Author: Jason Mayhall, JMayhall@profitstars.com
Wouldn’t it be frustrating if you went on vacation and had to take two weeks off just to arrive at your destination? Or if you had to wait two months to get the latest news from your favorite sports team? What about the childhood frustration of missing the airing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, knowing that you had to wait until next Christmas to watch it? Luckily, we no longer have to experience these frustrations thanks to inventions like cars, the internet, and DVRs, which allow us to get our information and arrive at our destination much faster. The data conversion world has seen similar improvements, and the following tips can help you breeze through your conversion.
Starting discussions with your provider early allows for more preparation in advance, ensuring that everything is set up and ready to go for your conversion. For example, you could send a portion of the data earlier for a head start on the conversion. If you can get your new system set up and running early, you can begin loading the data before the cutoff of the old legacy system.
In previous conversions, you had to wait for all of the data to become static before beginning the conversion. Using bulk (98% of your data) and gap (data from the end of the bulk to your cutoff date) converts your documents in segments. The vendor could have 98% of your data converted and loaded into your new system before the cutoff. Providing your data to the vendor early in the process allows your staff to become familiar with the data in the new system before taking it live. Your staff can use this data for training on your new system without the need for dummy data, which allows them to stay focused on the implementation of the new system.
Mapping is a process in which the old data structure and index types are mapped to the new structure and index types in the new system. Have a technical person on hand who knows both the source system layout and the new system layout. Ask your vendor about professional services to assist with the mapping process. Finally, ask your vendor about an early mapping option so that data can be mapped as it is being converted instead of after the conversion. This request alone could save hours of your time.
Conversions don’t have to be a long, drawn out process if the proper planning is in place. One option is to ask your vendor about a viewer that catalogs only the metadata. These viewers house all data types and legacy systems in the same viewer. This option saves you money by allowing you to cancel multiple maintenance contracts from existing legacy systems, possibly retiring them. The cataloging process of the metadata means a matter of days, not weeks, before the data is in your hands. However, there are drawbacks to this option. If the data needs to be accessed by your core system or another ancillary product so that your employees or customers can access the data, then this option will not work for you. A full conversion would be the best option. Consider your options and then pick the plan that works best for you.
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