Top 5 Factors To Consider When Preparing For A Data Migration Strategy

Jul 08 2021

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Understanding Crucial Factors To Plan A Data Migration Strategy

Let’s face it: Data migration planning has never been easy. It is a challenging yet complicated process. If businesses are planning to conduct server maintenance, relocate to a datacenter, upgrade to a server, following a right data migration strategy can help streamline the process. Without proper planning, there’s a huge risk of data transfer between systems and formats, companies will wind up with costly downtime, corrupted, and misplaced files.

This blog aims to highlight why having a migration strategy is important and some crucial factors that companies should consider navigating common pitfalls while preparing for a strategy.

Why Data Migration Strategy Is Important

Data migration is the process of taking data from one environment to another. It involves Extract, Transfer and Load (ETL) process to accomplish a migration from source system to target location. This means that extracted data from the source system goes through a number of transformations for data preparation, which then loaded to a target system.   

With the major advantage of transferring data from one storage or computing environment to another, data migration also helps organizations enhance performance and competitiveness.

Unsuccessful migrations can result in inaccurate data filled with discrepancies and redundancies. This might happen when source data is in continuous use. Furthermore, any issues residing in the source data can take major form when it’s brought into a new, sophisticated environment.

Helpful Read: Why Data Migration Solutions Are Important For Automated Customer Experience

What Should A Strategic Plan Include?

According to Gartner, 60% of investments made on data migration failed because they have compromised the business value in many ways.

A failsafe data migration strategy prevents organizations from a subpar experience that only worsens the problems. Alongside missing deadlines and exceeding budgets, improper planning can bring a complete disaster. In the planning phase, teams need to pay full attention to the migration task, rather than considering this as a secondary task. 

For instance, CSCS, a skills certification scheme for the UK construction industry, was facing continuous challenge of long card processing time which was impacting its business continuity and agility. Icreon as a strategic partner has helped the organization in data migration process where multiple databases containing 1.5 million customers and 3.5 million cards moved into MySQL databases. The team at Icreon used Pentaho Data Integration (PDI) tool for ETL processing to facilitate the process of capturing, cleansing, and storing data using a consistent format, easily accessible by the end-users. This migration under their digital transformation journey helped the organization to achieve greater business agility and continuity. 

A list of steps that fall under a strategic plan:

Knowing the Data: Before undertaking a migration project, it is important that source data must go through a complete audit process. Unwanted issues come out if this step is ignored. 

Cleanup: Once underlying issues in the source data are known, the compromised data should be cleaned up. This process may require additional or third-party tools according to the scope of the data migration project.

Data Mapping: This process involves extracting data fields from one or multiple databases (source system) and matching those fields to their related target fields in the target system. The mapped data is useful for business continuity and efficiency.

Maintenance: Over a period of time, data becomes obsolete, which makes it unreliable to process further. There should be controls in the process to ensure reliability of the data.

Governance: Maintaining data quality is important to ensure data integrity. There are tools used to produce this information, which are needed to automate functions wherever possible.   

Top 5 Factors to Consider While Formulating A Strategy

The more a data migration strategy is planned the less likely companies encounter surprise cost and unexpected downtime. Moreover, there will be less chances that business end-users will get frustrated during and after the migration. For a successful migration strategy, businesses should establish goals, put a timeline in frame, and anticipate any challenges that may come in the path.   

MIght Helpful: Common Data Migration Challenges and Strategies Explained

There are three primary factors that businesses should consider in mind while approaching data migration.   

Type Of Workload

There are certain types of workloads like virtual machines, backups, and databases that can be moved using software-vendor tools. Such tools are specific to the type of data being migrated. So, this is important to know what format the data is in, where it resides, and what format it should come after migration. If the tools are not accessible, businesses must plan for a downtime. The best practice is to transfer the mission-critical data in stages. Further, testing intervals throughout the process, and keeping the source and target points up and running in parallel.   

Amount Or Size Of The Project

Once a business get understands the type of data, defines the scope of the data migration plan, and puts a realistic budget in place they can chart out a flexible timeline for the project. Then they can  conduct an analysis of the source and target system and consider downtime if it interferes with normal business operations. For this, it is important to plan migration after business hours to avoid disturbing business running time. And make sure that all the key stakeholders are aware of the migration and potential downtime. When it comes to transferring huge amounts of data – say up to multiple petabytes, a specialized device provided by the cloud vendor is the most efficient option.

Speed To Completion

In an online migration project, the size of the data and the speed of network connection play a crucial role in evaluating how long the process takes. While the offline data migration mode depends on the shipping time of the data to its new storage location. If migration speed from start to finish is the top concern, check the resource pool in-house, team skills, time, and tools available to tackle the project in the designated time frame. Considering these skills, a data migration software could be the best option to meet the data migration requirements in the set time frame. If the migration deadlines are flexible and business has bandwidth, skills and networking constraints, offline migration could be the suitable option.

Execution Of The Data Migration Plan

As per the defined data migration plan, make sure the right system permissions are granted to facilitate successful data migration and retrieve all data to the target, from the source system. The data should be cleaned to protect the target system from any surprise. After cleaning, transform the data into the appropriate format for the loading stage. In the final step, load the cleaned and deduplicated data into the target system. Check the execution as per the migration rules and map that businesses have already laid out. Keep a tab during the whole migration process so that if any problem arises, it can be resolved at the same time.

Interesting Read: Creating Efficiency with Data Migration   

Testing Of The Final System

Data migration on an enterprise scale is quite complex. Once the migration is complete, it is important to note the connectivity problems associated with source and target systems. The main goal of testing the final migration is to ensure that all the data migrated is accurate, secure and in the proper location.  Conduct unit test, system test, volume test, and web-based application and batch application tests.


Creating a successful data migration strategy is vital to prevent any harm and loss of your mission-critical data. By considering the above factors, you will be able to plan a failsafe data migration plan to successfully move data from source to the target system environment. Just remember that all your data is backed up at one place before beginning any migration activity.

Facing trouble in preparing your data migration strategy! Consult with our data migration experts to drive your business forward.