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Moving from a Legacy system to New CRM…The Challenges: Part 2

In my previous article, I gave an example of what had prompted a client to move from two different systems; a pure Sales and Marketing system and a Service and Equipment Tracking system driven by then need for a single centralised CRM.

Now let’s look at the Migration Challenges!

In my view these are three steps you should consider prior to embarking on this type of migration:-

1 . Selection and Review of Core Requirements

Ensure you have gone through a selection process with your team, ideally with a CRM Advisor. Your team need to be confident that the chosen CRM solution is a good fit to your business and culture. Make sure the Project Team were actively involved in any CRM Discovery meetings.

2. CRM Scoping Workshops

For more complex CRM projects, we recommend a Scoping Workshop with your CRM Advisor to identify the fine detail down to a ‘screen by screen’ and ‘field by field’ basis. This is good practice even if it is a straight migration; you will learn what is needed and what is not Now!

This can be a great time to find out about any other databases that have evolved or been created to solve a problem. Another recent example was where high value “Samples” were sent to customers. The tracking of these inside of CRM was a simple addition and greatly extended its usefulness, now these are linked to the customer contact (and Rep) in CRM so are now easily logged and tracked. This meant quick and easy reporting and visibility and this simple addition saved everyone hours!

Once your CRM Scope is documented and mapped out, what next? …’s time for the two toughest words in CRM and the area where we and you, the client can potentially burn our fingers!

3. Data Migration

Data Migration may just involve some simple migration, but a lot first needs to be considered here!

In fact, according to recent 2013 Forester Research article, this was one of the main issues in any CRM implementation 

So in my view, as a quick guide, you need to answer these questions:-

• What data must to come across? (Do you need full sets of data or subsets of data, are there easy to agree cut-off data types – (e.g. Leads, Customers)

• How far back shall we go? (Cut-off may be this year or last year)

• Who is going to cleanse and data check prior to import? -clean data helps user adoption

• Will the ‘off-the-shelf’ CRM functionality be able to import this data or are third party tools needed such as Inaport ?

• What else? Do we need to link other documents or files types?

• Consider what is unique about your data? If you are merging multiple databases, as in the example above Which one will be the ‘parent’ or is more accurate?

• Final Big Question? Do your emails, histories, activities all need to come across per user? Think carefully here! Big implications often in the time and effort involved!

This need not be a tough decision, for many, your existing system or a back-up of it can stay in place and be used as a stand-by in read-only mode. For Cloud CRM migrations, you may look to archive or reduce to a single user for your transition period.

Before Go Live, consider a TEST Import with your Project Team


For your users, data quality, accuracy and its presentation can tremendously help or hinder their levels of adoption and enthusiasm. It can either inspire or reduce their confidence in their new CRM.

“My rule of thumb” is the more you can do and the less they have to do themselves, the better.

Think carefully about this and work out your own cost-benefit analysis. This is especially important if your users are luke-warm or reluctant to do much work themselves! Don’t give them the excuse of poor data being an excuse used not to use CRM!

Now, you have answered your Data Migration questions, next you will need to consider your CRM “On-Boarding” process. The next big Challenge is to ensure your Users have the right Training and Skills Competency.

Some proven ideas on How should you plan to do this is covered in Part 3.

By Gary Perkins

8th March 2014