Salesforce Data Migration

Salesforce.com data migration is a complex and rigorous process depending on the originating CRM database.  As Salesforce.com consultants, there may be a transition from another CRM system we have to manage for launching a new Salesforce.com system.

We have developed a data migration strategy over the years and we wanted to share our approach here.  Each project is different, but we work from a framework in our consulting which sheds light to how we migrate data into Salesforce.com.

Salesforce.com Data Migration Consulting

Typically, we are working with a customer and they have used a legacy CRM database like ACT!, Goldmine or a proprietary software system.  There are various reasons for migrating.  Once this decision has been made, then the strategies for delivering the goal is mapped out in our AscendWorks project system. Much like moving from one house to another, data migration is a project which has a sequence of steps. Here are some of the issues we address:

  1. Customization of Salesforce.com.  A new system affords the opportunity for a new design.  Our customers have had a track record working their business process in an older system.  They can clarify requirements and help design the layout and data relationships in the new system.  This is an important step.  Using the house analogy, we create blueprints, design and build the new house with all the rooms and the infrastructure for plumbing, electricity, airflow, etc.  The data relationships and impacts are carefully explored.
  2. Creating a data mapping document.  A collaborative online spreadsheet managed in Google Apps is created and managed by a lead Salesforce.com consultant on our team.  Each sheet contains information of tables and field mapping.  We take information from the old system and new system and lay them out.  We use a bottom-up design approach which assumes a predetermined data structure (e.g. a list of attributes or tables and attributes which you need to incorporate into a design).  We use this for managing data from your existing database.
  3. Collaboration on the data map.  We share out our master data mapping document and invite clarification and feedback from our customers.  This is a rigorous, but important step.  It ensures there is complete clarity on where fields and tables go inside the new system.  The new house is built.  We are deciding on where furniture from the old house goes.  Everything needs to fit and each item needs a decision on migration.  This is the master requirements document we work from and get sign-off on.
  4. Writing custom developed scripts.  Based on the data map, we prepare a SQL database and where we can manipulate and transform the data.  Our technology consultants develop software scripts for migrating the data per each table and field requirement.  It is checked and rechecked.
  5. Present, approve and launch.  Our customer is invited in to look at the new database with the migrations.  We anticipate feedback and make changes quickly as we get those pieces of information.  It’s important to differentiate new requirements generated from clarity derived from experiencing your new Salesforce.com system from missed requirements from the data map.  Once we have the final approval, the new system is launched.  Timing the adoption of your Salesforce.com system needs to be coordinated as part of the project plans.

There are many details we manage behind the scenes, but the goal is good design and requirements. Our clients enjoy being able to move forward in a new system with their past data.  Their assets live in a new context and setting in Salesforce.com.

What questions do you have about data migration?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I grow businesses through partnerships and executive coaching. I work with partners and clients on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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