Why Data Migration Is Important

Recently I graduated from college, and I have just become a Data Migration Consultant (DMC) at Utopia after the progressive training known as Utopia University (UU3). It was a 12 week journey with ups and downs and included 2 weeks of Boot Camp. I believe my experiences best explain how important it is to manage data. 

My professor (Brett) in UU3 had two rules:
  1. Know thy data
  2. All the data is bad

In Boot Camp we were given a clear picture of what master data management (MDM) is. For example, if you consider the ERP system, we should have some basic knowledge of the CUSTOMER, MATERIAL, and VENDOR master data. MDM enables companies to store, augment, and consolidate master data. When you think about data, one of the first things that comes to mind is "What is the source type? “ There are different kinds of data: Master Data and Transactional Data (the details tell us the facts and dimensions). We should know the behavior of the any type of data, for example: what is the hierarchy? Or which one comes first and so on. MDM comprises a set of tools and processes to handle the master data of at particular organization.

MDM solutions include people, process and technology for source identification, data collection, data transformation, normalization, rule administration, error detection and correction, data consolidation, data storage, data distribution, data classification, taxonomy services, item master creation, schema mapping, product codification, data enrichment and data governance.

In UU3 we encountered some data horror stories.. A credit-card customer moved from 2847 North 9th St. to 1001 11th St. North. The customer changed his billing address immediately, but did not receive a bill for several months. One day, the customer received a threatening phone call from the credit-card billing department, asking why his bill had not been paid. The customer verified that they had his new address, and the billing department verified that the address on file was 1001 11th St. North. The customer asked for another copy of the bill to settle the account. After two more weeks without a bill, the customer called back and found out the account had been turned over to a collection agency. This time, it was discovered that although the address on file was 1001 11th St. N, the billing address was 101 11th St. North. After a multitude of phone calls and letters between lawyers the bill was resolved and the credit-card company had lost a customer for life. In this case, the master copy of the data was accurate, but another copy of it was flawed. Master data must be both correct and consistent.

Though the master data hopefully has no errors, few organizations have just one set of master data. Many companies grow through mergers and acquisitions. Merging master lists together can be very difficult. The same customer may have different names, customer numbers, addresses, and phone numbers in different databases. For example, William Smith might appear as Bill Smith, Wm. Smith, or William Smithe in separate systems. Normal database joins and searches cannot resolve these differences, however, a very sophisticated tool like SAP Information Steward that understands nicknames, alternate spellings, and typing errors would be able to find and fix these inconsistencies.

The big key here is data migration; getting master data from several disparate systems into what is affectionately called a “single version of the truth”. So all of the customer master data is sourced, profiled, cleansed, transformed, merged, deduplicated and loaded into an MDM system – whereupon the marketing and sales business process execution can be run and the kinds of problems just described will hopefully never happen again.

Here are some of the Advantages of MDM with proper Data Migration:

  • Helps prevent data loss
  • Makes your company more flexible
  • Helps you work smarter, not harder
  • Helps prevent fraud
  • Helps increase revenues
  • Helps in hierarchy management
  • Includes versioning and auditing

From a consultant's view, MDM can help avert fraud, it can also help prevent errors and frustration, thereby helping make your company smarter and more efficient... and that keeps us safe as consumers… and that’s why data migration is so important.

Visit our data migration page for more information on how Utopia helps companies manage their data migration program.