9-Step Guide for Successful CRM Data Migration

9-Step Guide for Successful CRM Data Migration

In this era where there is a constant need to oversee customer relationships in business, CRM is a dedicated tool that works on improving the overall customer relationships. On the one hand, it helps gather data from a plethora of communication channels for real-time analysis, on the other, it helps in mining user preferences and gives a fair idea on how to meet the ever-changing customer expectations.

It is a system that every existing business should consider for assured success. Even research highlights the fact that the return on investment for CRM is $8.71 for every dollar spent.

The high returns on CRM investment are a result of improved customer experiences and a successful attempt to cater to the varying needs of customers.

However, the real challenge comes into light when you plan to move to Dynamics 365 from a legacy CRM solution, or from an on-premise Dynamics version to an online version, one of the primary tasks of the project is to maintain the data integrity through successful data migration.

However, the seriousness of data migration activity is mostly overlooked, the consequences of which are felt during the later phases of the project, when it is too late.

Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to Data Migration.

How Painless is CRM Data Migration?

CRM data migration is not as simple as it appears to be. Have you ever played ‘the spoon and the lemon race? It looks like a cakewalk but the misconception fades away the moment you step into the game. The analogy holds perfectly true for CRM data migration as it’s definitely not as plain sailing as it appears to be from a distance.

Anyway, the task in ‘the spoon and the lemon race’ is to successfully carry a lemon placed on the spoon to the final checkpoint, without letting it fall off at any point. The same parallel applies to CRM data migration. You need to shift each and every element of data to the new system while ensuring that the integrity of the data is not lost in transit.

So, what are the attributes that would actually help in executing a CRM data migration effortlessly? In one word: the answer to the aforesaid question is Strategy! You would have to move through the migration process in a step-by-step manner, without compromising on the data quality.

Strategizing around this would make your task of CRM data migration painless in real terms. While a professional CRM expert can provide efficient CRM data migration services it will still ease things a lot when you know what is involved.

Here is a nice, easy-to-follow checklist for a successful CRM data migration.

1. Identify the Available Resources

First of all, it is essential to consider CRM data migration as an exclusive project. It will help your team members understand the back & forth of the task at hand so that they can coordinate in sync with the CRM experts.

You need to start with underlining the kind of data you need to move. An example of this could be:

Identify the Available Resources in CRM data migration

Once you are done with defining the data elements, it becomes essential to know that the data structures need to be taken care of as well.

In simple terms, a data structure refers to the method you adapt to store, organize, monitor, and alter the data elements.

If your organization manages to migrate the data structure to fit in the new CRM system, you can already vouch upon a successful CRM data migration!

Another important aspect is to do a 360-degree assessment where you need to look at all the 3rd party integrations that are the inputs or outputs of a source CRM tool, and the level of customizations done in the source CRM tool, that would affect the data integrity when moved to a new CRM system.

2. Keep a Track of the Attachments

Every business-oriented data is a hub of attachments that comprise of other subsets of data. When planning for CRM data migration, you need to be very clear about effectively migrating the attachments too.

It is an added responsibility of your team to collect all the attachments under one roof and determine the entire file size. Next, you need to analyze the following:

 Keep a Track of the Attachments in CRM data migration

Answering the above questions will assist you in successful tracking of the data attachments and help you move a step forward in your end goal of a complete CRM migration.

3. Conducting a Data Quality Assessment

Let’s take an example yet again to illustrate this CRM data migration checklist item. When you move to a new house, you shift the belongings that matter the most and dispose of anything that is no more needed. On the other hand, you buy new stuff for your new house to beautify it.

That is the same thing you need to do here! Analyze the old data, keep the data that matters the most and do away with useless/duplicate data entries. This is called conducting a Data Quality Assessment.

Here are some Do’s you need to take care of while doing this assessment:

Conducting a Data Quality Assessment

4. Do Not Forget to Map the Data

Data mapping is the most essential steps of all! Knowing where your data should reside after implementing the data migration approach is something you need to have a clear idea about.

data mapping in CRM data migration

Let’s take the example of a customer named Peter. You discovered Peter through your social media marketing campaign. At first, you must have put him into the “targeted customers” group.

But, the moment Peter made the purchase post an exciting customer experience, his data entry shifted over to the “loyal customers” group. So, now when you migrate to the new CRM framework, you need to map them in a way that Peter enters the new & updated group, instead of reflecting on the older data entry group.

Similarly, there could be a scenario where Peter has an active support window running. Make sure your new CRM system reflects the active support window group with Peter’s entry in it.

In simple words, you need to migrate data precisely and consistently to the respective related groups. It will further help in ensuring that data migrates consistently from group A of the old CRM to group A of the new CRM system.

Here’s what to consider while creating a data map.

  • Determining the data groups that need to be moved over
  • Analyzing the respective data entries that fall under the respective groups
  • Cross-checking the format of the data after it has been moved
  • How are you going to process data transfer: Manual or automatic?
  • The frequencies of the data transfer for a successful migration
  • What are the customizations done in the source CRM tool which can affect the data migration?

5. Zeroing On the Migration Tool

Here comes the prime task! Once you are done with all the above-mentioned prerequisites, you need to finalize the “anchor” tool that lets you move the data from one platform to another.

The best part of this CRM data migration tool is that it will assist in automating the migration process that too with complete perfection. Additionally, it would be really helpful if you have a CRM data migration service provider on your side. Because even a single loophole can get you back to square one.

Also, CRM data migration designers would have a role in estimating the relocation and helping you draft out a plan for mistake identification and recovery.

All in all, everything would add up to making up for a perfect CRM migration.

Tools specific to Dynamic 365 Data Migration:

  • Import Wizard
  • Scribe
  • SSIS
  • Dynamics to CRM Chapter

Zeroing On the Migration Tool

6. Create a Backup of Source Data

It is rightly said, “Prevention is better than cure.” That is why it is always a good idea to create a backup strategy to counteract data loss risks. If you are under a misconception that you have a full-proof plan and you can afford to do away with the backup plan, do not fall into the trap.

Create a Backup of Source Data during CRM data migration

Moreover, your CRM migration provider would also suggest and follow up on a backup plan way too seriously. And, in case they don’t; it is your responsibility to get an update on their data backup strategy.

Here are the major data fields and groups that need to be backed up:

  • Customer databases
  • User documents & files
  • Document templates
  • Generated reports
  • Generated exports

7. Run a Migration Test

Conducting a trial is always a welcome move when verifying the authenticity of the CRM migration tool. In short, it is always a good practice to conduct data migration testing.

You may never know how the data will end up in the new system. So, never ever consider the transfer in one go.

Instead, transfer a portion of data first and see how it turns out. If there are any errors, it is good to know early when you can fix things before the entire migration process is implemented.

Note: You should choose a testing sample that covers almost every group of data along with different locations they will end up in. It will help measure CRM data migration testing success on the whole.

When running a migration test, keep the following things in mind:

Run a CRM data Migration Test

8. Migrate the CRM Data

Once everything falls into place, it is time for actual execution. It is undoubtedly the time to reap the fruit of all the efforts you have put for CRM data migration. It is the easiest step of all just like a “single-click” command, which is all that is needed for executing the migration.

Here are the steps for a successful migration:

Migrate the CRM Data

A simple fact: If you have thoroughly implemented the earlier checklist prerequisites, there would be zero to negligible errors. Speedy implementation is another benefit that you would fall in love with.

9. Validate & Clean up the Migrated Data

Now that the data has moved to the new CRM system before you jump into using it full time, you must validate that the data was moved over correctly and clean things up.

You can manually check some random records, especially the ones that are important for your business. Make sure the right data shows up in those records. Check any associated data like attachments are working too.

Depending on the criticality of the data, you can also opt for a custom script that validates data in the new CRM system with the data in your previous CRM. This can take time and can be costly for large datasets but will ensure peace of mind.

Finally, review data to see if there are any duplicates, whether anything needs to be merged, and if there is still some data that you can do without.


Data is the biggest asset of any business. Hence, it is your sole responsibility to handle it with the utmost perfection. It is all about how you plan and execute the CRM data migration. With an easy-to-follow guide, you can be assured of the success of this exercise, knowing your data is safe and your business can take advantage of the new CRM system for improved customer relationships & better revenues without losing a step.

Contact Net Solutions for CRM implementation

Paritosh Agarwal

About the Author

Paritosh is working as a product manager at Net Solutions. With over 10 years of experience, he has great passion for building and scaling lovable products. As a product evangelist, he also works on building and nurturing product community. He has a background in data analytics and loves to play around with data. On the personal front, he loves to work for the social causes, enlightening children on the importance of Life Value Education.

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