Surge in data migration continues

By Suzanne Franco, Surveys Editorial Project Manager at ITWeb.
Johannesburg, 21 Jul 2016
Disastrous downtime can be avoided by meticulous planning and being able to migrate data in very tight timeframes, says JMR Software.
Disastrous downtime can be avoided by meticulous planning and being able to migrate data in very tight timeframes, says JMR Software.

A recent survey revealed the majority of respondents (64%) indicated their organisation undertakes up to three data migration projects per year, and it's believed that this statistic is set to rise.

"A company that is in acquisition mode is more likely to do more data migrations as it consolidates data sources and platforms. Digital transformation is certainly having a massive impact on the data migration market. As companies seek to harness the many benefits and productivity gains of more mobile and digitally driven systems, there is a greater need to migrate onto new technology," says Mike Richards, CEO, JMR Software, commenting on the results of the ITWeb/ JMR Data Migration Approach survey, which ran online during May and June this year.

The survey was undertaken to clarify some of the challenges facing companies today when migrating data as an increase in data migration projects is expected to continue in 2016.

Richards believes that a reason for this increase is that technology and platforms become outdated, unsupported and costly, which again drives companies to migrate.

It's not surprising that an overwhelming majority (76%) of respondents are planning a data migration project within the next 12-24 months.

Richards comments on this finding, "Preparation, preparation, preparation. Planning is everything and involving business early, as well as engaging with experts in order to establish a clear data migration strategy will ensure an effective plan and a successful migration."

The results of the survey were pretty much evenly split when respondents were asked what they consider to be the greatest business risk when migrating data, first was unhappy customers at 34%, loss of productivity came in second (29%) and breach of legal requirements third at 22%.

"One of the greatest fears is loss or poor quality data being migrated, which will result in a failed project and unhappy customers," Richards explains. "This can, and should, be avoided by a robust plan. Our data migration application and approach mitigates the risk of poor data transfer or data loss. Every stage of the journey we reconcile every piece of data, providing IT and business with full data visibility, which is supported by rigorous testing cycles. "

Richards stresses that an organisation's data migration approach must ensure that as they arrive at the final stage of data migration, the data load should be straightforward to have complete confidence in a successful outcome.

"In fact, with our approach, this final step is a mere formality where the results are fully known as it would have been proven during our testing cycles," he says.

key data cannot afford to be lost

Just under half of the respondents (47%) cited losing key data to be their main concern when asked what they consider to be the greatest IT risk when migrating data.

"The impact of data loss can mean the end of some companies, as your data is one of your most precious assets. This is a concern as the potential for reputational damage is huge and often difficult to recover from, but poor or lost data also has an operational impact with lost productivity that impacts the bottom line. Our data mapping effectively identifies all key data objects to drive the new target business processes. In addition, our automated reconciliation approach verifies data integrity throughout the migration cycles," Richards advises.

It also emerged that 49% of respondents said they prefer parallel running with no downtime as their preferred methodology for data migration, 25% chose a phased approach by line of business.

According to Richards disastrous downtime can be avoided by meticulous planning.

"As well as total assurance in the end result and being able to migrate data in very tight timeframes, often over a weekend. This is why the JMR Software data migration approach and methodology has been so successful. In fact, we are so precise in our calculations that once a client has chosen their migration slot we can estimate with precision how long the data is going to take to load," he further advises.

When asked which factors contribute the most to the success of data migration, 64% chose technical expertise, while 61% chose migration method and technology.

"Data migrations are typically a once-off exercise and we would recommend that a company's IT resources are better dedicated to focus on rolling out the new technology or maintaining business as usual, and leave specialist requirements such as a data migration to the experts. It is like anything, the more you do it the better you get at it and we have carried out numerous, complex, business critical data migrations over many years."

Richards elaborates on this point: "It is the combination of people, technology and the right approach that will ensure success with data migration projects."

Just under half of the respondents (49%) said their biggest data migration gap is difficulty identifying right data migration tools, absence of support came in second at 45% and lack of technical skills third at 39%.

According to Richards, most data migration tools are pretty much the same, but having a tool and being skilled at using it are two very different things.

"Yet, there is often a steep learning curve involved in taking on a new tool set. This requires training and support, but not something you want to leave to chance when your business relies on guaranteed success. So many companies have taken the 'do it yourself' route, but have hit many issues that have led to failed or delayed deployment of new technology that has had a far-reaching impact on their business," he adds.

Richards closes comment on this point by stating: "The tool is only one small part of the overall project and adopting the right strategy, having the right skills and a guaranteed disciplined methodology are even more important."