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GoldMine to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Post II: Project Management of CRM Migrations

Migrating GoldMine to Microsoft Dynamics CRM: The Whole Story.

Migrating GoldMine to Microsoft Dynamics CRM (MS CRM) presents a range of challenges. This second post, in a series of four, focuses on the Project Management of CRM migrations. Drawing on extensive experience in this field, David Evans, CTO InaPlex, presents some key factors to consider when managing a migration project.

Project Management Overview                                  

InaPlex has managed hundreds of migrations, and many of these have involved migrating from GoldMine to MS CRM. Due to differing setups, no two GoldMine migrations are exactly the same, and success is almost always founded on thorough preparation.

More specifically, a migration is not just about moving data, it is also about moving to a new CRM system. Getting data from one point to another is almost incidental; the real challenge is to ensure the source GoldMine data fits the fields and formats of the destination CRM system, be it MS CRM , Saleslogix, SageCRM, or any other. In many respects, CRM migrations are about  a “data makeover” as much as data transfer, and competent, comprehensive project management is imperative for most. The following sections give guidance on preparing for, and managing, successful CRM migrations.

What does the client want out of MS CRM?

A new CRM system is an opportunity for expanded functionality and processes, not simply a duplication of what has been done in the past. First and foremost, the client has to know what the business needs and can get from MS CRM, or any other CRM system, to determine what GoldMine data to transfer and how it needs to be reformatted. It also needs to consider the impact on changes in work flow and any effects they may have on data generation and data utilization. Areas to address include the following:

  • Will work flow change, and if yes, how does it impact data? Will new and/or different data be required? Typical areas to consider include account management, telesales, and web-capture.
  • Clarify record ownership – territories, teams and assigned users. Understand where/how they fit with work flows.
  • Should all the data come across from GoldMine, or should this be an opportunity for a “spring clean” (this is often related to changes in work flow resulting      from features of the new CRM system)? In particular, consider how much history is needed – all, some? Are email attachments required (they can be gigabytes of data)?
  • Are new formatting standards being introduced, and if yes, will transferred data need to be manipulated or reformatted in some way?
  • What reports are currently being generated from the data, are they all necessary, can they be improved, and how are they generated and formatted in the new system?
  • Will new or different users be accessing MS CRM, and if yes, how does this impact data needs?
  • If the old system was not being used well (for instance, few reports were generated, no opportunity management was implemented…) why not? How is the new system going to fix this?
  • Can the business benefit from more information in the CRM environment? Should there be regular data integration with external data sources (HR, ERP, accounts, marketing, lead capture…..)? Can the migration tool also help with integration?

Naturally, any assessment of requirements and associated business rules needs to be somewhat fluid so that refinements can be made as the migration progresses – the objective of a new CRM system is greater, not less, flexibility – however it must be known in broad terms, at least, to start to quantify the scope of the migration.

How “clean” is the GoldMine data being transferred?

Our previous post in this series mentioned the importance of clean data for making a successful transition from a contact-centric to a company-centric system.

The old term, garbage in, garbage out, relates to this point. There is no benefit to fully automating the data migration if the end result is “rubbish” in the new CRM system. A migration is an ideal time to ensure that errors and inconsistencies in the legacy GoldMine system are corrected in the new one. The types of things to look for include:

  • Varying formats for company and contact names and dates
  • Duplicated company names
  • Poor use of spaces, capitals and numbers, especially telephone numbers
  • “unregulated” use of sales opportunities
  • Inconsistent use of terms in option sets (aka pick lists)

Appreciating the quality of the GoldMine data and understanding how it needs to be corrected for MS CRM, or any other CRM system, is one of the most critical steps for a successful GoldMine migration, and a tool that can help manage data quality is imperative.

Data Owners

All data owners with a stake in the migration need to be identified and consulted or the following types of problems can occur:

  • New data can “suddenly appear” in the migration process
  • Access to key data could be limited
  • Business Unit responsibilities won’t be clear, complicating the project management process
  • Data will not be in the format it is needed following migration
  • Business processes may not match data flows
  • Unnecessary back and forth communication may occur, delaying crucial steps
  • Signoff may not be forthcoming, delaying both the migration and payment

It sounds an obvious point, but always check that all responsible parties are in the loop and have bought in to the change. Just as unidentified data can stretch out a project, so can an unexpected data owner. In other words, make sure you know all the players and get their input and commitment as part of the project preparation.

Project Logistics

There are innumerable logistics involved in a migration, however there are some key ones to look out for in a typical project:

  • What are the project management resources and are they realistic for meeting the timeframes? A part-time project manager on the end-user side, or one about to take vacation, on a project with tight timings could be diabolical. Couldn’t happen, you say? You’d be surprised. Never assume; always check.
  • Are timeframes clear and agreed by all key players? What factors could impact the project (e.g. the client introducing a new stream of data to be migrated from another data source) and how are they accommodated by the project specification?
  • Are there adequate test facilities and will your migration team have access to them? If yes, are there time constraints? Does the testing facility need to be booked? If milestones slip, will the test slot be lost?
  • Is there an agreed test procedure? Some clients insistent on going straight to live, however if things go sour the migration team is invariably blamed. Insist on a test phase and parallel run wherever possible. Not only does it help identify any problems that have crept through, it also provides the opportunity to fine tune and refine work flow and data needs.
  • Is there a procedure for a trial run of the migration that does not impact any live data? Will the migration take more than 24 hours due to the number of records involved? Are you using a migration tool that can provide trial runs and give realistic estimates of migration times?
  • Is there a clear cut over procedure? If the cut over goes wrong the project will be deemed a failure no matter how smoothly the rest of the migration has gone. Will you cut over quickly to the new system, or will you attempt to keep both systems running for a period? If the latter, you will need to keep data in sync between the systems, and manage all that is involved in this. Have users been trained on MS CRM and new procedures? Are they ready to step in proficiently as soon as the new system is live?  Wherever possible, err on the side of prudence when devising cut over procedures and make sure that ALL involved parties are agreed on what will happen; the cut over procedure is often a negotiation point driven as much by politics as by necessity, and motivations need to be understood. A clean, well prepared cut over is the final, crucial step in a successful migration.

Conclusion

Clearly there is a lot to consider when migrating from GoldMine to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and much depends on the scale of the project and the integrity of the data being transferred. This post has only touched a fraction of what needs to be looked at, but aims to have highlighted some key elements: Know which data is needed, make sure data is clean and in the required format, identify and get buy-in from all data owners, ensure resources are sufficient to sustain and drive the project, and have solid and agreed testing and cut over procedures.

Inaport, from InaPlex, delivers CRM integration and data migration solutions for leading CRM systems including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage CRM, Infor CRM (previously Saleslogix), Goldmine and ACT. It has a range of connectors and maps for quick results, and its straightforward approach provides a wealth of powerful functions. To learn more please book a free webinar, download a free 30 day evaluation license, or visit the InaPlex website.

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