A to Z of Data Analysis, Cleansing and Migration

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In this blog, the A to Z of CRM Data Analysis, Cleansing and Migration, we’ll be exploring some of the key considerations that your project and executive team should be making before and during a CRM implementation.

A significant part of the future success of any CRM system revolves around clean, high-quality data that adds value for both your employees and ultimately your customers. By adopting a smooth and proven process in migrating data to a new CRM system will mean that you can be rest assured that your new systems have a strong chance of maintaining and retaining only the best quality data.

A to Z Audit of Current Data

Understanding what data is being collected, used and stored within your organisation is a key step for any CRM project. Most organisations will have performed this step as part of their readiness for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance, but possibly not to the level that will be needed for a new CRM implementation.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Backup Your Data

Despite the best efforts of your project team unforeseen problems can always occur during the data cleanse and migration phase of your CRM project, and the last thing you want is to lose or corrupt vital customer information in the process.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Cleaning Your Data

Data cleansing is the process of identifying corrupt, incorrect, duplicate, incomplete, and wrongly formatted data within a data set and removing it. This data cleaning process is necessary because data is likely to be moving from different data sources built up over time and could well be in slightly different formats.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Data Mapping

Data mapping is the process of matching data fields or elements from a source, or multiple sources, to their related data fields in your CRM — it’s how you establish relationships between data models that are in different sources or systems.

Data mapping allows you to organise, cleanse, analyse, and understand vast amounts of data that live in various locations so you can draw conclusions and insights and prepare that data for migration.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Extracting Your Data

This is the extraction of the data from the source systems. This normally consolidates data from a number of different systems and areas and each may well use a different data format. The goal of the extraction phase is to convert the data into a single format which is appropriate for the transformation processing. Once the data is extracted we then import the data into our staging environment.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Formats of Data

File preparation plays a key role in planning for data migration. Much of the critical work that goes into a successful CRM data migration is actually dependent on the software you are replacing. For example, different CRM software or legacy systems often use different label options and categories for organising data, which means you won’t be able to simply copy and paste the information to the new software. In many situations, companies need to re-format some of their data before the CRM data migration takes place.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Governance

Typical data issues, such as incomplete records, out-of-date or obsolete information, and duplicates, erode trust in IT systems and affect key business functions. To realise the full value of your CRM investment, you should have policies and processes in place to make sure you’re collecting the right data, managing it effectively, and ensuring that it is accurate and relevant. This is where data governance comes into its own.

Handling Missing Data

When moving from one system to another there are often gaps in data.  Your new system expects to have certain fields populated but the source system does not have that data.  Identifying missing data early on in your project is important so that it gives internal resources time to rectify this prior to data migration. For some fields, missing data may not be an issue e.g. a customer’s website address, but for other more critical data such as contact details this may be more important to fix.

Integrity of Data

Accurate data is just one cog in the mechanics of a CRM system, but a very important one. Poor data leads to incorrectly targeted marketing campaigns, embarrassed team members and frustrated customers. It is therefore vital that you have a system in place that ensures your data stays clean, relevant, easily accessible and up-to-date.

Justifying the Effort Involved

Do not underestimate the complexity of the data migration end to end process. Many time-consuming tasks accompany this process, which may be invisible at the project’s beginning.

The basic factor for estimation is the number of fields to be transferred from a source system to a target system.

Some amount of time is needed in different stages of the project for every field, including understanding the field, mapping the source field to the target field, configuring or building transformations, performing tests, measuring data quality for the field, and so on.

In particular, understanding the source data – the most crucial task in any migration project – cannot be automated by tools, but requires analysts to take time going through the list of fields one by one.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Keeping Stakeholders Involved

Many would consider data migration as a technical activity with mapping data elements from source system to target or moving them from a legacy system to a new one. However, there are many critical business/stakeholder aspects that need to be considered during the Data Analysis and Mapping phase.

The Data Analysis and Mapping phase cannot be successfully completed without engaging the right stakeholders and business users at different levels.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Legacy Systems

Most, if not all, CRM implementations will require data migration from or integration with legacy systems in your organisation. Ensuring that you have subject matter experts within the organisation as well as IT that use and administer these systems on the project is extremely important to a CRM implementation.

Expertise on the business processes and data that reside on these systems will speed up data analysis and mapping exponentially.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Migration of Data

When it comes to the point that you are ready to migrate the data, it is sensible to do a sample migration with smaller volumes of data to ensure that the scripting works according to plan and everything works as it should. This dry-run approach allows you to catch mistakes before migrating your entire database. It’s also much more efficient than migrating your complete dataset repeatedly as you perfect your mapping. Ten percent of your records is a typical amount.

Running a sample migration can also help you prepare for any system downtime. Once you know how long it takes to migrate 10% of your database, you can extrapolate the entire migration timeframe. If it exceeds your project timeline significantly, you can try another migration method or tool. After these test data migration rounds, it is finally time to migrate the whole data from the legacy CRM, or a range of solutions, into your new CRM.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Nomenclature

Setting up naming conventions can be time consuming but in the long run your teams and data will thank you. As you assess what information will go into each record field, discuss how certain information will be recorded. For example, will you use suffixes such as Ltd. or Limited for company names? Make sure they are used every time and in the same way to ensure accurate data.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Ownership of Data

Data ownership establishes accountability within a CRM, assigning responsibility for managing data from creation to consumption. It puts rules and processes in place to ensure that the right people define usage directives, set quality standards, and consistently resolve data issues.

Data ownership is a critical part of an effective data governance plan as well as data analysis, cleansing and migration. (See G)

Data ownership does not mean possession of the data; data owners establish the rules for the data they own related to creation and usage. This means that data owners essentially govern the data under their purview, including managing glossaries, definitions, and quality controls. Data ownership also entails remediating issues and ensuring compliance with corporate, industry, and government regulations and laws.

A to Z ViewPoint CRMProcess Owners

During a CRM implementation, identify the people in the company that are the future super users of the CRM tool as well as subject matter experts in their field.

These will be the business process owners and they need to feel empowered to make decisions and it’s the executive managements job to empower them. It’s necessary for them to feel like they own the solution ultimately.

Ensuring that you choose the right people to be involved in the long-term will ultimately pay dividends.

A to Z ViewPoint CRMQuality of Data

Once you are looking at clean data, you need to ascertain its quality.  You do this by checking its:

  • Validity – To which extent the information fits into defined business rules
  • Accuracy – Are values within the database in a normal range
  • Consistency – Is data consistent across multiple data entry fields and data sets
  • Completeness – Are all necessary data entry fields populated
  • Uniformity – Is depicted data specified using the prescribed measurement units

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Resource Availability

Building the right project team will be crucial to a successful data analysis, cleansing and migration for a CRM solution. Include the right people, give them the time and authority to complete project tasks, and make sure all team members are committed to the project’s success. This is particularly important in small to medium sized organisations where most or all of the project team will be assigned this project in addition to their existing duties. Make sure that team members are allowed to spend the appropriate amount of time to make the project a success.

Find out more in our A to Z of CRM Implementation (under Project Team)

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Data Analysis Cleansing and Migration Scope of Migration

One of the biggest oversights in CRM migration is underestimating the cost and time required for optimal integration. Organisations typically want to migrate everything, but migrating everything isn’t ideal for two main reasons: complexity and cost.

The cost of migration is tied to the volume of data and, in many cases, migration costs can exceed the cost of the CRM itself. One of the contributing factors is the cost of additional data storage when moving to a cloud-based CRM.

The goal is to migrate the right amount of data needed to ensure optimal customer experience management, as well as ensuring your business development team has the insights they need to accelerate sales and revenue. Simply put, legacy data should only be imported if it supports future business objectives—something you’ll need to align with senior management and key internal stakeholders.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Data Analysis Cleansing and MigrationTesting

The standard approach to testing data and content migrations relies upon sampling, where subsets of random data or content is selected and inspected to ensure the migration was completed as designed.

Sampling works, but is reliant upon an acceptable level of error and an assumption pertaining to repeatability. An acceptable level of error implies that less than 100% of the data will be migrated without error and the level of error is inversely proportionate to the number of samples tested.

Even with these shortcomings, sampling has a role in a well-defined testing strategy.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Data Analysis Cleansing and Migration Understanding the Data

Data to support CRM maybe sourced from many different points within the organisation or obtained from external sources, such as business partners or information providers (e.g. Experian, Dun and Bradstreet etc). Overall, this diversity creates problems of ensuring consistency; integrating the different feeds; overcoming resistance from data owners and conflicting business objectives across the enterprise.

Issues that arise in this situation can include the metrics that drive operational units, such as call centres, where an emphasis on productivity conflicts with any requirements from other areas of the business to either update existing customer data or collect new data items.

These issues can only be resolved by either having an organisation-wide strategy for data, where everyone understands the importance of accurate and comprehensive data in achieving business goals, or where there is a process in place that requires a cost/benefit case to be made identifying the enterprise wide opportunities that particular data might provide.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Data Analysis Cleansing and Migration Validation of Data

Ensuring that data migration validation best practices are followed is imperative for organisations undergoing data and content migrations. The damage that can be caused by a migration failure is potentially incalculable, as has been highlighted in a recent incident involving a large UK bank.

To ensure your data migration project is successful and doesn’t put your business’s information at risk, ensure you employ a data migration specialist with a proven track record in successfully migrating large amounts of data in complicated environments. Test their expertise and credentials to ensure they are following data validation best practices and have a deep technical understanding of the systems you are migrating to and from.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Data Analysis Cleansing and Migration When to Migrate

The right time to migrate varies, but it’s important to remember that CRM migration projects can often take months from initial planning through end-user training. Teams typically look to migrate their CRM systems during quieter operational periods to reduce the disruption of day-to-day operations.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Data Analysis Cleansing and Migration X Cross Project Collaboration

On the whole, the topic of data analysis, cleansing and migration during a project tends to involve a significant amount of collaboration between you and your designated CRM partner. As they will have the knowledge and understand the capabilities of the CRM system, whilst you will be able to easily identify the data and information that is fundamental to the success of your business.

Ultimately, collaboration with business users and stakeholders is a key aspect of any CRM deployment. Working with an implementation specialist that understands how your business works is invaluable for gaining the trust and support of colleagues around your organisation. A partner with trusted sector experience can be key to success. They have the credibility to engage with data owners and users at the right level, giving them confidence to work with the IT team to provide vital direction and input for a successful data and system migration.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Data Analysis Cleansing and Migration Yielding Results

Data is one of the biggest assets of any organisation. Therefore, it is vital that the data migration workstream within the project is given the time to do their jobs effectively, that they have the right migration plan in place and that due diligence throughout the process is taken to ensure the right results.

Following the steps within the A to Z of Data Analysis, Cleansing and Migration for CRM, you can be armed with the right steps to moving data safely and securely. With your new CRM solution, your organisation can take advantage of the newer and innovative features and focus your teams on improved customer relationships & better revenues.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Data Analysis Cleansing and MigrationZingers

Every CRM migration brings its own challenges. Problems and issues will arise throughout the Data Analysis, Cleansing and Migration process. With the right people on your project team AND the right CRM partner, these problems and issues can be resolved quickly.

We hope you enjoyed the A to Z of Data Analysis, Cleansing and Migration and hope that you are now armed with more information when considering purchasing a new CRM solution. If you’d like to discuss your CRM needs please get in touch with our team today or book a demo.

At StyleTech, we’re here to help our customers with their CRM journey and guide them through the process from A to Z!