In 1992, one of Bill Clinton’s election strategists – James Clavell coined a phase “It’s the economy, stupid” as a means of focusing his successful election campaign on a few key messages. The same is true for a successful migration if you substitute the word ‘economy’ for ‘data’. But data also affect the operation of your system.

Having accurate data in your LMS is not only important for compliance purposes, but also for truthful reporting and analysis on which decisions are made. Inaccurate or incomplete data will also impact your system’s performance leading to increased trouble tickets and end user dissatisfaction – you know the issues, end users can’t find or access the right course and if the management/approval structure is wrong, they won’t be able to login in or get approval for taking a course. The list is endless.

If your data is corrupted by ‘data gremlins’ i.e. hidden or special characters like line feeds, carriage returns and some funky stuff such as � ‰ † • … ˜ ‡, these will conspire to frustrate reporting and system performance. Because you can’t see these gremlins, you don’t know they’re there, but your LMS can and often can’t handle them, causing further operational issues.

Therefore, when you come to migrate this inaccurate, incomplete and corrupt data across from your legacy system to the new one, you’re really asking for trouble. Why? Remember you are  going to ‘map’ the data from your legacy system to the new system and although data fields may have a similar names in each system, they are often different in makeup i.e. the date or time format maybe different, the length of the same data field could be different, etc. Trying to do this is made doubly difficult is you have data integrity issues from the get-go – and that’s before ‘transformation’ or ‘data load’ takes place.

If the data lacks integrity, then the first you’ll know of it in the actual migration process is either when you see an incomplete load or worse still, ‘data load failure’ and then you’ll probably experience  ‘data shock’ – the uncomfortable feeling you experience the moment you realise that poor, incomplete and corrupt data has derailed your implementation plan schedule. It really is ‘the data, stupid!

In the next blog, I will start to layout a blueprint for success – now that’s really grabbed you!

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