At some stage, just about every implementation of Salesforce requires data migration. It may be the first time you are introducing Salesforce, or maybe monthly migrations are included in your process. Or it may be when a new device is added. There are several items that could involve the transfer of data to and from Salesforce.

Data migration projects, like any relationship involving humans, data, and change, may have a few challenges to overcome, and preparation is key to success. These concerns may be faced by organisations that opt out of or shortchange planning:

  • Analytics: Data is influenced adversely by incorrect knowledge.
  • Adoption: A new or added framework which is not set up correctly would be used by fewer team members.
  • Customer relationships: Bad data will impact consumers because orders, membership data, or services may be altered by inaccurate details in their accounts.

Data Migration Planning

Projects to migrate Salesforce data usually have repeatable processes. To ensure every phase is completed, it is a great opportunity to create processes and checklists.

Regardless where the data comes from — Excel spreadsheets or a legacy system — you’ll want to work through the project with these steps:

  • Find stakeholders: Engaging end users in planning guarantees their project buy-in and support. Stakeholders know the details best and may come inside a department or separate departments from different teams.
  • Identify data: Stakeholders know what information needs to be migrated and can address questions about how it is organised, where it is processed, if it is clean, data replication possibilities, and how Salesforce data would be impacted. Creating new or appending current Salesforce data fields, validations, and field values may be needed.
  • Prepare data: Once you have decided what changes need to be made in Phase 2, it is time to enforce the changes to ensure error-free migration of data. Add objects, fields, workflows, and validations, or change them.
  • Test migration: After importing a lot of data into the scheme, no one wants to have to back out. Instead of risking the information in development, run the test in a sandbox and address any problems.
  • Migrate data: You should be prepared for the migration into production by the test migration. Before migrating, notify Salesforce customers what is going to happen and how it is going to affect them. Validate the data after migrating the data to Salesforce. Even though you did this in phase 4, in the live system, you’ll want to double check.

Native data migration tools, such as Data Loader and Data Import Wizard, are provided by Salesforce. To help simplify data migration, third-party applications also exist. Partners in Salesforce may have proprietary resources or may create them based on the demands of a company.

Issues with Data Migration

It’s not a matter of if” nor “when you’re going to run into problems with migration. Being prepared for them is the answer. The most common problems with data migration include:

  • Getting data of low quality
  • Lacking instruments and tools
  • Omitting knowledge mapping to a new structure and format
  • Checking Skipping
  • Failure to account for the effects on migrated data of current data, processes and validation and vice versa,
  • Bypassing policies on data governance
  • Discovering unforeseen problems and exceptions of data
  • Overlooking access and authorization

Preparing for Migrating Salesforce Data

It is rare that any two data migration projects are the same, so different tools and resources might be needed for any migration. That said, below are the considerations to be included in every project for data migration:

  • Identify who should be involved: It may not be just the stakeholders, admins, and developers who need to have a say. You’ll want to include the people who will work with the data.
  • Start early: Data migration projects tend to be a part of a larger project. An early start would be prior to the start of the big project. You can identify, prepare, clean, restructure, and map the data ahead of time.
  • Build enough time into the schedule: Data tends to have a lot of exceptions, and you want to be ready to address them. Questions arise and issues surface when you work with both humans and data. If the schedule is not realistic, people may skip steps to meet deadlines. Getting the work done right is just as important as getting it done on time.
  • Assign the right people: Avoid assigning too many people on a task or inviting too many people to a meeting. When you identify who should be involved, outline each person’s role.
  • Select the right tools: Salesforce and AppExchange have many tools for data migration projects. In some cases, an organization may need tweaks made to an existing tool or to develop a new one.
  • Test the migration: Conduct migration testing in a separate environment from the live system and verify the results. Resolve any issues prior to migrating in production. And verify the data in production as well.

Data migration from Salesforce has a lot to do, particularly because it appears to be a small part of a larger project. Although data migration may be a subset of something bigger, it’s not a small undertaking, and the result will make the bigger project successful or break it.

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