Why use Low-Code for Data Migration
The path to a successful data migration may not be smooth but it can be made much easier by adopting a Low-Code platform.
On the face of it, data migrations are easy, right? I mean, you are simply just taking data from one system and putting it into another system. If only it were that simple. Rarely is a system or data migration as simple as that, even when upgrading to new versions of your existing enterprise systems can cause many a headache. In fact, according to research carried out by industry leading business analysts, Gartner, they discovered that as many as 83% of data migration projects exceed their deadline and/or budget, or in some cases fail completely.
Let’s take a look at this in more detail and find and why so many migrations run into difficulties and what approaches can be taken to ensure a successful data migration project.
What makes a data migration complicated?
Firstly, let’s take a look at the driving factors around data migrations. There are many reasons behind a data or system migration, for example, a new enterprise business platform or maybe a business acquisition/merger needs multiple systems combining in to one consolidated platform. Often, these projects will have time and budget constraints all of which add an extra layer of complexity and pressure.
In most businesses the job of migrating systems and data falls in the lap of the IT department, after all they are the department that look after the IT. Whilst this may be the natural place for the project to sit, there are many more users that should be involved in the project as subject matter experts and to check the validity of the data being moved from system to system.
In a previous article we examined the Top three data migration challenges: Lack of business engagement, a lack of data legacy knowledge and data quality issues. The IT department cannot fix these issues by themselves and need support from the wider business.
Even with the right business teams in place to provide subject matter expertise and filling the knowledge gaps when it comes to business processes, the task is still not a simple one.
Core data migration principles.
Data migrations contain three main phases: Extract, Transform and Load, more often referred to as ETL. First you extract the data from your source system (legacy system), then you transform the data to fit into the new system, and the final stage is loading the data into the target system. Simple right?
At the heart of every migration there is the data. To ensure success you must understand the data that you hold, its complexity and volume whilst understanding the data structure and requirements for the target system. Very rarely will two systems have exactly the same table structures for the data, even when migrating to newer versions of an existing system.
Garbage in = garbage out!
A phrase you’ve probably heard before, but it is so true, especially when moving data from one system, or multiple systems, to a single target system.
Over time it is inevitable that the data you hold in your systems will suffer from data decay, missing or incomplete data, which can cause problems in new systems that may have tougher validation rules or required fields. A system migration is the ideal time to fix these issues, even if the data can pass through without issues, as it will maximise the effectiveness of the new system and provide better data analysis and business intelligence to make better informed strategic decisions going forwards.
The PhixFlow Low-Code approach.
More than just an ETL tool, the PhixFlow Low-Code platform acts as a middle-man, between your source systems and target systems. Think of it as a multi-tool equipped with all the features needed to perform analysis on the data, apply business rules, improve data quality and prepare the data for ingest into the target system. The impressive toolkit combined with drag and drop visual interfaces makes it far easier to take an iterative approach to the migration process.
Using a Low-Code platform to support your data migration projects will drastically improve your chances of completing the migration on time and on budget, and here’s why.
Advantage #1 – Visibility.
All ETL (Extract. Load. Transform) solutions will act as a gateway for your data, but where Low-code applications differ is the visibility of the data on its journey between the systems. Many dedicated migration tools simple act as a conduit between the source and target systems, acting as a black box solution that may provide a brief summary report at the end.
With PhixFlow, custom reports and dashboards can be created, all with varying user permissions, allowing key team members to check, validate and correct data without having to re-visit the source systems to correct the data. Any changes can be stored within the PhixFlow application, ready for the final migration, or pushed back to the original source system.
Advantage #2 – Easy iterations.
Test, test and test again! Practice makes perfect as they say. Low-code platforms, like PhixFlow, let you make changes to your data migration rules and test the results, prior to running the final migration(s). This will prevent time-consuming investigations into what data has and hasn’t been migrated after the event.
PhixFlow allows you to make an iterative change, process a sample of your data, and repeat until reconciliation reports give you the green light.
Advantage #3 – Automated reconciliation.
PhixFlow provides a fast, effective, and consistent means of reconciling multiple data sets, automatically confirming successfully migrated items and highlighting differences. This design gives a reliable result within minutes and provides explanations along with supporting evidence of any unsuccessful items thus alleviating the laborious task of collating investigation data.
Reconciliation reports are generated and displayed within PhixFlow’s secure environment, which means everything can be found in one place and there is no need to have spreadsheets flying around via email.
Advantage #4 – Supports big bang and phased approaches.
There are many options to consider, depending on the size, scope and risk involved with your project. All of which will help you determine the right approach, whether that be a Big-bang or a Phased approach.
Ultimately, the decision on which approach to take should be based on the potential risk to the business, which is the most cost effective and minimises the load on the team that still need to maintain the day-to-day operation of the business. How will your customers be affected and are there any financial implications? Whether using a Big-bang approach or a phased approach, the solution should always be designed to take all the data from the source system and put it in the target system regardless of the timeframe.
There are risks and benefits to both Phased and Big-bang migration. Thankfully, PhixFlow can help your company succeed at either migration type, ensuring you get the most out of your project.
Advantage #5 – Improved security.
Another key advantage to utilising a Low-Code platform to handle your data migration is the security of your data. Take for example, a migration where there are multiple spreadsheets being emailed around for data checking. Emails can go missing or be sent to the wrong people causing delays and security breaches.
Such problems can be eliminated by utilising PhixFlow’s security controls and full audit tracking. User groups and permissions ensure that the data is only accessible to the people that should have access, and changes to processing rules can only be made by the appropriate people.
Data migrations are so more than moving data from A to B, they require planning, resources, team collaboration and the right tools. ETL tools may provide a conduit for the data, but they lack the visibility and resources, that Low-Code platforms such as PhixFlow can provide.
The increased visibility, enhanced security, the ability to make iterative changes, and automated reconciliation provide you with complete confidence that your migration project will be a success.