Proceed with Caution: 5 Considerations when Planning a Salesforce Data Migration

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Planning a Salesforce data migration? Perhaps one Salesforce is merging into another instance or line of business is divesting into a unique instance. Regardless of the scenario, any data migration is difficult, and Salesforce migrations add an additional layer of complexity to the ETL process. Read on for 5 key considerations prior to starting a Salesforce data migration by Capstorm, Salesforce backup, recovery, and migration experts since 2011.

Planning a Salesforce data migration? Perhaps one Salesforce is merging into another instance or line of business is divesting into a unique instance. Regardless of the scenario, any data migration is difficult, and Salesforce migrations add an additional layer of complexity to the ETL process. Read on for 5 key considerations prior to starting a Salesforce data migration.

1) Establish a clear process model - a SalesforceⓇ data migration is an ETL problem.
ETL stands for “Extract Transform Load,” and is a three step process required for any data migration. The only thing unique about a Salesforce data migration is that it involves Salesforce. E: Extract data from a data source. The data source could be Salesforce, another CRM, a handful of spreadsheets, or something else. T: Transform the data extract into a new format. L: Load data into the target Salesforce org.

2) Plan a staging area outside of Salesforce
It can be tempting to do all data transformation within Salesforce, however, this puts the “Load” stage ahead of the “Transform” process and can result in headaches for all but the smallest data sets. The best approach is to transform data in a relational database, using any number of ETL tools designed specifically for database projects. Remember- The only special thing about a Salesforce data migration is Salesforce. Data migrations are a common, though tricky, database process.

3) Plan for a moving target as Salesforce may change during the migration
Do salespeople stop entering data into Salesforce for a month during a data migration? Unlikely. Is a Salesforce admin going to say no to a request from the CEO for a custom report in the old Salesforce the week before the Salesforce is merged into another Salesforce organization? No. It is foolish to expect a Salesforce data extract to be static, particularly for large scale data migrations. In the same way, only a completely new Salesforce instance will remain unchanged while new data is loaded.

4) Test the load process daily
Go-live day (or night) should be a non-event if the load process is tested during the migration process with Salesforce sandboxes. If relationships are maintained via CSV’s, this may be the most difficult step. This is where a Salesforce data migration differs from a standard database ETL project. Relationships between records must be maintained during the entire ETL process, or the load can take weeks or months. A daily test load is crucial to ensure that the final go-live is successful. How? See step 5.

5) Find help in advance!
A good consultant with expert knowledge of Salesforce migration tools is invaluable for a successful migration. Ensure that this migration project is not ‘unique’ to the consultancy, as an experienced group will have performed similar projects many times. As for tools, Capstorm’s backup and restore software enables both incremental data extraction from Salesforce, and load of records along with the corresponding relationships.

Reference Capstorm’s Salesforce Migration Playbook for a step-by-step guide to Salesforce Data Migration:
https://www.capstorm.com/wp-content/uploads/The%20Salesforce%20Migration%20Playbook.pdf

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Rebecca
Capstorm
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