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LESSON - Data Migration: Lowering Cost and Risk to Move to New Systems and Applications

By Harriet Fryman, Group Director, Product Marketing, Informatica Corporation

Today’s drive to maximize IT value while leveraging IT to empower strategic business initiatives has also driven many organization to put significant focus on data migration.

Whether the organization is seeking to rationalize its IT infrastructure to comply with the latest regulatory requirements, reduce IT cost and complexity by moving to more commoditized platforms to combat the high cost of maintaining heterogeneous environments, or looking to implement or upgrade to the latest business applications—there is a need to migrate the data.

However, regardless of whether the migration involves moving from old applications to new or packaged applications, or from older application versions to the latest release, or from old systems to a new hardware platform, the prospect of data migration can be overwhelming.

In fact, many IT managers familiar with this often complicated and potentially high-risk process will postpone the move until there is such a pressing business need that they have no choice. Studies show that data migration costs can often escalate to 10 times the original budget or cause scope contraction and therefore poor cost-benefit return.


The challenges that make data migration costly and often risky include:

  • Older and legacy systems require scarce and costly specialist skills to access the data
  • Systems tend to lack up-to-date documentation so data content and quality are unknown
  • Often multiple systems are migrated to a single system, causing a need to resolve significant redundancy and inconsistency
  • The need for a number of departments to work together through multiple iterative designs creates unexpected additional workload and time overruns, despite the expectation of a one-off, easily outsourced project

Choosing a Migration Solution

Organizations should consider a secure, scalable, and on-demand enterprise data integration platform with the key capabilities required to satisfy the unique demands of data migration under budget and with greater accuracy.

Key criteria include:
  • Seamless, non-invasive access to complex systems including mainframe and legacy systems through a common, graphical, SQL-like interface
  • Built-in data profiling to discover content, structure, and quality of data in all systems, and reuse those findings in the transformation process
  • Sophisticated transformation capabilities with built-in data cleansing processing to reconcile all data and automatically document business rules
  • Highly productive team development environment with automated documentation and full audit trail, enabling disparate and geographically disperse teams to work effectively and rapidly


By leveraging an enterprise data integration platform for data migration, organizations benefit from:

  • Faster, lower-cost data migration efforts
  • Reduced risk of scope cutting, cost overrun, or project delay
  • Improved data consistency across systems, processes, and organizations
  • Increased responsiveness to the business

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