You are convinced that a newer, more powerful case management software would provide more functionality and benefits, lower your operating costs, and increase the overall competitiveness of your centre or clinic. But you are worried about the years of data you have amassed in your existing software and are apprehensive about making the move. You have a number of questions about data migration.
- Will I lose my data?
- Will I have to run two separate systems, old and new?
- Can I have this information transferred to the new software?
- Will my application be down and for how long?
- How much will all of this cost me?
Legacy data is information collected and recorded by your organization over time. It is an accumulation of business knowledge, an important business resource that cannot be replaced by just adding new technology. Such data could be multi-sourced, including database records, spreadsheets, XML, text files, other digital files and paper-based documents.
Unquestionably, every effort should be made to have the data transferred to any new software. Faced with these critical questions, many business owners and managers hold-on to old software applications and endure a significant loss of competitive advantage to their business. And with each passing day, the challenges grow larger. To state the obvious, these businesses:
- Add more data [in some cases, more bad data] to the existing system.
- Put up with less than optimal performance with their existing software.
- Tolerate poor productivity due to poor enabling technology.
- Spend more on labour charges to compensate for the weaknesses in the existing software.
- Delays can be detrimental. Older hardware requires more hands-on maintenance, has a lower performance, is more prone to failure and represents a business risk.
Where do you start?
Your new software supplier may have the answer. This supplier may have the capabilities to migrate your old data to the new platform you are about to acquire. Ask your supplier?
What is Data Migration?
Data migration is the process of transferring data from an existing software system into another, or from one computer to another. For the most part, data migration is performed as an automated process, as opposed to manually copying data to the new system.
Data Migration is a complex process. For starters, it entails more than a simply mechanical transference of data from one system to another. A typical data migration procedure includes 5 basic phases: plan/design, extraction, cleansing, load and verification. Depending on the complexity of the migration, these phases may be repeated several times before the new system is deployed.
A good data migration process includes data cleansing. As a rule, data cleansing is performed in the migration processes to match the requirements of the new system, improve data quality and eliminate redundant or obsolete information.
It is not unusual for some of the headaches in your old system to reside in the dataset you have built-up over the years. Thus, simply transferring the dataset to your new system may actually transfer those issues to your shiny, new program. It is therefore prudent to have your dataset examined and cleaned before loading into your new software. However, don’t assume that all data migration includes data cleansing. Ask your software vendor if data cleansing is part of the migration process.
After the data is loaded into the new system, the results are subjected to data verification tests to ascertain that the data has been accurately transferred, completed and is supported by the new software.
Plan and act, don’t procrastinate!
So how should you move forward! Your response will depend on the size of your organization, the complexity of your data system and your budget. If you are a smaller organization with a low data complexity contemplating upgrading your software, discuss your data migration concerns with your new software supplier. Ask for a data migration plan, cost, downtime and timeline.
If you are a medium-to-large organization with a moderate to high data complexity, in addition to discussions with your software vendor, you may also wish to establish a migration management team to work with your software vendor. Your team should put into place an internal control process relating to the migration procedure and plan, scheduling, communication, security, etc.
In the Healthcare environment, companies have three options to work with ranging from partial to full data migration.
- Clients and Contacts. This is the least costly option and will generally include all your clients, contacts, notes, clinical notes.
- This option is chosen in conjunction with option 1 and will generally include all your appointments, past and future.
- Invoicing and Payments. This is the most complicated option with the highest costs. This option is for companies that are looking to move over all their existing data to the new system.
Note: Companies choosing to do option 1 or 2 may consider retaining a license to their current software for a certain time, which would run concurrently with the new software and allow for closure of transition files. Two systems add complexity to the environment but allow the company to transition out of the old system in a planned way.
The Baylaan Time-Tested Approach
Baylaan combines a proven methodology, robust planning and well-defined strategies to deliver tested solutions for your data migration. Recognizing that data migration is all about data, we placed special emphasis on understanding the dataset(s). This proven approach reduces the business impacts of data migration: costs, data loss and downtime.
Our proven methodology starts with a ten-point plan for migrating your data to your new SkeduleX Software. The nature of the migration program is determined by several factors: the size of the organization, the complexity of the software, the size of the dataset, equipment and storage considerations, etc. In larger organizations, we work closely with the IT team to develop a program that suits the organization, provides the optimal migration, and work to achieve budget and timeline considerations. In a smaller organization, Baylaan develops and implements a migration plan in consultation with the owner or manager. In all cases, we involve users and data experts in the migration process.
Understanding that no two migrations are alike, each migration is meticulously planned and executed. We strive for a non-disruptive data migration with minimal impact on your business.
Skedulex also provides a set of complementary services that makes your transition easier.
Ask us about your data migration!