How to Prepare for an Apricot Database Migration

Category: Data Migration

For most organizations, Social Solutions Apricot™ software is a central database system. Migrating data to Apricot software is common practice whether you are a new user, converting data to Apricot for the first time or you are an existing user, importing data from another database system or updating data as part of an Apricot cleanup project.

Data integrity and quality are always top concerns during an Apricot database migration because even small missteps can corrupt your Apricot system or turn a seemingly simple data migration project into a never-ending data cleanup and mitigation project. Neither of these two outcomes are ideal and both should be avoided, which is why a little time spent preparing for a data migration project can go a long way toward a successful outcome.

What scenarios require a data migration?

Most Apricot database migration projects follow initial Apricot implementation, but database migration projects aren’t always limited to new users.

Data migration scenarios:

  • Move from a legacy database system or Excel spreadsheets to Apricot software and need to bring historical data into your new Apricot database.
  • Update forms, links, or fields in Apricot and need to move existing data to the updated structure. Data migration projects are almost always required when existing data is present in Apricot and updates are made to the forms, links, and fields holding that existing data.
  • Import data from another database software system into your Apricot database. Use Apricot imports to integrate external software systems.
  • Redesign the form, field, and linking structure of your existing Apricot database as part of a reimplementation project. Although reimplementation projects are less common than the other scenarios, sometimes an Apricot database needs an overhaul. A reimplementation project builds new forms parallel to your existing Apricot database and migrates data from your existing structure to the new structure.

Questions to prepare for Apricot database migration

Save time, energy, and money by conducting some upfront due diligence and planning before you begin your Apricot data migration. While you can certainly begin with a formal needs assessment, we recommend answering a set of simple questions first.

  • 1. What is the cost of migrating our data?

    Time, money, and stress are three costs associated with data migration.

    • Time is both the duration of the data migration and the expenditure of human capital required to complete the data migration.
    • Money is the monetary impact of the data migration and is often the tangible component of the cost.
    • Stress, or energy and effort, is an often forgotten element. Stress is the emotional cost expended by your internal team that is responsible for the data migration. This component is generally a reason to look for support on your data migration projects from an Apricot consultant.

    The ratio between the costs and benefits of migrating your data will inform which paths to take.

    If the costs outweigh the benefits, a data migration may not be in your organization’s best interests; but if the benefits outweigh the costs, a data migration may be an appropriate strategic decision.

    The ratio between costs and benefits may also influence your decisions on:

    • What data is migrated
    • How much data is migrated (i.e. the quantity)
    • How that data is migrated (i.e. the process)
    • When data is migrated (i.e. the timing)

  • 2. Is the data we hope to migrate valuable?

    Data migrations can enhance Apricot reporting (more data equals more context), but migrating all data isn’t always the right decision. That is why it is important to determine whether the data you want to migrate is actually useful to your organization.

    • Do we use this data in our current reports?
    • Will end users and managers review this data?
    • Is this data being used for decision-making? If yes, how so?

    If the data is being used currently and has a functional and strategic purpose, there is a clear case for moving the data to Apricot, but holding onto historical data that isn’t being used is a waste of resources. Only manage, maintain, and support data that is relevant. There is no need to migrate data that isn’t useful or that adds no value to you.

  • 3. Where do we put our data in Apricot?

    Historical data doesn’t always fit the new data structure of your Apricot database. Moving the data may be the right choice if it fits in Apricot, but the cost of data migration will increase if the data doesn’t fit or will require significant manipulation and cleansing before import.

    Keep in mind that incompatible data generally leads to data corruption, poor data quality, and reporting challenges in the long term. Don’t force data into Apricot where it isn’t a good fit.

    If you decide to complete an Apricot data migration, create a data map that defines how data will move from the source system into Apricot. This data map is your guide for translating data between two or more systems.

  • 4. Who will lead our data migration project?

    Once you determine the data migration is a “go,” identify the person or team that will be responsible for the project.

    Data migration projects should be conducted by someone with…

    1. Expertise and proficiency manipulating large data sets in Excel, Access, and SQL
    2. Abilities as an Apricot database administrator, proficient with the Apricot import tool and Apricot reports
    3. Understanding of your Apricot database structure (forms and links), data entry workflow, and existing data sets

    Assigning capable people to your data migration project is essential for success.

    Looking for a trusted Apricot consultant? We can help. Let’s start with a conversation about your data migration project.

  • 5. How will we move our data into Apricot?

    Whoever is assigned to your data migration project should define a clear set of steps that will result in a successful and accurate data migration.

    Data migration projects will generally include these phases:

    • Preparation – Complete an assessment of the Apricot database structure to identify forms and links; prepare expectations and set up the database for the data migration
    • Discovery – Develop a data migration blueprint to translate legacy database objects and fields to Apricot forms, links, and fields
    • Mapping – Map legacy data fields in Excel to Apricot import templates using the data migration blueprint as a guide
    • Import – Import formatted data files into Apricot based on the data migration blueprint for both records and links (records and links are separate imports in Apricot and should be accounted for in the Preparation and Discovery phases listed above)
    • Review – Review and confirm data migration accuracy based on the blueprint using Apricot reports and searches

Having a clear process in place prior to the data migration will keep your project on track, on schedule, and on budget.

Don’t rush your Apricot database migration

Be patient, disciplined, and methodical with Apricot data migration projects. Data migrations aren’t easy and they have the potential to turn your clean and organized Apricot database into a messy, unmanageable system. A well-designed and systematic process will guarantee that your Social Solutions Apricot data migration is a success.

Let us do the heavy lifting of your Apricot database migration. Schedule a free, 1-on-1 consultation with our Apricot consultants to review your project.

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