Associations collect a lot of data. As they continue to collect more information, ranging from members to events to finances, the importance for a seamless data migration process cannot be emphasized enough.
Understanding the overall process of data migration is crucial as you’re moving information from your legacy association management software to your new provider. Below, you will find some tips on how to successfully migrate your data.
Plan Before the Move
For a successful data migration to occur, you must understand the target and the source - where the data is going, where it comes from, and exactly how much data you actually have. Most associations do not have a genuinely intimate understanding of their data, so this is where the AMS provider’s Data Services Team comes into play.
Check the Format
It is not often that the format of data profiles in your legacy system and new system will match exactly. This puts your data at risk for distortion or duplication during the migration. The Data Services Team will work to import your data from your legacy system, but they are going to need help from you and your team.
Your association will need to provide a copy of the legacy database so that the Data Services Team can learn the formatting and workflows of your data. Because terminology between systems may not be identical, it is necessary to understand what each field represents. Your team will need to be able to explain various membership processes such as renewal, expiration, and revenue recognition.
It is important that the Data Services Team understands your processes and how those processes map to various elements in your data so that your system is configured correctly and functions the way you need it to now and further down the road.
Staging the Move
Most data migrations come in verifiable stages that more or less correspond to the following five step process - extraction, transformation, cleansing, loading and validation.
- Extraction is the process of getting data out of your current system.
- Transformation starts the format matching process between source and target.
- Cleansing ensures that you are not bringing over corrupt data or bad records. It also identifies and merges duplicate data.
- Loading finally moves the data into the target location, with one more final check for errors.
- Validation continues the testing process to ensure that data performs as intended when it reaches the target location.
The process of data migration can be an intensive process, and it is usually best to outsource the details to a dedicated specialist. Since you and your team do not have the expertise or the time to migrate your own data, you need to select an AMS provider that will ensure all the steps above are followed closely. Your data is centric to your association and your new AMS, so it is imperative that all important and relevant files are migrated.