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Hotline data migration experience?

  • 1.  Hotline data migration experience?

    Posted Jan 31, 2018 12:36
    My organization runs a legal information hotline, and we are getting ready to move from a custom FileMaker based database to using iCarol, which is a helpline specific system. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with migrating historical data into iCarol (bonus if from FileMaker) and would be willing to share any insights? Thanks.

    Amanda Johnston
    Director of Public Affairs & Education
    Boston, MA
    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 2.  RE: Hotline data migration experience?

    Posted Feb 06, 2018 13:04
    Amanda - Sorry to say I have no experience with iCarol, and only some-what related recent experience with Filemaker on a data integration project. That being said, however, I can state that data migrations are, to a point, application agnostic and successful data migrations follow well established best practices. Here are a few tips, based on my experience, that I hope can help:

    It starts with data cleansing - Data migration projects are the perfect opportunity to purge low-value data from your Filemaker records - look for duplicates, out-dated or irrelevant data, incomplete records. If you can't use it or don't have a specific plan to use it, don't include it in the migration. Data cleansing may require up to half of the overall project effort.

    Extract, Transform, and Load - This is the process that will move your data into iCarol. The transformation phase maps fields from Filemaker tables into fields in iCarol tables, it may also convert the data into iCarol formats as part of the process. This is where good judgement on the value of the source data is required. The cost of converting, for example, a notes field into discrete target fields may increase the development costs of the migration. Understanding the business value of that work is key.

    Testing happens throughout the migration - Include testing with each data set migrating, rather than waiting until the migration is finished to test. In some cases, this can be as simple as knowing the total record count in a source table, and then verifying that the same record count is created in the target table.

    Happy to discuss further, best of luck with your project!

    Matt Veltkamp
    Nimbus Nonprofit Solutions
    Washington, DC

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 3.  RE: Hotline data migration experience?

    Posted Feb 07, 2018 10:45
    Great advice from Matt above. My team specializes in migrations moving data away from Blackbaud and into other CRMs. It's more complicated than most, but I second the process he mentions:
    1) Review and Filter - get rid of old, bad, inactive or other data records. We used to pay for software by "the seat" but now we all pay for "per record" when it's in the cloud.  Make sure you are paying for valid records.

    2) Quality Testing throughout-  Can not reinforce that enough.  Do it slowly and do it right the first time or pay the price when you are trying to find the culprit of the bad data in the entire thing afterward.

    Remember, rarely will you ever see a spotless data migration. Even after you have prepped and tested, there are some items that may just be easier to resolve once you are in the new system. Just be sure to keep a running track of what has been tested and any outliers.

    Good Luck.

    Nonprofit Garden

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline