Data Migration. What are the Risks?

Data Migration

Data migration is a stage in the implementation of a new program. Transferring information is a complex and risky process because without experience and expertise, you can lose or damage the data and integrity that are necessary for the new system to function.

How should data migration proceed in order to start working in the new system on time and without budget overruns? An essential point is to have a work plan that minimizes the likelihood of unforeseen circumstances.

Action plan for data migration:

  1. Decide which indicators and in what volume need to be transferred from one program to another. Data migration can be done in one of the following ways:
    • transferring all information, which guarantees the lowest risk of data loss but requires a lot of time and resources for preparation, migration implementation, and data storage;
    • transferring selected objects, which is the optimal solution in most cases, but requires decisions on which information is needed in the new system.
  2. Analyze the indicators:
    • the format in the new system;
    • data fields (and their order) required by the new system;
    • whether the fields have specific formats and which fields are mandatory;
    • security/access categorization;
    • the types of files that will be accepted by the new system;
    • limitations on the file size that can be uploaded to the new system.
  3. Ensure information security:
    • identify the list of individuals and data that can be viewed, edited, saved, etc.;
    • develop approaches to information security.
  4. Prepare the data:
    • digitize information from paper carriers;
    • in electronic form, match existing fields with the fields of the new system, add new fields, make indicators compatible, etc.
  5. Create a migration plan that includes a list of tasks and actions: identification of historical data to be transferred, data preparation, testing and trial launch, testing, decommissioning, and dependencies between these actions.
  6. Prepare regulations: when not to use the existing and new systems, detailed information on whom to contact in case of any problems or ways to respond.
  7. Analyze risks. Make a list of all specific potential risks that may arise in the project and actions to take when they occur.
  8. Prepare Plan B in case of risk occurrence, with a description of the actions to take in case of unsuccessful data migration.

This is a tentative action plan, and additional stages can be added depending on the project.

What difficulties can arise when transferring information to a new program? Understanding the potential risks and having prevention and response measures can help mitigate the negative impact on an IT project.

Risks may include:

  1. Data loss, which can be avoided through backup. Backup allows for information recovery and verification of correctness after the transfer to the new system.
  2. Errors. Errors can occur after the migration, such as discrepancies in indicator names, fields or columns, and their interrelationships. In the new system, these objects may be named differently, leading to inaccurate reporting, incorrect interpretations, and gaps in information. Testing can be a solution in such situations, and the more data, the more testing sessions are required.
  3. Prolonged downtime. Migration takes a considerable amount of time, making it impossible to enter data and resulting in information loss. Data transfer is typically performed during non-working hours, such as weekends when users do not use the software.
  4. Damage, which can occur if unwanted types of information are transferred to the new system, leading to system failures or incorrect organization of indicators. To avoid this situation, an audit of types and sources should be conducted before embarking on the data migration project.
  5. Incompatibility of indicators due to different sources of origin and approaches to representation, such as reflecting products in kilograms, units, or monetary equivalents. To avoid this situation, an audit of all data-related processes in your organization should be conducted, and a list of all sources to be consolidated in one place should be compiled.
  6. Integration with other sources or databases. Information sources may need to be integrated with other tools and systems for data generation and exchange. Failure to consider this information can result in losing access to certain indicators or blocking it for other users.
  7. Security – disclosure of information to third parties. Additionally, it may be discovered that your target system is more vulnerable compared to outdated systems. To mitigate the risk, a data security strategy should be developed as part of the migration strategy.
  8. Data quality. Poor quality can negatively impact the performance of the target system. Unstructured and inconsistent data can also lead to errors and system failures. To prevent problems, data cleansing is necessary before migration.

Data migration reduces the number of databases and programs that a company works with, reducing expenses for software and hardware infrastructure support and improving operational efficiency.

Specify which data needs to be transferred to which system, and Epol Soft will help find the optimal solution.

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