Data Migration Process: Essential Steps and Practical Recommendations

Data Migration Process: Essential Steps and Practical Recommendations

The data migration process is more complicated than just moving information from one location to another. Data transfer can be challenging for an organization, especially for a big enterprise that has to relocate millions of data units to a new system. In this article, we share advice on efficient data migration, view the most effective data migration process steps and best practices, and provide valuable recommendations here.

Data Migration Process: Where to Start

Based on statistics, over 70% of data migration turn out to be more complex than expected. The best way to ensure that your data migration process won't run over budget is to plan it thoroughly. It can be pretty stressful, especially if it involves relocating critical data. It is essential to follow the planned strategy in data migration steps.

The data migration process consists of three major phases:

  1. Planning phase. One of the most critical phases in the data migration process flow. It consists of choosing the right strategy, evaluating the data you will transform, researching possible solutions and communicating with stakeholders.
  2. Data executing phase. This phase primarily depends on the first one because good planning and an appropriate solution will help migrate the data without failures.
  3. Verifying phase. Ensure that everything was done based on the plan by running verification tests. It is also essential to validate your data migration process. In this phase, you can also shut down your old system.

These phases of the data migration process outline the procedure in general. But to understand how to complete the migration successfully, we need to go through database migration steps.

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Essential Steps in the Data Migration Process

Here is a list of actions you need to perform and questions to answer for achieving the goal.

Step 1. Define the Scope of Data to Migrate

Develop a clear understanding of what data you will transfer. Launch an analysis of the source and target system first. After that, you can start planning the data migration process and define the critical areas in the project. To define the scope of data, you need to determine the following aspects:

  • The budget and timeline for the process
  • The specific requirements different stakeholders have
  • The reporting requirements
  • The requirements for a target migration database
  • What tools you will need to complete the migration
  • And what the significant data type is that you are going to relocate to

You need to be aware of the scope of data you are going to transform. After this evaluation step, you will be able to jump into the detailed design of the migration process.

Step 2. Access Your Resources

Once you know what data you are working with, the next step is to determine what resources you have for the migration. It is also essential to define any concerns with data integrity or quality as that will influence the whole migration planning.

There are many standards to ensure the quality of resources and data migration tools. Analyze the data migration software you will use for the process - and how flexible it is for running the data you have. You also require a qualified team for the data migration process. Be sure that all team members know their roles and understand the scope of work they will perform.

Step 3. Design Your Data Migration Process

After you have provided valuable research on data and resources, you are ready to design a guide for your migration process. Plan how to extract, validate and relocate the data between two systems. In this step, the data migration process flow diagram should include the following points:

  • the rules and standards for data mapping
  • the methodology of data migration
  • the way the team will transfer and maintain the data
  • a backup strategy
  • a detailed schedule of processes with a timeline

If you are performing cloud migration, you also need to consider some security issues and be ready to face some challenges. Focus on the common cloud-based migration strategies (6R): Rehost, Replatform, Reflector, Repurchase, Retain and Remove.

MORE ON TOPIC: Cloud Migration | How to Move Data to the Cloud with Minimum Efforts

Step 4. Design Testing

Some may think it's possible to skip this stage, but in practice, it is always better to ensure that the process runs as planned. You also need to review how each stage of migration will be tested. Ensure you are using the highest quality assurance tools and resources. Also, it is essential to break each testing step into smaller components with a description and result expectation.

Step 5. Data Execution and Migration

The development team will run the migration process based on the planning and design step. As you may know, there are two different approaches to the data migration process. The first one is to transfer everything (big band approach) or migrate data in small phases and save user access to the database (trickle migration). The team should monitor the process to ensure that it's going as planned before.

Step 6. Audit the Process

The audit is a final but important step you should not skip. After the migration is complete, engineers will provide an audit of it. You need to ensure that the data was relocated correctly and without losses. There are some tips for running this post-migration step:

  1. Evaluate the migrated data to ensure that there are no losses.
  2. Review all risk migration points.
  3. Check that all problems with data performing in the old system were fixed.

After you audit the migration process, you can retire the old system.

MORE ON TOPIC: Legacy System Migration Step-by-Step

What to Consider When Running a Data Migration Process for Complicated Systems

The last point in the data migration process discussion is defining its specificity in some cases.

  1. ERP data migration process. Data migration for enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can be complicated - as they usually consist of different types of data, and a lot of business components rely on one shared database. In this case, you can face some specific challenges for data migration, such as regulatory issues, data integrity or data migration cost. We recommend being selective with the data you will relocate and assigning a data governance responsibility to ensure that you fit all the legal requirements.
  2. Healthcare Data Migration Process From EHR to EHR. Another challenging issue in the migration process is moving the data from old Electronic Health Records (EHR) to new software or application. The mistakes in data migration for the healthcare system can cost lives. That is why it can take more time and effort to ensure quality data migration. For successful EHR data migration, you need to focus on details and updating patient information during the data migration.

MORE ON TOPIC: 7 Things to Consider before Successful Software Migration

Final Thoughts

The data migration process can be a complicated task for any team. This process offers an excellent opportunity to fix any previous problems with your system and clean the data you operate on. Cprime Studios has broad expertise in running data migration for different types of systems. If you need to discuss your case, you can contact our specialists.