Application data migration has been a reality of IT organizations for many years. However, to this date, these projects are still challenging to complete and create significant issues if not planned and executed correctly. These are the top 10 challenges that companies face in application data migration projects:

  1. Poor software selection. Most application data migration projects fail before these even started. While some organizations have structured needs analysis and planning processes, these are not always followed, or in the worst cases, a software application that doesn’t fit with the business model is selected. This usually means that functions and business processes that are currently supported in the systems in production won’t be supported in the new system.
  2.  Lack of migration planning. The implementation of a new application, in most situations, is a complex project. In these projects, usually, executives of business units and IT conduct meetings to discuss the implementation plan, but very little time is dedicated to talking about the data migration plan. There’s still a misconception that data migration is just the process of transferring data from the legacy system to the new application, and nothing could be farther from reality. A solid migration plan is a must for any application implementation project.  
  3. No involvement of stakeholders. Before selecting the software or embarking in an application implementation project, you will have to analyze the impact from a business perspective. Detailed discussions with stakeholders (business executives, managers, and end-users) will be required to understand their business needs. This is a fundamental step in your discovery process that will help you to minimize errors in the needs analysis and software selection process.
  4. Minimal project updates and communication. Most data migration projects fail because executives are informed of problems and delays when it’s too late to take action. Be sure to keep stakeholders and end-users regularly informed on the project progress. A weekly status report is the best way to avoid surprises and keep all parties involved notified of any issues, challenges, or changes in the project timeline.
  5. Poor data governance. Data governance should be present in all stages of your data migration project. Your project plan should define who has the right to approve/reject changes, create, edit, or remove data from the legacy and target systems. Data governance is a critical component that will drive multiple project tasks from ETL development to Testing and Validation. 
  6. Lack of expertise. The data migration project is a critical component in company-wide application implementation projects. Still, the reality is that it is often subject to misconceptions that minimize the challenges and complexities that entails the migration process. Having experienced professionals with specialized knowledge and a proven track record helps the process go smoothly and mitigates risk by increasing the chances of success for your company and the project team.
  7. Inadequate data profiling and cleansing. The first hurdle that most data migration projects face is the lack of data ready to be migrated. Most organizations try to perform data cleansing tasks on the fly, and this causes project delays and unnecessary expenses. 
  8. Useless KPIs. In a data migration project, the complexity does not reside in successfully transfer all the records from the legacy to the target system. Being able to load the data into the target system is not the measure of success because the data may be valid and even complete but not correct. Without a formal approach to data migration defined by a robust framework and a comprehensive plan for data validation and reconciliation, you will have a moving target in terms of trying to figure out how accurate the migrated data is.
  9. Unreliable data migration methodologies. Dedicate time to investigate available options in the market but, most importantly, to be sure that the data migration approach has worked well for other companies with similar business processes and operating in the same sector as your company. Resist the temptation to accept a cookie-cutter process, automated or pre-packaged solutions offered by a vendor or consulting company. The vendor should be specialized in data migration and will need to have in-depth knowledge of the data migration process and the data structure of the target application.
  10. Vendor and project management. Vendors and projects must be managed. Remember that it is very likely that you will still be doing your day job plus the application implementation project. Be sure that you make effective use of your time to manage the project and vendors. Consider that even experienced vendors and project managers will need guidance and direction from the company’s executives.

CXO Corporation’s Consultants and Developers have extensive experience implementing complex solutions in multinational companies across different sectors: Financial Services (Banking, Leasing, Insurance), Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Food (Confectionery, Food Manufacturing, Beverages), and Technology. Contacts us to discuss your upcoming application migration projects.