August 26, 2015Donna Caputo
Top Questions to Ask Your CRM Data Conversion & Testing Partner
Q: We’re just moving the data to a new location right? What’s the big deal?
A: Data conversion is an opportunity to transform your data to make your organization more efficient, and to help you gain and leverage your fundraising insights. Your data conversion partner should examine your data to determine what does/does not need to be converted, and inspire confidence that no data will be lost.
Q: Which staff should be involved with data conversion and testing?
A: Data conversion and testing is a large--if not the largest—component of CRM implementation. It’s important to view this stage as both a technical and business exercise, and involve stakeholders from appropriate departments, as well as end-users, to increase engagement and satisfaction with your new CRM.
Q: We have a lot of data, and some is of questionable quality. What should we do?
A: Data conversion is an opportunity to make your data better, not just move it to a new place. Your partner should help uncover the meaningful data in your database, and implement clean-up plans for records that need updating during conversion. They should also help you leave behind records that prevent efficient and accurate querying, and design coding to match your new system, instead of simply recreating your current codes.
Q: How will we find our data in the new system?
A: Your partner should develop comprehensive source mapping documents to detail where your information is going, and how they are transforming it. Ideally, the mapping document will be organized by both “source” and by “target.” Looking at your new system, you should be able to easily answer these questions: “How did THAT data get here?” Or, from the point of the old system, “Where did that code value from our old system end up in the new one?”
Q: Do we really need to test our conversion?
A: Although testing is difficult to do well, successful conversions include iterative tests that safeguard your data and your CRM investment. A qualified implementation partner will help you understand the importance of testing, and what your obligations will be. They’ll work with you to build the testing plan, and carry out the testing for stakeholder review.
Testing will save resources and embarrassment. After investing in new CRM, most organizations don’t want to ask leadership for more money to fix a botched conversion, or repair problems that could have been identified during testing.
Q: “Post-conversion data clean-up” is normal, right?
A: “Normal” is not the same as “excellent.” If your implementation partner discovers and recommends significant post-conversion clean-up, it usually means they haven’t handled the conversion as effectively as they should have. At JCA, we strive for results that are better than normal, so you can reap the rewards of your new solution as soon as possible.
Why simply convert your data, when you can transform it?