Published | May 16, 2019


If You Get Data Migration Wrong, How Will You Get Your CRM Right?

CRM Data Migration

It's interesting how something so easy to describe — the process of moving data from one system to another — can be so critical to how a CRM solution functions.

Data migration involves a change in storage and database or application, which is what makes it a potentially complicated process. This is why we, at NexJ Systems, adopt industry best practices while managing migrations from legacy systems, using our extensive tooling and significant experience with client data encompassing a varying degree of size and scope.

What makes data migration critical?

There are all kinds of reasons that drive a financial services organization’s need for data migration. Some do it to overhaul an entire system, others to upgrade databases or establish a new data warehouse, still others to merge new data from an acquisition or other sources, or deploy another system alongside existing applications. Irrespective of why it is done, the process always involves the careful extraction of data followed by a series of functions in preparation, before re-loading into a target location or system.

It is imperative to follow best practices when it comes to data migration because data never sleeps, budgets can be overrun without a competent migration plan, and operations may end up functioning below expectations. When done in a professional manner, data migration can prevent loss of data, allow an organization to become more flexible, and increase revenue.

The NexJ approach to data migration

approaches data migration via a high-level process that begins with data extraction. We start by using each third-party application’s native export function to extract data to a standard format for an export file such as CSV or Microsoft Excel, manually or using an automated script. The data is then loaded into a staging database for analysis.

This is followed by an analysis that allows us to identify the following:

  • Structured data
  • Security requirements for data and data sharing
  • Entries already loaded into the system
  • Unstructured data such as free-form note fields or unknown custom fields
  • Attachments such as spreadsheets
  • Data that needs to be discarded

The next steps are cleansing and mapping, where data elements in the source systems and NexJ’s CRM are mapped, and rules to transform the source data are determined. Some data must be parsed, merged, altered or standardized depending on enterprise requirements, and this is managed by configuring data manipulation scripts in SQL.

Cleansing, loading, and conversion

Data cleansing is easier to accomplish when data already exists in a semi-structured format and is not yet subject to stricter requirements of the enterprise database. NexJ’s Intelligent Customer Management Platform assists in the analysis when data is in the staging system. Pre-existing data analysis components like NexJ Enterprise Master Person Index (EMPI) processing are used to identify and mark duplicate data. This can automate a significant amount of data matching and duplicate checking tasks.

After cleansing, data is appropriately structured and NexJ platform scripts are used to load and/or update data in NexJ CRM. This then leads to conversion, starting with live data transformation and import into the NexJ business model. Branch based nightly batch process migration during off hours allows NexJ to streamline data inserts, followed by custom ETL procedures that convert migration data into the NexJ core data structures.

The importance of best practices

Data migration is a huge driver of success when it comes to deploying any CRM solution, and is what powers our comprehensive customer view, enabling us to empower advisors and customers with the right kind of information.

NexJ’s practices have enabled us to successfully complete extremely large one-time data conversions, including one of the largest in the history of wealth management firms. This happened when we converted 100 million records for Wells Fargo Advisors. The conversion migrated more than 10 years of A.G. Edwards customer and interaction data and included over 12 million contact and household records and related interactions and notes. This data included everything from contacts, companies and addresses, to phone, email, relationship hierarchy, tasks, schedule items, file attachments, accounts, holdings and transactions. We also have experience engaging with clients to take ownership of as much of the conversion process as they are comfortable with.

We adopt best practices in our approaches to data migration because we understand that world-class tools and techniques can fail without the right process of implementation. To find out more about our processes and practices, get in touch with us today.

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Adam Edmonds

Author: Adam Edmonds

Vice President, Products

Adam has spent more than 15 years guiding the development of enterprise customer management solutions for financial services and insurance. In his current role, he is responsible for establishing NexJ’s overall product vision and ensuring the design of easy-to-use enterprise software solutions that solve real market problems.

Adam is excited to share the lessons he has learned and his insights on where the industry is heading with readers of his blog. He encourages readers to join the discussion or reach out to him with their own insights, best practices, and solutions to industry challenges.

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