< Part 2: Figuring Out How to Transfer Data

This is Part 3 of the “Migrating Practice Management Software Successfully” series. See all articles in the series here.

Part 3: Beginning the Data Transfer: Preparing Data for a Migration

Whether it’s duplicates, bad links or outdated formats, most data sets have at least a few issues. Clean up your data before you transfer it; this will cut down on the amount of data you’ll need to transfer, as well as the amount that you’ll need to validate in the new PMS.


Have you cleaned the data you’ll be transferring?

Cleaning data before migrating it is significantly easier than cleaning it after. It can also cut down on problems with corruption and data loss in the target system. Extract, clean and deduplicate data before you transfer it; this is the perfect time to implement uniform standards to the data like ensuring mobile numbers are in the correct field, client and referrer names are inputted using the correct case etc.


Have you checked to see whether any data should be archived instead of transferred?

Beginning a data migration process is a good time to review your data archiving procedures. You may not want to transfer all of your data. Some of it may be more suitable for archiving such as clients that have been inactive for more than seven years; this has the added benefit of cutting down on work for you. Review or spot-check some of the data involved with your team who use the files in question.

Be careful not to overreact, though. Although it’s tempting to archive data instead of transferring it, be realistic about what types of data need to be accessed regularly. For example, you may import client details for Closed, Deceased or Deleted Clients from your old PMS but instead of bringing everything across you might include a file note of their status in the new PMS with a reference on how to access the entire data within the old PMS or archived files.