You may have read my previous post on mergers & de-mergers. Well here's some tips on how to make that process so much smoother.
Firstly, do not underestimate the length of time a data migration will take. It will almost certainly require input from your systems provider, so factor in a chunk of days at around £1k per day each. Usually bespoke loaders or database scripts will be required. Circumnavigating these will generally invalidate your contract, as will other interfacing, not using published or authorised methods.
Your system provider will be able to supply the formats required, generally in a spreadsheet form. Don't expect your system to be structured exactly like the source system however. Also, don't be fooled that transferring data from/to the same HMS will be plain sailing. Code configurations will differ greatly, as will procedures and knock on configurations such as arrears actions, works order SORs and the like.
Factor in too that your system provider will have a 5-6 week minimum lead time, before being able to show up on site. Many will also penalise you if the originating organisation is late providing data and you have to cancel.
Depending on the organisation you are migrating from, and their work load, data extraction might not be top of their priorities. The target organisation would be best advised to liaise with the team where the data is coming from, in order to make the experience the most effective it can be. Seriously, working closely can cut the time required by half or more, and that benefits all parties. I have always worked like this and I have found that a few dozen jam doughnuts, a tin of Cadburys Heroes or a few packets of Chocolate Hobnobs, can really oil the wheels.
Another key thing to realise is that extracts cannot ne hand-crafted. They are best built to be repeatable at all times and we should expect to be able to repeat them, column by column at will. The whole process should be seen as a cycle and whoever is supplying the data must not be surprised that data may be needed to be incrementally supplied and a number of times.
For the organisation trying to get it right, imported data must not conflict with existing Asset UPRN's, rent accounts or Works Orders etc. This takes a fair bit of care and reconciliation after import must show and be structured so that all existing data is left intact and new data has all come in.
The above can all be confirmed with some 'Select Count(*) from x' type statements, but the real test is if the HMS application screens run up, reports provide those counts and it does not all crash and burn in a nasty mess. Do engage your original system alongside your new system, the data has been converted into, with your new staff pointing out the issues, in order to confirm data has been converted correctly.
As I say, I have been involved with probably 18 or more migrations and I am familiar with the problems first hand. It's always good to have a veteran on board for migrations like this. Do get in touch if I can help with your merger/de-merger, a lot are taking place and there are many to come, always happy to help.
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