Getting data migration right requires a multi-step approach. Let’s find out more.
Data migration is the process of moving business data from legacy (often decades-old) database systems to new platforms where the company can achieve more with it. However, it’s never as easy as that definition makes it sound.
In this article, we’ll look at the value of data migration and the challenges it poses. Then, we’ll look at the three stages of data migration and how you can get it right. Let’s go.
Why data migration matters
Data migration can be a long and challenging process, but when successful, it can change the game for businesses. Moving data to better platforms lets you leverage it better, including for new technology implementations such as product lifecycle management (PLM) or the internet of things (IoT).
It gets you from where you are now to where you want to be, removing silos and segments, and getting everything you need on one platform to avoid switching systems.
Data migration challenges
But it’s hard. There are so many moving parts to a data migration, especially in large businesses. Even minor mistakes can spell disaster.
For example, the older the original system, the more likely it is to contain inconsistent or inadequate data. In addition, there might be only a handful of people in the organisation who truly know how it works. It means that getting the correct data out is extremely difficult and will need a lot of treatment before you can use it on the new platform.
Work taking place during the migration can also be derailed. The goal is always a successful data migration with minimal interruption.
Here are the three stages of data migration and how you can get them right.
1 – Packing
The first part of the data migration process is getting the data out of your current legacy system.
When you move house, you don’t usually take everything in your old home with you. Instead, you go through everything and decide what needs to come and what can go to the dump. The same is true with data. Only take what you need.
While extracting your data, it’s a good idea to label it, making it easier to find further down the line.
2 – Redecorating
The next step is to transform your data so it can fulfil its purpose in your new system. In our moving home analogy, it’s deciding what you will use each room for and arranging it accordingly.
Depending on the types of data you’re moving, it can be more of a challenge. For example, CAD drawings can be complex, especially if they link to other drawings and documents.
Moving a thousand examples of a single type of file is much easier than one file of a thousand different types, so if you can transform files to fit the new system, so much the better.
3 – Unpacking
Moving day has arrived. It’s time to get everything in your new house and put everything in its place.
Your data migration team must ensure as few unknowns as possible to facilitate a smooth move. Make allowances for anomalies, such as how in Windchill, multiple revisions of a part might have the same name and number, while other systems assign different names and numbers to revisions. Think of this day as a year zero where you can lose the mess and uncertainty from your old system. Have rules around what goes in and where it goes – and stick to them.
Once your data is in its new home, you can start to reap the rewards – increased visibility, efficiency and reliability.