There is a single question, that has left a lot of people pondering for many years: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? There’s a very similar question that the CRM administrator is all too familiar with when thinking about data migration.
Which comes first, the data or the business process?
While some may think you need data in order to determine what business processes will be applied, the reality is the desired end results should become the starting point. Think about it this way: if you don’t know what your destination is, how can you determine the best route to get you there?
Data Migration Should Be Easy Right?
Starting with the end in mind, you look at who will be using the data, and what they hope to get from it. That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Marketing has a list of people who attended a conference from all the badge scans done at an exhibit booth. Sales needs to contact all those that are prospects to determine who’s at what stage in the purchase cycle, while Customer Success wants to follow up with the existing customers who attended to investigate possible up-sell opportunities. And finally, the finance needs to determine the ROI for the event, based on booth visits, qualified leads, etc.
You can start to see how many different pieces to the puzzle there are, all centered around the data. And yet, it’s still not time to focus on the data itself. The data is almost secondary to everything else. It boils down to three major steps:
- Identify the Key Players
- Understand the Process
- Develop (and test) the Solution
It’s not so simple anymore, right? Let’s take a deeper look at these three steps.
Identify the Key Players
Starting at the top, make sure you have an Executive Champion or Sponsor. This will be the person who helps drive value to the stakeholders. There should be a Process Owner, or Project Manager who keeps everyone working on the project on track. There also needs to be an Analyst who determines the business process requirements, and communicates those to the Administrator and/or Developer, as appropriate. Finally, the input source and End User needs to be identified so they can help with testing and quality assurance.
Understand the Process
This is primarily a function of the analyst working with the others on the team to determine what happens to the data today, who uses it and for what purposes. One more part of the process that needs to be fully understood is what the current outputs and even more important, what decisions are impacted by the output. And finally, what will need to change as new data input sources are identified.
Develop the Solution
Finally, once you have the key players, and a clear understanding of the business processes, including what the desired output is, it’s time to build the solution. This is when the Administrator and Developer would work together with the Analyst to build out functionality based upon the detailed requirements specifications. It’s critical to involve the End Users to test the solution. This helps ensure everything works as intended, and those that need the final results can get what they need. As an added bonus, whenever you involve end users in the process, you get more buy-in and better adoption.
Now it’s simple, right?