Data Migration Part II : Evaluation & Planning

As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” In terms of Data migration that is so true,  according to Gartner, 83 % of data migrations fail outright or exceed their allotted budgets. A lot of this failure is attributed to a lack of planning.

Analysis of data migration projects over the years has shown that they meet with mixed results. While mission-critical to the success of the business initiatives they are meant to facilitate and support lack of planning structure and attention to risks causes many data migration efforts fail.
— Gartner, “Risks and Challenges in Data Migrations and Conversions,” February 2009, ID Number: G00165710

In the last blog, I mentioned about Data Migration stages. In this blog will do a deeper dive and look in the first 2 stages,  So let’s talk about what planning and Evaluation look like.

Evaluate: Data

  1. Data Sources: Identify all different data sources for Data migration, often time Dynamics 365 implementation replaces more than one applications as such you might be migrating data from multiple applications. 
  2. Data Quality: it’s important to analyze the quality of data at the source to avoid Garbage In, Garbage Out. Some of the common quality issues are
    1. Inconsistent and incomplete Data: inconsistency is a big indicator that there’s a data quality problem. When data has not been entered in the system correctly like missing zip code, province or other information remaining data could be of less value.
    2. Duplicates: In many circumstances, the same records might exist multiple times in a database, Common culprits are Account, Contacts.
    3. Inconsistent Formats: if source application did not have much validation the data will have more typos of errors, Address is the most common place to find with City and provinces being named differently.
    4. Obsolete Data:  Every day, people move, marry, and change their names. Since Peoples’ information is rarely static, obsolete data is a common challenge which is hard to rectify as well.
  3. Data Volume: Volume of Data could be a key factor in determining Data migration Tool/Process and the Deployment Plan.
  4. Operational Data vs Archival Data: Legacy applications when replaced will often have a lot of historical data, you might not want to bring all of this data into Dynamics 365 as this data might be not be used for day to day operation but useful for Data Analytics and Reporting Purposes. Identify what data needs to be in Dynamics 365.

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Dynamics 365 : Data Migration demystified-Part I

Data migration is often overlooked in Project implementation primarily because the project team is focussed on application development and customization which takes away the priority of data integration and data migration. As data migration is planned to be the last activity on the project it also gets most impacted from any budget cuts and application scope increase. 

Talking about the budget, many implementation’s approaches to data migration is for data migration to be done using the Import and Export feature of Dynamics 365 CE over the weekend before Go Live, this works sometimes but is a recipe of disaster in most cases. 

When implementing Dynamics 365 Project, configuration and customization to meet the users need is only half the battle. Data migration is key to getting the right head start for users to start using the application. In this blog series, I will focus on data migration, the challenges, strategy, Process, Tools and my own learnings over the years. Let’s start with what is Data migration?

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Integrations

In today’s business, it’s key to have Unified systems and process. Often businesses struggle to integrate enterprise data across their ever-growing number of applications and systems, resulting in applications which are meant to help but actually harm productivity.

Disconnected systems often overload employees with much of the painstaking work of searching data, data entry, data processing, and business analysis, and in some cases, data synchronization is manual and the onus of data integrity across systems will fall to employees.

When businesses invest in digital transformation projects to improve efficiency and gain a competitive edge, they have to plan on how new systems and apps will interact with each other. Burdening their employees with the task of manually migrating data between various systems easily counteracts any ROI.

Almost every Microsoft Dynamics 365 Implementation requires some level of Integration in real or near real time with other systems. At first, Microsoft Dynamics integration may seem like a daunting task but there are a lot of tools by Microsoft and ISV’s which makes it easier, Let’s dive in and look into some of the key options which have almost become industry standards for Dynamics 365 Integrations.

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