Migrating Legacy Data to a New CRM


Every organization migrating to a new CRM needs to make decisions around data migration. The central question is, how much legacy data should get moved to the new system? Easy peasy, right? Not exactly. Discussions of data migration can get difficult and even emotionally charged. Users can be possessive or territorial about their data. But migrating everything is not always a good idea. Oh yeah, and there are migration costs to consider.

Let’s get real

A rational approach is being realistic about the quality and relevance of data in the legacy system. Records that have been properly maintained and are critical to CRM objectives should move over. That’s a no-brainer. Records containing suspect data that weren’t updated or managed properly don’t belong in a new CRM system. Unwrapping a fresh new CRM only to discover the same old crap data is a great way to kill user adoption. If you’re worried about losing something, keep the old data in an archival state on the outside chance someone needs it.

Ready to exercise?

How can an organization make rational decisions about what data to migrate? A simple exercise is assigning values to the various CRM record types based on quality and relevance. Grab a pen and paper or have some fun with Excel. Create a table with three columns. Put all the different CRM entities in the first column. Then create columns for quality and relevance. Rate each record type 1-10 based on how critical they are to your CRM goals and how trustworthy they are. Here’s an example:

crm data migration

Draw a quadrant matrix on paper or perform a little Excel magic. You get a matrix that informs the discussion of what is worth migrating to the new system.

CRM data migration

The records in the upper right quadrant are our no-brainers–clean and relevant. The records in the lower left quadrant aren’t worth much. As to the other two quadrants–well, those are judgment calls.

Like going down the rabbit hole?

If you want to get extremely granular, you could run this type of analysis on a field-by-field basis on a single record. For instance, Lead records may be a must and pretty clean. Just fields for Lead Source and Personal Email are inconsistent and you have to make a decision about those. You can use this same approach.

This matrix is just one approach to making the tough decisions around data migration. For more ideas, give us a call or click the button below, and one of our consultants will help.

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By Mark Abes, Vice President, Dyn365Pros, Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Southern California.