How to plan and execute a successful data migration

How to plan and execute a successful data migration

Your organisation’s performance can benefit considerably from implementing HR data and people-analytics – if you get it right. Without proper HR Data, strategic initiatives are largely operating in the dark, so how does an organisation set the basic HR data right? How do you plan for a successful data migration that will create one single source of insight?


Step number 1: Set-up a Data Migration Strategy, Governance and assign responsibilities.

First of all, the success of your HRIT implementation depends entirely on the quality of the data you will bring across. Prior to the implementation, it is essential to prepare a migration strategy that elaborates on its scope, the approach, and the roles and responsibilities. You need to identify which members of your HRIS project delivery will be responsible for the data cleansing, gathering, load and validation. In addition to a data lead and data consultants from your implementation partner, it is important to include the actual users (payroll and HR) in this team, as they will be working with the data on a daily basis. Make sure that you have data security in place and that there is a place to share the data within the team appropriately and securely. Finally, define a scope and capture these decisions in a strategy document. An important point to consider is historical data. There are many analyses of the efforts, advantages and disadvantages of bringing over historical data, and they have one undeniable conclusion: the implementation of a new system as part of an HR Transformation changes the data structures, making historical data less accessible or downright useless. Therefore our advice is not to migrate any historical data.


Step number 2: Identify the data elements to be migrated

Perform an analysis of the required fields in the new HRIS system. Do you have the corresponding data available in legacy systems? Where is it stored? How is it currently captured/formatted and how will it be used in the new HRIS system? Purpose of the data analysis is to reach a common understanding of the data to be migrated and the way to achieve this. Furthermore, it is important that there are global definitions and standards of certain HR data or KPIs.


Step number 3: Cleanse

The process of migration will be made much easier when the data is cleansed to ensure it is consistent, complete and accurate. Standardization of data is key here, so you won’t run into data quality issues during the actual migrating to a new HRIS system. In addition, a new HRIS system is the perfect opportunity to look at your current data and consider leaving obsolete and unnecessary data behind. Data cleansing can be done directly in the current HRIS system. This works well if the team is comfortable with the current system and if the current system is able to identify these data quality issues. For practical reasons, you might consider cleansing some of the data in the new HRIS as well. In this case, it is crucial  to train the team properly in advance, so they know how to clean the data right after Go-Live.


Step number 4: Extract, transform and test

For the extraction, it is important to have a mechanism in place that ensures efficient data extraction and that is repeatable. Define clear conversion rules and document them in detail. Once the data is extracted and loaded, testing can be started.

Allow yourself sufficient time in between migration cycles to consolidate, review and correct the outcome of the previous cycle. Testing your data in the End-to-End phase is crucial and should not be underestimated.


Step number 5: Data validation imbedded

Validation is another critical step in the data migration cycle. Make sure the data is validated before loading it into the new HRIS system, and again post-conversion, by comparing the source to the target. Create your own checklist with validation rules, so you can work more efficiently every time you need to deliver the data. Validation should not be considered a short-term or ‘one-time-only’ task, but rather become a standard process, to guarantee data quality in the post go-live phase as well.

The process of moving all required HR data accurately to a new system is an effort that must not be taken lightly. You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by drawing up a thorough plan and don’t skip any steps!

Do you need assistance with your data migration process? SuccessDay is there to support you! Don’t hesitate to contact us.

SuccessDay - Employee Journey | HRIT | People Analytics

Eveline van Bergen

Senior Consultant at SuccessDay, currently supporting an international client (±20.000 employees) as Data Lead for the global rollout of SAP SuccessFactors. 



SuccessDay - Employee Journey | HRIT | People Analytics

Ruben Stavast

Senior Consultant at SuccessDay, with over 15 years of HR experience, currently supporting a global client (6000 employees) with their HRIT implementation. Main focus for this project is on data.

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