Architect Your CRM Migration: Manual vs Automated

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Architect Your CRM Migration: Manual vs Automated

CRM solution is a strategic element of the effective business processes accomplishment, agile marketing, and sales performance, as well as comprehensive data storage. Modern technology runs a “continuous” development mode that present updates on a daily basis. So the need of advanced CRM spurs businesspeople to look a new CRM and, what’s more important, for a fast and secure CRM migration mode.

CRM Migration Background

The process of data transfer is a more complex process that it may look like at first. Ahead of any switching activities, you have to analyze the environment and basic settings for your source CRM solution and a destination system as well. Next step is drawing up a migration plan, and specifically, pay attention to the following aspects:

  • check access credentials
  • disable plugins (if you run some)
  • make sure that your legacy CRM has no data lockup, and you can export your records
  • in case, you run an on-premise CRM check out the performant software, SQL server, RAM abilities for managing data import
  • prepare the database (review it for duplicates, check the correctness of fields population, use added filters to verify whether the records place - and add missing the data if it is necessary)
  • define the custom fields you need to create at your targeted CRM. Pay attention to the fact that at your source platform some fields are standard, but the targeted solution lacks them - so you should create the corresponding fields in number and names at both CRMs

Resolving the preparation issues, you will need to select the approach to the data switch - manual (CSV file import) or using a third party service (API-based automated migration).

CSV Files As A Basic Approach to Manual Transfer

The CRM migration via file importing becomes quite popular because modern CRM solutions have improved tools that may handle the larger files and better data types validation for a reliable transfer. So far CRM vendors allow the import of XLC, XLSX, CSV and VCF files of leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities - these titles may differ across the different solutions but mean their value is the same. However, there are records you can import, for instance

  • activity attachments,
  • product catalog,
  • emails with more than 1 recipients,
  • notes with attachments,
  • users and owners ids are problematic to map out.

CSV file is the most preferable as long as this format support batch of more than 1500 records, corresponds UTF-8 (Unicode) and can be edited in Excel. Let’s presume you have managed the CRMs feature audit and created required custom fields in the targeted solution. The next task is to tailor your data in CSV files for success switch. Each module should have specific fields; here are common requirements to CSV files:

  • the first row should be the headers of the columns that will coincide with the fields in the destination CRM
  • each CRM has specific requirements to data values, but the most spread is MM/dd/yyyy and data time should be MM/dd/yyyy hh/mm/ss
  • the phone numbers should be entered with ‘+’ if it isn’t US number; there should be a separate field for mobile numbers
  • some CRM requires contact/lead first and last name to be in a single field, others import these data in separate fields (it requires additional checking up)
  • company addresses may be entered as company street, company city, company state, etc. and corresponding people addresses - personal street, personal city, personal state, etc.

There is also a set of limitation you should pay attention to before start importing your CSV files. CSV file should contain up to 3000 records and overall size up to 5 MB. Another point to remember is the file with records more than 2 MB each (it can be emailed records with attachments) can cause the import failure. In the process of import setting up, you should upload them in the sequence of entities for ensuring parent entity records will be imported first so you can avoid error while uploading child entities. So after file importing, the import wizard of your targeted CRM will ask you to map out fields. If you have adhered to these tips, you will need just to confirm the field titles.

API-Based CRM Switch: Come to A Good Speed

With technology that keeps going further, open API access and numerous methods allow coping with CRM migration during a couple of hours. This ability is offered by web-based services that support the transfer of the standard modules available on all CRM platforms:

  • leads
  • contacts
  • accounts
  • opportunities
  • tasks

The automated mapping out also recovers the relations between these records, as well as the record owners. Automated migration supports both types of CRM hosting - on-premise and on-demand, and both cases the speed of process accomplishment depends on the amount of your data. The particularity of this CRM switch is an exclusion of business process disruption and full uptime of legacy system during the migration. For managing this mode of data transfer, your user profile must be an administrator of the system, as well as you have to provide the access credentials to source and destination CRM platforms, API tokens or keys. To ensure the success of setting up this CRM switch, you need to make sure that logins and passwords are correct and your CRM vendor granted you with an open API access. If your CRM edition has disabled API and there is no way to switch it on, you have 2 ways out - upgrade your solution to a version with API access or use file importing tool.

Bottom Line: Manual vs Automated

Wrapping up these facts, you see that the migration via files import and automated switch have some strong and weak points. Manual CSV import requires specific configurations of files and takes a considerable amount of time for uploading and confirmation of fields mapping. API-based migration works faster and has no impact or human interaction; thus, not all CRM vendors provide the open access what virtually excludes the ability of automated switch. So the choice of CRM migration mode depends on your CRMs platforms, time and budget resources. 

P.S. If you are looking for more details about CRM migration process, this ebook “Best-Case CRM Data Migration Scenario” will be helpful for you to read.

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