Ask a medium-to-large company what their biggest challenge is when handling big data. They'll likely point to data migration. (Or governance—but that's another article.) Companies sometimes need to move their data from an old system or make all their data sources work together. This is the data migration process, taking data from one or more sources, transforming it into a new format, and loading it into the target system. Automated data migration may make some balk at first, but we have a few suggestions on how to do that responsibly and cost-effectively.
When there are many data sets to move, data migration becomes even more complex. It can quickly become an inefficient process with the potential to harm your records or distort your systems.
Because of this, more and more companies are using automated data migration to speed up their processes and make sure their data is correct and consistent.
Let's zoom in a little.
What is data migration?
As we said, data migration is moving data from one source to another. The data is manually or automatically packaged and reloaded into a new system, format, or database.
The process can be as simple as transferring a few records from one database to another or as complex as transferring gigabytes of data across multiple platforms and systems.
To give you a visual, data migration might look like this:
- Taking unstructured data from a data lake and transforming it into a structured cloud-based warehouse.
- Moving customer records from a legacy system to an up-to-date CRM.
- Transferring financial data from one ERP system to another.
In simpler terms, data migration is like moving house – but with your company's information and files instead of furniture and appliances.
Who uses data migration?
"Data migration" is usually written about and associated with larger corporations like Oracle or Deloitte. The reality is that businesses of all sizes migrate data (even on a smaller scale).
Your team uses data migration when:
- A company merges with another. The acquisition process may introduce new systems for client management, human resources, and finance.
- A company upgrades its existing storage solution from internal servers to the cloud.
- An old project management tool no longer meets the team's needs and must be replaced, so you should migrate all project data to the new platform.
We'd all be better off setting up quality systems from the start. Still, you can't know what will happen, so migrations of some kind are usually unavoidable.
Why should we automate these tasks?
Now we're getting down to the crux of it: automated data migration. What is it, and why do we need it?
At first, when companies started migrating chunks of data, it was a manual process. A team member would transfer data bits and pieces in manageable chunks. This process was (and still is) time-consuming, error-prone, and often unreliable.
Automated data migration eliminates the manual element of this task. It uses tools and scripts that your team can program to move a lot of data quickly and correctly while reducing the number of mistakes that could happen.
When there was a chance that data would be lost, broken, or left incomplete, automated data migration ensured that your data made it across the Pacific Ocean safely and soundly.
The cautions of data migration
Don't be mistaken; automated data migration is not a miracle cure. (It comes close, though.)
Automation used anywhere in the data management pipeline has the potential to create conflicts. When you have to deal with many different data sources and systems, it can take effort to ensure that your data is always the same.
And of course, security breaches are always a concern when processes are taking place on a large scale without human intervention.
For automated data migration, it is always best to work with a consultant or a specialist in data migration. They can help you determine the best approach for your business and give you tips on keeping your information safe during the process.
Is it time to level up your data migration process? Automated data migration can make the task easier, faster, and more reliable, but you'll want to ensure it's done right.
Whether you're merging with another company, moving customer records, or switching to a new ERP system, automated data migration is something to consider. Work with the right consultants and specialists before diving into this complex process.
At Wrk, we've got all your smaller-scale data migration tasks covered. Look at our automated IT Wrkflows to see how we can help.