I must admit I’m impressed. You’ve reached my 3rd blog, so you must be serious! Now we are getting to the meat of the matter and so I’ve chosen to break this area into four parts to aid digestion.

Starting at the very beginning, you need to decide and understand what data you are going to move across to the new LMS and if a data migration service is required. In most cases it is not wise to move everything because this will just add to the cost and clog up your new LMS. Ask yourself – are those old courses held in the course catalogue that were run many years ago, or employees/temporary contractors that have long since left the company and their transcripts – really necessary or needed in your new system? Clearly, compliance requirements will play a part in helping you decide what you must include, so take your time to do this thoroughly.

Knowing which data you want to migrate is one thing, but knowing who owns and understands it is another. Conducting a complete investigation of the data structures and ownership is key to help determine what should be migrated and how to get access to it. To be successful, what you need to end up with is a clear labelling system that identifies what is to be migrated, who owns it and what is to be archived. The fact that you are not moving all the data across will not matter if you plan to archive the remaining data in either excel or some form of business reporting warehouse that you can interrogate on an ad hoc basis, but make sure you plan for this as you can guarantee that someone will ask for it; and once it’s gone it’s gone! Don’t neglect this bit.

Once you feel confident with the subset of data to be moved, the next stage is to pre-map these data sets to the requirements of the new LMS. Doing this in advance will highlight data sets that are either missing in your existing system or need to be augmented with additional data. This is particularly important when you come to map course IDs which will be different in the new system. The actual transformation from the legacy LMS format to the new LMS will occur at a later stage but remember you can’t transform data that’s not there! Therefore, understanding what mandatory data is required and how it is formatted and referenced in the new system will help you to scope out the additional work required to get your legacy data ready for the next vital stage.

Sounds simple and yet so many people fail to understand and include this in the implementation Statement of Work, but I hope now you can see it makes sense. The next stage is the cleaning process, but that’s a whole new topic which I’ll cover in my next blog. As I said scintillating stuff!

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