Data – The new refrigerated rotten apple!.

Posted: July 26, 2021Category: Data Migration

Data – The new refrigerated rotten apple!

Data is the new refrigerated rotten apple!

Did you know that refrigeration merely slows down the decay and rotting of food. It does not prevent the rot. In fact, if you leave fruits on a tree longer than needed, they rot as well.

Yet, if you open your fridge, you are likely to find food items, that have been stored in the hope of consuming later. Just that the "later" never arrives or arrives too late. When it finally does, you are likely to find mold on the food.

It's the same with data.

Often when I am working with clients on helping them recover troubled enterprise application implementation projects (ERP, HRIS-Payroll, CRM etc.), data migration is an easy catch.

It turns out, that for all the talk about data being a key driver to success, most organisations get it wrong in two predominant ways:

  1. Underestimate the scale and complexity of data migration required for the new application to function effectively.
  2. Overcomplicate the data migration by trying to take across more than what is required.

I briefly touched upon this topic about 3 weeks ago (HERE). In this post I provide 5 questions that should help you with demystifying some of this.

Here we go:

What do you need to run effectively? - Asking this question from the perspective of your future state solution and business will give you insights into the minimum amount of data you need to get going with your new application. If you interrogate this question seriously, you will find that the answer is very little (relative to what you have in your current applications). Like you have limited capacity in your stomach!

What else do you have? - This is like finding surplus food in your pantry. You will be amazed by how much you actually have (spreadsheets, access databases, registers, paper). It is good to get a sense of what this looks like. It will also help put you at ease when it comes to decision making on what to carry across.

How do you plan to use data in the new solution? - Will give you a sense of real consumption. Being explicit in asking this question will see you going down a number of justifications before the realisation dawns, that you actually don't need all of it (at least, not in the brand new application). Staying in this process long enough is important as it will truly help you filter out data you don't need.

What if you didn't have the data?  - Research has shown that only a little more than half of the food put out in hotel buffets is actually consumed. It's almost the same with data. Much as organisations seem to believe that they don't have the required data, the fact is you have much more than you will ever use. No wonder that ~80% effort in any data initiative (migration, analytics, data science) is spent on data preparation. Honestly answering this question will give you tremendous clarity on what you really need to take across.

And then finally....

What does it entail to get the data in? - Once you have filtered down the data you really need, asking this question will help you accord the right attention to the data preparation (processes, tools, people) needed for it to migrate. Treat this like storing in an airtight container or wrapping it in a cling wrap film. Helps prepare and preserve the data long enough for it to land into the new solution.

For all the advancement in methodologies and tools, data continues to a significant barrier to getting large enterprise applications across the line successfully.

Don't let your enterprise application project fall prey to this!

All the best.

Photo by Nicolas Brulois on Unsplash