By George Ralph, Managing Director RFA UK
This week, I discuss how to decide if you need to complete a data migration project, and if so, how to go about it in the most efficient way.
Data migration is a key component of most technology projects, whether the project includes selecting a new trading, accounting, or CRM system or moving to the cloud. Migrating a large amount of data can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be if you are armed with the right resources.
Justify the data migration.
It is essential to justify the data migration from both a business and technology perspective and cost and return perspective. In order to gain the maximum return on investment from the new application or infrastructure, it is critical that you are able to meet your company’s Maintenance Time Objective, which is the amount of time that you have to take the existing system down. For alternative investment managers, such as hedge funds, the Maintenance Time Object is very short, due to the demands of trading.
You will also need to ensure that the cost of the migration is acceptable and manageable, in terms of both the new technology costs and the man power needed to carry out the migration process. If you don’t have the resources available to you internally, either due to a skills shortage or general staff shortage, consider enlisting a reliable technology partner to manage the project. In addition to helping you justify the data migration project, a technology provider can remove the stress of migrating data by ensuring all deadlines and objectives are met on time and within budget, allowing you to focus on running your business. Once the project has been approved and deemed financially viable, approach the migration in a methodical manner by working with your outsourced technology provider or with internal resources. Highlight any dependencies between applications and the order of work that is needed to ensure a smooth migration. Complexity due to multiple inter-dependencies will increase the risks associated with the migration.
Decide which data protection and security solutions you will need.
Customer data is usually the highest priority and requires the highest levels of security, so migrations to and from applications that contain customer data should be treated as high risk. To maintain data integrity, you need to classify your data: understand how much you have, where it is currently located, how often it is accessed, and how much it will grow in a given period. Consider whether all the data will need to be migrated, or if you can dedupe. You should also consider whether all the data be migrated exactly as it is, or if the data will need be modified to meet the requirements of the new application.
Plan the migration.
You can either plan a single, swift migration, or you can run a test exercise, followed by a phased approach. The method you choose will depend on the size and complexity of the project, but will impact your Maintenance Time Objective and should be considered carefully. Your technology partner can guide you in selecting the right approach to the data migration.
When roles are clearly assigned and the data has been classified, you can put the tools in place to migrate the data. When the migration is complete, implement the necessary checks so that you can gauge the success of the project, and ensure the data is intact and located in the correct location.