A funny thing happened in response to a blog I wrote regarding data migration. My point had been to explain that migration in that context really means reimplementation, all the work surrounding reimplementation and the loss of historical data, much of which is not brought forward. To my surprise, I began to receive emails from persons who had searched the web for the word “migration” and contacted me for assistance in relocating from a foreign nation to the United States as refugees.
At first, I thought that was a quixotic thing to do, or, perhaps, an indication that the people seeking my assistance had limited knowledge of the English language, but knew the meaning of the word “migration”. As I thought about it more, I realized that human migration of the type these respondents were seeking has much in common with the kind of data migration I had been describing. Just as someone migrating to a new country needs to start over with new relationships, new housing, and in general, a new way of life, data being migrated to a new system is in new structures, different formats, and part of different business processes. The history, in both types of migration, is left behind.
It is easier for the refugee if the migration is not required. Likewise, from a data perspective, it is easier if changes can be made within the original ERP system. However, if migration is required, there are common elements that will make the transition easier for both the immigrant, and for the data migration effort. The first of these elements is to make the new home resemble what the refugee is used to, or to transform the data into structures and formats that are familiar. The process begins even in the old environment. The immigrant begins to learn English, may look up holidays or customs before coming to the US, and may seek communities of similar people. Bringing the whole family reduces stress and anxiety of the move. From a data perspective, transformations completed before the migration will reduce the complexity of the migration effort. Bringing over or changing all of the history will facilitate reports and data analytics. Both types of migration require planning and effort to make it successful.