Navigating Data Migration from Legacy Systems: Best Practices and Strategies

Navigating Data Migration from Legacy Systems: Best Practices and Strategies

Diogo GouveiaConnectors, Products and Solutions Leave a Comment

With constant developments in the tech world, businesses must be able to adapt to new improvements to remain competitive. This often means upgrading from familiar systems that have been around for a while, to modern software that can more reliably meet specific sets of requirements. Legacy systems, such as dated custom-built software, are prime examples of systems that companies find hard to let go of due to their long-earned trust.

The main problems are the effort and cost of maintaining legacy systems, which will eventually outweigh their benefits. Finding experts who know how to handle the upkeep for these systems becomes a challenge because of the outdated technologies and programming languages they use, not to mention the amount of time it takes to complete such intricate maintenance.

As such, even if there is some resistance to change, the time will come when companies will have to do something about these familiar systems. And to do this without massively disrupting ongoing business processes, it's important to draw a considered strategy to get data out of your old system, and into that shiny new software that will better meet your company’s needs.

Strategizing Data Migration from Legacy Systems

Unless the data stored in the legacy system no longer carries any sort of value to the organization, data migration is a mandatory requirement for anyone looking to transition to newer software. As we mentioned in a previous article on legacy system modernization, there are two first steps to kick-start these projects successfully:

  1. Identifying which responsibilities your legacy system is still handling and building a complete set of requirements based on that.
  2. Identifying which modern software would be the most appropriate based on this same set of requirements.

After covering these steps, it is important to determine the sets of data that need to be transferred to the chosen target system. By doing so you are paving the way for a future of advanced features and functionalities that are no longer reachable by your company’s long trusted software, which is the entire point of data migration from legacy systems to a modern database.

Then, once you are clear on these, it is finally time to establish how you will migrate data to the new software. There is no “one size fits all” rule, as this decision depends heavily on the particularities of each case. Though we should warn you that migrating data from legacy systems is not an easy task.

The Downside of Moving on from Your Legacy System

Data migration from legacy systems to a modern database can be a tricky responsibility, since bridging the technological gap between such different systems requires considerable effort. Generally speaking, the biggest problem is compatibility, or lack thereof, because legacy systems often use outdated file formats and database structures that are not compatible with current modern software. This makes data migration from legacy systems difficult to roll out without losing data, somehow compromising its integrity, or having some serious struggles during the process.

In addition, the common lack of up-to-date documentation makes it challenging for the involved members to understand the intricacies of the legacy system, which can delay the data migration project. Security is also a point of concern, since legacy systems are more prone to data breaches and deficiencies in security, which could lead to sensitive data being exposed during the software transition.

Having said this, there is no need to start panicking over your data migration project, since there are measures you can take to better your chances of having a less stressful experience.

Data Migration Strategies and Best Practices

To maximize the chances of a successful data migration project, here are some approaches you can consider:

Experimental testing - Testing in a non-production environment (a separate environment dedicated for testing) can be useful to detect and resolve any arising issues before going live with the actual migration of your data. This could help minimize the impact of data and format incompatibility brought on by the legacy software. Though, on the downside, experimental testing does extend the time frame of your project, which may not be ideal if you are running on a tight schedule.

Sectioned migration - Instead of migrating all your data at once, a segmented approach can make the process more manageable, even for testing purposes. This means migrating data in smaller, manageable batches to ease monitoring, validation, and if necessary, rollback of the processes. This can be of big help to minimize mistakes and oversights, though, again, it may eat away more of your time.

Outsourcing - Engaging the services of specialists that could build a custom application to migrate data can significantly ease your data migration project. However, as we mentioned, since we are dealing with legacy systems, experts that know how to manage such outdated technologies may be a scarce resource. And while your own technical experts may be great, they may not have the necessary knowledge of legacy systems to build the application in-house.

Using a Software Integration Platform - Connect Bridge

A software integration platform is a centralized set of tools that streamlines the connection between different systems and applications. Meaning it can be used to migrate data from one system to another, granted the systems are properly connected.

Since navigating data migration from legacy systems is tricky, especially if you do not have a big team and are on a tight deadline, you would probably be looking for a cost-effective option that will save you time, while requiring the least amount of effort possible from your end.

Connect Bridge does exactly this. Instead of struggling to find that small niche of individuals that would be able to build you a custom application to migrate data from your legacy system to newer software, your in-house experts can easily do this with Connect Bridge. Plus, they get to do it while using any programming language of their preference. Sounds a bit like magic, doesn’t it?

Having been on the market for over 19 years, Connect Bridge can connect from any software application of the past 30 years, eliminating the technological gap between legacy and modern systems. Connect Bridge can get your outdated software to talk with other systems of your choice using the available connectors.

Connect Bridge
There is no need to learn the API of the modern system you would like to start using. Connect Bridge handles this for you, while ensuring the seamless flow of information between your systems and enabling an easy migration of data from your legacy software.

We Already Have Connectors!

There are 400+ connectors already built for a wide range of mainstream target systems, like Microsoft Outlook and the Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP.

In case we do not yet have the connector for the target system you are looking to connect to, you can use the Connect Bridge Connector SDK to build your own, or by reaching out to talk to our experts. Connect Bridge is incredibly versatile and capable of helping in an array of tricky software integration projects. If you are curious, ERP integration and the optimization of document management systems via Connect Bridge connectors (such as the Salesforce to Dropbox integration), are two big examples.

What about Legacy System Integration?

So far, we have only covered data migration from legacy systems. But in case your company is not ready to let go of that long-trusted legacy software just yet, the good news is that there is no need to! You can simply keep both systems connected, using them simultaneously to your advantage.

You can still connect your legacy system to the shiny new software via Connect Bridge. The seamless exchange of information will still be a reality, just with a much lower level of commitment since you will not do a complete system overhaul. Alternatively, if you would still like to dispose of your legacy system, but gradually over time, the exact same logic applies. The options here are truly endless and Connect Bridge can help you out no matter which option you are most comfortable with!

Feel free to check out the product page and the informative video below to get to know more about this magic-like platform. Then, be sure to get in touch with us to request your free 15-day trial. We are always available to help you through your integration project!

About the Author

Diogo Gouveia

By Diogo Gouveia

“After completing my studies in the United Kingdom, I joined the Marketing team at Connecting Software to create content on software integration and a variety of other IT topics. If you have any observations or suggestions, please reach out."

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