How to Ace Salesforce Data Migration: A Complete Guide
Perhaps, you’ve outgrown your legacy platform. Or, you just need to transfer data from one Salesforce org to another. Either way, Salesforce data migration looks simple only on the surface.
Underestimating how complex data migration is and the resources it requires is a common bane for decision-makers. An estimated two-thirds of all data migration undertakings exceed their initial budget, and over a half take longer than expected.
To avoid suffering the same fate, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. And that’s where this guide comes in!
As a certified Salesforce Commerce Cloud partner, we at Elogic have helped dozens of enterprises transition to Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Today, let us guide you through everything you need to know to prepare your organization for data migration.
You’ll learn the types of Salesforce data migration and best practices for data migration in Salesforce. Read on!
4 Reasons to Migrate from Legacy Platforms to Salesforce
If you use some other platform, Salesforce may catch your eye for many reasons. Here are the four most common reasons to migrate we hear from our clients:
Read more: Salesforce Commerce Cloud Overview: Features & Benefits
- You’ve outgrown your current system. Perhaps, your database is too bulky for your existing CRM to handle. Or, maybe, your current system struggles with the number of users. Or, you may be planning to replatform your ecommerce system, so you need a better cloud commerce fit.
- You’re looking to optimize your costs. Salesforce offers flexible pricing for its products. You can select from multiple plans to avoid paying for features you won’t use. The pricing is competitive, especially considering the level of innovation inherent to Salesforce products.
- You don’t want to deal with hosting. Salesforce Commerce Cloud will store all of your data for you. It deals with server management and maintenance, ensuring your data is safe and sound.
- You need more flexibility and scalability. You can find the best match for your needs among dozens of Salesforce editions and products. This allows you to remain flexible in your feature set and costs. And Salesforce Commerce Cloud will automatically adapt to your needs — no more unexpected lags or downtime!
3 Types of Data Migration in Salesforce
When we’re talking about Salesforce data migration, what we mean depends on the context. For example, you may be preparing for data migration to Salesforce or within Salesforce, and the hands-on migration process will differ accordingly.
Here are the three possible scenarios you may face:
- Migrating to Salesforce from another platform. If your current platform no longer matches your needs, you need to export the data from there and import it to Salesforce. In this case, be extra wary of compatibility issues.
- Migrating data from one Salesforce org to another. This might be the case if you acquired, were bought by, or merged with another company. Large enterprises may also need to move data between departments or branches.
- Migrating from Salesforce Classic to Lightning. Salesforce Lightning is the revamped edition of the system. Existing customers were given the possibility to continue using the legacy version. If that’s your case, migrating to Salesforce Lightning allows you to access exclusive features and better UI/UX.
5 Stages of Data Migration in Salesforce
A solid migration plan is necessary to better prepare for Salesforce data migration. To draw up that plan – and do it realistically – you need to understand how data migration in Salesforce works.
There are five steps in the Salesforce data migration process:
- Outline your data model. The data model describes data types, sources, and relationships between the system components. Simply put, you need to see what data you’ll need, how it’ll be stored in a Salesforce template, and the dependencies between elements.
- Select the data to be migrated. Not every piece of source data typically needs to be transferred to a Salesforce org. Choose the data you need to import. Plus, make sure you have only one source of truth for each data type.
- Clean your source data. You always risk having some garbage data in your set. So, check it for corrupted, incorrect, or duplicate entries. Ensure the labeling is correct, too.
- Migrate the data. Now, it’s time to use one of the data migration tools in Salesforce to add your source data to your org. If you encounter any errors during the process, take note of them, fix their root causes, and try again.
- Double-check and clean the migration results. Validate the data for correct labeling and the absence of corrupted or duplicate entries.
7 Best Practices for Data Migration in Salesforce
Now, how do you ensure your data migration process will unfold without playing tricks on your deadlines and budget? Having a knowledgeable data migration partner typically solves most common problems. So does following these seven best practices.
Start with a plan
Just like with Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration, you can’t get into Salesforce data migration without a plan. This plan should outline your project:
- Scope: work to be done, such as the data you’ll migrate, the method you will follow, ways of cleaning up the data, etc.
- Key stakeholders: all the employees and departments to be affected by the migration, from decision-makers who sign off on the budget to the team members who will use the system.
- Timeline: the realistic deadlines for your project deliverables and milestones.
- Budget: money allocated to complete the project, including development rates and third-party system license fees.
Read more: Ecommerce Website Development Project Plan [+Examples]
When it comes to the timeline, we advise you to stick to the agile (sprint-based) methodology, where you work in typically week-long iterations. At the end of each iteration, you have to deliver a tangible result of your work (cleaned up data, migration test results, etc.).
Don’t hesitate to adjust your migration plan if you realize you’ve underestimated the time or resources required.
Prepare a data governance policy
Your goal should be to clean your data once – and make sure it stays clean and well-organized. That’s where a data governance policy, another Salesforce data migration best practice, comes in.
In a nutshell, a data governance policy is a set of guidelines that:
- Identifies key roles in data governance and their responsibilities
- Regulates data access and editing rights
- Describes how regulatory compliance is achieved in practice
- Outlines how your teams can validate data accuracy, change the data, and track its evolution
- Provides documentation on technical details like metadata and terms
Always back up your data
We can’t stress the importance of backing up enough. It’s an absolute must-do at every step of data migration. Your backups will help restore your database if anything goes wrong during the import.
We advise you to back up your data sets:
- Source data: before you clean it up, during the cleanup (if it’s a lengthy process), and after it’s complete
- Existing Salesforce data (if you have any): before initiating any data migration, as a test or otherwise
Keep your data organized
We’ve already mentioned cleaning up data several times. Here’s what it means in practice:
- Pinpointing and eliminating duplicate or irrelevant entries
- Ensuring all data entries follow the same format for each field
- Checking data entries for mislabeling
- Seeing if any data is missing and how you can recover it
- Cleaning up incorrect entries and data errors
- Validating data, including email addresses, dates, and names in the contact list, after the migration
When you prepare your source data for migration, we also advise you to:
- Simplify your current data model if possible
- Adapt it to existing Salesforce data models (if applicable)
- Migrate only the essential data
- Stick to clear and well-defined naming conventions
Take your time preparing the destination org
Every data field in your source database should have a corresponding field in the destination org. Otherwise, the entries just won’t have anywhere to go.
You can easily create custom fields to store legacy data in Salesforce templates. You’ll need to do so if your source data uses non-standard fields or contains any legacy ID information you’d like to preserve.
Test your data migration plan with a pilot project
Every plan, no matter how well-thought-out, needs to be tested first. Your pilot project should come in here. It’ll demonstrate how your plan compares to reality and reveal potential areas of improvement, such as downtime for system users.
To perform the test, select a representative slice of data and perform all the steps you would expect during a migration, from backup to deployment and post-migration data validation.
Here are some conclusions you may draw from your trial run:
- Your chosen migration tool doesn’t cut it.
- The source relational database needs additional cleanup.
- Migration corrupts certain types of data.
- You get an error message during the process.
Find the right Salesforce data migration tool for the job
Depending on the type of data migration and your needs, your toolkit will differ. You can rely on the built-in tools in the Salesforce environment or choose a third-party application.
Here’s a quick overview of the most common Salesforce data migration tools:
- Salesforce Data Import Wizard. It’s the in-built Salesforce feature any user or admin can use. Be careful: its support is limited to 50,000 records and ten target Salesforce fields.
- Salesforce Data Loader. Available as a Windows and macOS app, it allows admins to import and export data in bulk using CSV files. Data Loader can handle up to 5 million records.
- Jitterbit Data Loader. It’s a freemium third-party application with advanced automation features. It requires no coding skills to get started with, and it’s free for up to 100 operations a month.
Salesforce Data Migration Checklist
We’ve prepared a checklist to apply the seven best practices for data migration into Salesforce above to your project. Go ahead and save it for later use:
Read more: Why & How to Hire Salesforce Commerce Cloud Consultants
- Create a data migration plan and data governance policy
- Determine your data model
- Select the right migration tools
- Do a trial run for data migration (using the steps below)
- Select the source data you’ll migrate
- Clean it and organize it
- Prepare the target system
- Back up data at crucial steps
- Validate the migrated data and clean it if necessary
Elogic Experience in Salesforce Data Migration
So far, it’s been only a theory of Salesforce data migration. Now, here’s a real experience of the UK-based B2B pharma merchant who has transformed its shopping experience with the help of Salesforce.
Our client was a B2B UK-based ecommerce pharmaceutical company that was already using Salesforce CRM. However, their ecommerce platform needed to be clearer to remain sustainable, driving up costs.
We suggested our client replatform to Salesforce Commerce Cloud. After their approval, we kicked the process off – and data migration was a substantial part. Here’s how we approached it, step by step:
- Analyzing the source data and its target destination
- Picking the right migration tool
- Preparing a data migration plan
- Running a migration test and adjusting the plan based on its results
- Selecting, cleaning up, and organizing the source data
- Creating backups before migrating the data to Salesforce
- Performing the migration itself
- Validating the data post-migration
Migrating data in Salesforce isn’t a matter of a working day. You need to prepare yourself and your teams for it, choose the right data, clean it up, prepare the target org, etc. And we’re just grazing the surface here!
If there’s one universal piece of advice we can give you, it’s this: make sure you have the expertise it takes to succeed at Salesforce data migration. Otherwise, you risk encountering a whole set of unpleasant surprises on your way.
If you don’t have the right expertise in-house, it doesn’t have to undo your data migration aspirations. Salesforce Commerce Cloud migration is our bread and butter at Elogic, and we’d be honored to become your migration partner. Contact us to discuss our potential partnership in more detail.
Salesforce Data Migration FAQs
What are the challenges of Salesforce data migration?
In our experience, the most common data migration challenges are:
- Creating a realistic plan with a reasonable timeline and budget
- Minimizing downtime for system users
- Selecting the right source data to be migrated
- Pinpointing all use cases for the data and preparing it accordingly
- Cleaning up and organizing source data
- Preparing a comprehensive data governance plan
- Having the right tech and data management expertise in-house
How does Elogic do data migration in Salesforce?
When a client approaches us with a request to migrate data to Salesforce, we:
- Sit down with them to pinpoint the project scope, timeline, and budget based on the client’s needs, requirements, and constraints
- Analyze the source data and its target org, pinpoint the right migration tool, and prepare a data migration plan and the data model
- Run a pilot project and adjust the migration plan accordingly
- Clean up and organize the source data to prepare it for migration
- Back up all the data and perform the migration itself
Validate the data and clean it up if necessary
Which tools are available to migrate data to Salesforce?
Common Salesforce data migration tools include:
- Salesforce Data Import Wizard, an in-built tool with support for up to 50,000 records and 10 Salesforce fields
- Salesforce Data Loader, a more robust admin Salesforce tool that supports large files (< 5 million records)
Jitterbit Salesforce Data Loader, a freemium third-party app with advanced automation capabilities
How much does it cost to migrate to Salesforce?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give you a clear-cut answer here. The final migration costs can vary wildly depending on your organization’s size, migration complexity, and the Salesforce products and pricing you choose.
If you’d like us to assess how much data migration into Salesforce will cost in your particular case, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll discuss your needs and prepare an estimate to help you pinpoint your budget.