your business in the long run. 

On the whole, the topic of data migration during a project tends to involve a significant amount of collaboration between you and your designated CRM partner. As they will have the knowledge and understand the capabilities of the CRM system, whilst you will be able to easily identify the data and information that is fundamental to the success of your business. 

As a side note, you will need to take into account the different data sources that your business uses, fields and other such factors, however to help you with the overall process, we’ve put together 6 key steps that are largely followed when migrating data into any CRM system as well into Dynamics 365. 

Step 1: Data Cleansing (Client) 

The first step in the process before migrating data is to cleanse the data you currently have in your CRM to ensure that the data you are looking to move is accurate and of a good quality. The key to having a useful CRM system for your business is largely determined by how accurate the data is within it, granted this exercise is very labour intensive and can be a somewhat tedious task however in the long run it will provide you with much better opportunities.  You can talk to your CRM partner about this who can point you in the right direction of how to approach this activity. Ideally you will be looking to remove duplicate data entries as well as ensuring that the data is consistent and accurate. An example of this is where you have an email address field where numbers have been entered or slipped into the wrong field so this needs to be changed as its not correct. At this point, it may be worth considering whether to have a standard data input for certain fields to ensure that your data will be future proof. 

Step 2: Scoping out the data

When looking to move your data, you need to map out exactly what data needs to be moved to the new system and what can be discarded prior to the move. It could be the case where you need to move everything across to the new system, however if certain datasets aren’t required, we can work with you to define a tighter scope. By doing this will help to reduce the amount of storage you will need in your new CRM which will save you plenty of money in the long term. In this case you should work with your partner to discuss the most efficient storage method that will best suit your business. An example of this is the fact that you could move your essential data into your new CRM but archive your older data in the Cloud through Microsoft Azure so you can keep your data but pay a lower fee for the privilege. 

Step 3: Mapping out the data

The third step once you have decided which data you want to move to the new system is to let your partner map your data to the new system. As part of our approach, we usually arrange around a half day session with the person responsible for the admin to work through which data is making the move and showing how the data will be mapped out and what it will look like in reality to ensure that both parties are happy with the way the data is going to be presented. 

Step 4: Migrate the data 

After completing the above steps, the migration of the data is now ready to happen. This is the hardest part of the process and requires a number of different tools to make sure that the data is collected from different sources and formats and transferred over to the new system. 

Step 5: Reporting on the data

This is an important part of the process as now you can check to see what has moved and what hasn’t been moved. Given the quantities of data you are likely to be moving its important to check to see if it has been successfully completed or not. The reporting element of the process will present what data was meant to be migrated, the amount of data and details so that after this migration has been completed you have something to reference to check whether the migration has been a success against the criteria laid out. You will find that this report shows what worked, what didn’t and what didn’t happen. Any problems or partial migrations that may have occurred are likely to have been caused by bad data or incorrect data, however this is unlikely to happen after the data cleansing process has been completed. If any errors/issues do occur then they need to be documented, addressed and a re-migration needs to take place. 

Step 6: Testing the data 

The last step in the process of data migration is to review the data contained in the system to ensure that everything is appearing as it seems in the correct format within the UAT environment. If there are any problems or issues then these can resolved and then retested before this is put live.  

Once it is been tested and everyone is happy then the data migration can be put to the live site and you have finished the process! 

Next Steps? 

If you are a business looking to discuss a new CRM project whereby you are looking to implement a tailored Dynamics 365 solutionwant to learn about all the Quick Start CRM options that are available or have any further questions around data migration then please get in touch with our team of CRM experts today to discuss how we can work with you to deliver your project on time and within your budget. 

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