You can drive any car but wouldn’t it be nice to drive a Ferrari? In information systems, data migration makes it possible to transform any car into a Ferrari.
The exterior of a car can be changed and it can look like a Ferrari but from the inside, it would be the same old car. It would be much nicer to drive if the car would be the Ferrari also from the inside but that would require every car part to be transformed to the Ferrari form. In the end, even a Lada can be transformed to a Ferrari - both from the outside and inside. After the transformation, you can fine-tune your driving skills and improve the performance of the Ferrari.
Transforming a car from Lada to Ferrari describes the data migration dilemma extremely well. We want to take the Ferrari into use straight away but sometimes not enough attention is paid to what is under the hood when the car just looks great. In other words, we want to take the new information system into use but we do not give much attention to the data transfer from the old system into the new one. The data transfer to the new information system is at least as important as the new information system itself. During the data migration, the car needs to be taken down into pieces, the pieces need to be transformed and then, the entire car needs to be built up again.
Thinking about the car transformation, we can visualize also the challenges that will be faced during a data migration. Visualize a situation where one car part needs to be broken up into multiple parts, or when multiple parts are merged into one, or what to do when the new car needs a part that does not exist in the old car at all. These kinds of challenges are faced in data migrations daily. Different information systems have different data models and physical data structures: sometimes one object needs to be divided into multiple objects, sometimes multiple objects need to be merged into one and sometimes new objects need to be generated.
A good quality data migration requires time and careful data handling. During the data migration, the existing data will be thoroughly gone through at the attribute level. Decision needs to be made on what data is going to be transferred and also what data is not transferred. The existing data will also be transformed into a form that better suits the new information system. The transferred data will be validated and tested before the new information system is taken into use. After the new information system is in use, the data can be improved and processes can be fine-tuned to suit the new information system.
During a purchase process, the data migration is often considered necessary in order to take the new information system into use. However, not that much attention is given to the data migration even though it is the key for successful implementation of the new information system.
So, how fast does your new Ferrari go when you drive it out the store?
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