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Top 5 CRM Data Migration Traps

In my previous post, Evaluating Approaches to Dynamics CRM Data Migration, I covered strategies for planning and scoping Dynamics CRM Data Migration, including an outline of the process and the most effective approaches. However, no migration plan is complete without considering the risks involved in this kind of project.

When considering the risks involved, five CRM data migration traps immediately come to mind (most of which I’ve fallen victim to!).  Failing to properly plan or account for the migration effort associated with these aspects of CRM will result in scope creep and blow your budget when it comes time to migrate data.

Top 5 CRM Data Migration Traps

Trap 1: Activities

CRM activities (Emails, phone calls, appointments, etc.) can be very difficult to migrate due to: high volume, stored across several entities, varying states (eg. Read only).  As such, migrating activities requires that you employ tools like SSIS or Scribe.  These tools may require additional licenses and access to developer resources.

Trap 2: Notes and Attachments

Notes, like Activities, have many dependencies and can be difficult to migrate.  This is especially true when users have been attaching documents to the note records.  While Notes that have attachments can be migrated using the standard import files, it can be difficult to get working.  The Notes import and attachments need to be zipped into an import file, allowing the system to cross reference the two.  This only works when attachment names are unique.

For companies using CRM’s SharePoint integration for document management, migrating documents to the associated SharePoint instance can be challenging, and may require approaches other than those identified above.  Generally, tools like Scribe, SSIS or BizTalk are required for SharePoint document migration.

Trap 3: Dependencies

It is important to understand the dependencies between entities when migrating data into CRM.  Dependencies will determine the order in which objects need to be migrated, so that CRM can correctly associate related records.

There are also dependencies between records.  Choosing to migrate ‘Active’ contacts and accounts may make sense, but can create problems when trying to migrate ‘Active’ contacts that are associated to ‘Inactive’ accounts.

Trap 4: Forgetting System / Foundational Entities

System and Foundational entities (e.g. currencies, units of measure, etc.) are not key business data and are often forgotten when discussing data migration.  However, they often required to successfully migrate other entities (see Dependencies above).  System and Foundational entities are generally straight-forward to migrate, but should not be forgotten when planning or scoping data migration.  Regardless of the entity, you should identify: the approach, effort and responsibilities.

Trap 5: Business Processes Flows

Okay, so this is a new one for CRM 2013, but I can already see it being a migration trap.  Business Process Flows are a great feature in 2013, allowing organizations to model their processes within the application.  However, it adds additional complexity when migrating entities that have Business Process Flows enabled, e.g. Opportunities, Cases.  In order to have a records’ Business Process Flow reflect the current process state, you will need to migrate additional Business Process Flow related entities.

Data migration is a critical component of most enterprise software projects. As such, it is important that it is not treated as an after-thought, and is designed / planned and scoped accordingly.

As mentioned in my previous post, there are many approaches for extracting data from the source system(s), transforming it as needed, and then loading to the target implementation of Dynamics CRM.  It is important that organizations work with their partner to clearly identify who and how the data is being migrated, and who is responsible for verifying the result.  Performing this due diligence will increase the likelihood of a successful project, and enable organizations to realize the benefits of their software investment.

If you need help planning or scoping your CRM data migration, get in touch with us!

Additional Resources: CRM Data Migration

If you are interested in learning more and reading what others have said about data migration for Dynamics CRM, check out the links below:

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