Data Migration from one system to another can be a difficult process. Below are some best practices for our Migration process that we recommend to churches to make sure that migration goes as simply and as smoothly as possible. Additionally, click on the link below to download our migration templates so you can get a head start on getting your data together and formatted.
Use the Data Templates:
This first best practice can't be stressed enough! Seraphim is on the edge of cutting technology, not only in our interface but also in our database. While many more outdated programs have complicated data collection processes to conduct a migration, we have made the data collection process as easy as possible.
First, you'll want to get your information exported from your previous system. Then, using our data templates, you'll want to put that information from your previous system into our simple and easy format. Once that's complete, we can then start moving your information into it's new home. This transfer from one format to another should happen at your church and conducted by your team.
One person per row
When collecting your data from your previous system, you may find that the information may contain multiple individuals per row. Our data importer functions are structured in such a way that will allow for the cleanest form of data as possible. Multiple individuals per row may save space, but ultimately it's very difficult to sift through, especially for a database.
As such, you'll want to make sure that each individual (even if they are a child) has their own row in your people data when you send it to us. This will save a lot of time and back and forth.
What if you're moving your information not from one system, but several? How are we to handle that?
That's a great question, and ultimately there isn't a "right" way of doing things, but we definitely have a way that may help you in thinking through a multi-system migration.
Conceptually, we must have a "master list" of some kind. If you're condensing your systems from many to one, there has to be a place that is the system of record. What you may want to do, is create an excel document that can be considered the master list. Ideally, you'll use our people data template as the master list. It can then be used to compare information every time you bring data in from another system.
Essentially, each individual in this master list will have an "identifier" of some kind. This identifier must be unique to each individual, and will serve as a "key" of sorts when comparing information. This identifier won't be used directly in Seraphim at all, it's just to make sure that data stays clean as it comes in.
Each time you bring information in, you'll want to compare that information to your master list. If someone is coming in on new data, but they don't exist in the master list, then you must add them to the master list so that data point has somewhere to live. Ultimately, the identifier can be used to keep information straight. And if you're comfortable using V-Lookup functions in excel, it can save a lot of time in matching up information.
Dealing with the "Data Gap"
Whenever you move from one system to another (regardless of the industry), there's usually an awkward period of time when you're not quite sure where to enter data: the old system? or the new one?
For Seraphim, we like to do an initial migration from your old system - We'll take all your current data and push it into the Seraphim database. However, just because the data's in there, does not mean that you are quite ready to stop using the old system right? In some cases, you'll still need to enter people data into your old system as you're making the transition.
This is where things get a little complicated. If you enter a new person into your old system, Seraphim and your old system are now out of sync. This can cause problems once you are ready to move off the old system. As such, any time you add a new person to the old system during your transition (after the initial migration), you'll want to make sure you also capture that data in our migration template. We refer to this as the "Gap Data". You don't want to duplicate old information, so we don't want to just run a full migration all over again once you're ready to cut ties with the old system. Therefore you'll want to keep a curated and up-to-date list of new people during the Gap Data time period. Once you're ready, we'll migrate that last bit of info from the Gap Data period, and you can then make the official transition off of the old system. Keep in mind, the bulk of your data has been migrated already. We'll only be migrating people data, and financial data during the Gap period.