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Data Migration’s Challenges

Data migrations can be a blessing to marketing organizations, though most companies see them as a curse.

Upwards of 91% of businesses engage in data migration projects; however, almost all (85%) of them run into a significant problem during the process. Experian Data Quality’s “Ease the Data Migration Burden” study shows that the five most common challenges are the following:

“Data migrations have become an essential part of data management, with a large number of system upgrades, mergers, or general data consolidation,” says Thomas Schutz, SVP and general manager of Experian Data Quality. “The desire to gain insight from data is so great that these projects are of critical importance to gaining customer understanding and executing business operations. While many face challenges, they can be alleviated or lessened with the right level of planning and data insight early and often throughout the project.”

More often than not, organizations partake in data migrations when there is a merger or acquisition, a de-merger or buy out, a system replacement or upgrade, or regulatory changes. Here are some ways to avoid the five main data-migration issues, according to the study.

Lack of collaboration
To avoid collaboration chaos, the study says to “ensure all stakeholders are [brought] in and have a seat at the table.” Also, having a clear project plan and assigning specific owners to tasks and deliverables are other ways to ixnay collaboration issues.

Lack of data standardization or data consistency
Whether it’s dates in the wrong format or addresses that don’t adhere to the post office’s guidelines, standardization is imperative in an organization’s ability to leverage data as an asset. Identifying and ameliorating such issues prior to a migration will help keep things consistent—eliminating errors and potential obstacles that threaten the migration’s success, as well as helping to keep unexpected costs and delays at bay.

Poor system design
Thirty-three percent of organizations view poor system design as a significant migration challenge; it doesn’t have to be, though. Having clearly defined scoping documents, a centralized location that every team member can access and update (i.e., a project management system), and extra time for the inevitable problems that will arise from the migration process will help to thwart this issue.

Inaccurate information
Migrating bad data will, of course, cause major challenges. Leveraging a data quality solution to ensure data is ready for migration and fit for business purposes will help to lessen the risk of inaccurate information. Also, much like poor system design, make sure to allot extra time for unforeseen data issues. There’s no point in migrating bad data to the new system.

Poor interpretation of business rules
Technology and business people need to be in sync during data migration projects. When IT is left to make decisions or interpret business jargon, there will be challenges, the study says. Business users must be held accountable for defining requirements so that the technology team has a clear understanding of things ahead of the migration.

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