Congratulations, your company has decided to make the switch to a new CRM application.  Now comes the work effort — determining how best to configure the application to your company’s needs and migrating legacy data into the new CRM system.  There are two general approaches to data migration.

CRM Data Migration Approaches

Option #1

Migrate all existing data exactly as is.  This approach can mean potentially migrating:

  • Records with stale data
  • Records with incomplete information
  • Fields which were used improperly
  • Duplicate records
  • History records that are too old to be meaningful

Users will wade through the same bad data in the new CRM system as they did in the legacy system.

Option #2

Perform a thorough analysis of legacy data.  Make a number of tactical and strategic decisions prior to performing data migration.  Some of the possible actions are:

  • Deciding whether certain legacy field should be excluded due to low “density”
  • Identifying potential duplicates and merging duplicates
  • Transforming legacy data into proper data types
  • Normalizing sets of “flat” fields into a proper database structure
  • Determining the cutoff dates for notes and histories
  • Whether there’s an ROI on migrating attachments

Should Old Motor Oil Go Into a New Car?

Strategy Data Migration CRM

Option #1 is the less expensive alternative in the short run.  However, in the long run, this option can end up being more expensive. It’s analogous to buying a new model car and then asking the dealer to remove all the motor oil, coolant, grease, transmission and power steering fluid from the old car and putting it in the new car.

Putting old fluids into a new car would result in unnecessary wear and tear — and an eventual risk of more expensive repairs to the car.

Rather than gumming up a new CRM application with old information, consider how much better a new model CRM could perform with clean data.  The following are some of the benefits to performing a thorough review of legacy data and then taking corrective action before migrating the data into a new system.

  • Higher user adoption
  • More efficient use of the CRM system
  • Better data for marketing purposes
  • More meaningful information for management reports

Migrating data properly the first time can cost slightly more in the short run, but helps to provide a higher overall return on investment (ROI) for a CRM implementation project.

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