Data Quality

3 Steps to a Headache-Free Salesforce Data Migration

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Remember the last time you spent hours working on a lengthy, beautifully-formatted document only to open it up in a different program and have it look a total mess?

Now, imagine that horror, but instead of a text document or slide deck, it’s all of your company’s most important data that just went ‘poof’ (jump scare!).

Obviously, this is the exact opposite of ideal, but if you attempt a data migration in Salesforce with no planning, armed with the wrong tools, or otherwise unprepared, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

What’s a Salesforce data migration (and why would you need it)?

A Salesforce data migration is the process of extracting data from one source system and loading it into a target Salesforce environment while, ideally, maintaining its integrity, structure, and relationships.

Your organization may be looking at doing a data migration if:

  • You’re upgrading your legacy systems or CRM platform to Salesforce
  • You’re consolidating multiple databases or systems
  • You’re looking to purge, archive, or otherwise enhance the quality of your data

So, what does the process of doing a data migration in Salesforce look like?

Step one: Plan ahead

As you can imagine, data migration projects require careful planning, coordination, and expertise to ensure the successful transition of your data to Salesforce with minimal disruption to business operations.

Below, we break down how you can set your organization up for success when launching a migration.

Get clear on goals, scope, and stakeholders

For a project of this magnitude, you should be able to clearly articulate the goals and objectives to your team(s). Start by identifying any data owners, admins, and other stakeholders and working with them to establish clear roles and responsibilities. From there, determine what the scope of the project is: what data will be migrated? Which source systems are involved? What’s the target Salesforce environment? Establish a timeline and be sure to allocate all necessary resources.

Clean up your source data

Review source data to ensure its quality and accuracy. This may involve data cleansing activities like deduping, standardizing formats, validating data integrity, and resolving any other inconsistencies or errors. Clean and well-prepared data will make for a much smoother process, saving you time (and headaches!) in the long run.

Get mapping

Think of this step as the “Measure Twice; Cut Once” stage. Analyze the data structures, fields, and relationships in the source system and map them to their corresponding fields in Salesforce. Define which transformation rules and logic are required to convert the source data to match the Salesforce data model. Remember to consider any data dependencies or complex relationships that need to be preserved during the migration.

Identify integration requirements

Identify any integrations or data dependencies between Salesforce and any other systems within the organization. How will these integrations be affected by the data migration? Plan ahead for any necessary updates or reconfigurations to ensure consistency and seamless data flow post-migration.

Build a validation strategy

Establish a plan to verify the accuracy and completeness of the migrated data once. That looks like defining test scenarios, sample checks, and determining how you’ll validate the migrated data against the source data.

Establish data governance

Data governance encompasses the processes, policies, roles, and responsibilities for ensuring data quality, integrity, security, and compliance within your organization. It ensures that appropriate measures and permissions are in place during, and after the migration process. Work with your admins to implement data encryption, access controls, and other security protocols to safeguard data privacy.

Have a backup plan

Anticipate potential risks and challenges that may arise during the migration process. Create a contingency plan that outlines alternative approaches, mitigation strategies, and fallback options to address any issues or setbacks encountered during the migration. Having a well-defined contingency plan helps minimize downtime and ensures business continuity.

Give company-wide notice

This is where you inform everyone else within your organization about the upcoming data migration and communicate the overall plan, timeline, and any potential impacts on daily operations.

Put simply, thorough planning, stakeholder involvement, and attention to data quality and security are all factors when looking for a smooth transition to a new Salesforce environment.

Step two: Migrate your data

Now that you’re all prepped and everyone is on the same page, it’s time to migrate!

The process typically includes the following steps:

  1. Data extraction: Collect all migrating data from your source system or database. Extracted data may include customer records, leads, accounts, contacts, opportunities, custom objects, and related metadata.
  1. Data transformation: Source data often needs to be changed to match the target Salesforce data model and adhere to data quality standards. As mentioned above, this may involve data cleansing, standardization, deduping, formatting, and mapping. Data transformations ensure the migrated data stays consistent, accurate, and compatible with the new environment, making Salesforce data management a breeze.
  1. Data loading: Once transformed, your data is ready to be loaded and mapped to the appropriate fields in Salesforce. To do this, you can use Salesforce data import tools, such as the Salesforce Data Import Wizard, Data Loader, or third-party integration tools. Of course, we recommend the Import module of Validity DemandTools .
  1. Data validation and testing: After the data is loaded, thorough validation and testing are essential to ensure data integrity and verify that the migration has been successful. This involves comparing migrated data to the source data, performing sample checks, and other tests.

Pro tip ––create a test strategy that covers different use cases and scenarios to ensure a high level of data quality and integrity.

Step three: Post-migration care

Once the migration is complete and your data validated, additional post-migration activities may be necessary, namely:

  1. System setup: This means configuring security settings, re-establishing integrations with other systems, and updating workflows and automation rules.
  1. Data governance: You’ll also need to provide training on any changes or new features that will be introduced, encourage user engagement, and be prepared to address any concerns or questions they may have.
  1. Security and compliance: It’s imperative to protect sensitive data before, during, and after a Salesforce migration to ensure your data is transferred securely and that the appropriate permissions and controls are in place. Remember to consider compliance requirements, such as data residency regulations, and ensure you adhere to relevant legal and industry-specific regulations post-migration.

Whip your CRM data into shape

A Salesforce migration allows organizations to maintain data integrity, streamline processes, enhance data quality, and ensure a smooth transition to Salesforce or a new Salesforce environment. However, planning is crucial when executing data migrations if you want to minimize disruption and ensure the most successful outcome for all.

If done incorrectly, such a process can be tough, time-sucking, and revenue-costing.

For expert tips on how to migrate growing volumes of data and prevent data quality issues from crippling your bottom line, check out our guide “Top Tips to Nail Your Next Salesforce Data Migration.”