The goal of data migration is not complex: the centralization of data (or key data in multiple location in sync). But why do organizations have such a hard time migrating data into or out of their Salesforce environments. The answer is not surprising – it is time consuming. There are organizational and technical hurdles to jump through, but it is a necessary evil.

Recently, we hosted a Dev TechTalk session focused around Data Migration, the challenges many organizations face and delivered best practices to ensure a smooth migration. Below are some of the key points that we touched on.

Top Challenges with Migrating Data in Salesforce

  1. Leadership underestimates the time it will take to migrate data and vastly underestimates the number of resources it takes.

According to a recent Forbes article, “recent research shows that only 36% of data migration projects keep to the forecasted budget, and only 46% were delivered on-time.” Data migration projects tend to take on a life of its own and leadership doesn’t understand the scope of the project. By taking some time for planning, migration can go a lot smoother. We will touch on this in the next bullet.

2. There is a lack of planning or a migration plan when migrating the data.

All data migration projects deal with data ownership and technological capabilities. One of the biggest problems is that the organization responsible for the data migration, often times IT, doesn’t understand who the business owners are for the data or what use cases need to be applied to the data. This adds major time and resource constraints when an organization is in the middle of a migration, and they have no idea what the data is being used for. That takes us to technological capabilities. Often times, organizations either don’t have the right tools in place to run a migration properly or there is no one with the knowledge set and/or experience of the systems to run the migration. In that same Forbes article is quotes, “44% of respondents in a recent data migration study reported a lack of understanding of critical technologies as an inhibitor.”

3. Underestimating the complexity of the data.

All data is not created equal. One of the top challenges that organization’s face is dealing with complex data. Data, in a Salesforce environment, can have parent/child relationships, triggers, workflows and so many other complicated associations.

4. Lack of oversight with the data.

You’ve figured out the ownership issues with the data sets, now a challenge that many face, is the lack of oversight with the data. For example, all active workflows and triggers associated with the data that will be migrated over need to have some oversight that there are no errors, and everything is migrating smoothly. There needs to be a plan for who, ultimately, can make the oversight decisions for all data sets.

5. Upstream migrations

Organizations migrate downstream, but what about upstream? This is an oversight many companies face when they start evaluating tools for migration. They don’t think of all the use cases that they will face and then run into problems later on when they decide they need something different.

Top 5 Best Practices when Migrating Data in Salesforce

  1. Identify the data you want to migrate

Choose which Objects to migrate. For example, decide whether to migrate only the Contact information from each Account or only migrate the Account information from a particular division. Do you want to update the existing data or replace as new. Have a plan.

2. Create Templates

By creating templates, you can reuse the migration over and over again.

3. Populate your template

Review your data before populating it in the template. For example: Load one record, check the results, then load all records.

4. Prepare the destination Org

Make sure where ever org the data is going to, that it is prepared to accept that data.

5. Validate the data

Evaluate the data. Does the data look correct? Did Flosum’s Data Migrator find any errors. Be sure to review any and all errors prior to the migration in order for a smooth, stress-free migration.

Every data migration project is always going to be more complicated, more time and resource consuming than first thought about. It is imperative that a solid plan, ownership and use cases and thought thoroughly through before moving ahead with any project. Failure to do so can result is downtime for business-critical applications and cause major impacts to the business.

Be sure to check out our quick 15-minute video on Data Migration and be sure to sign up for the rest of our Dev TechTalk Live series.

“Flosum is the best native release management tool that you will fall in love with. I have gained confidence in my role and has given me the ability to view release management from a whole different perspective.”

Faizan Ali
Salesforce Consultant at Turnitin