Inadequate Data Conversion Plan

Data / Content Conversion not given the proper attention

“Data / Content conversion” sounds like a technical task, simply moving data from the old system’s format to the new. Many associations assume that this is something solely for the IT Department and vendor to work out. Wait!  It’s not that easy. It takes an organization-wide effort to do it right.

Many associations underestimate the effort involved in converting their data and content to a new AMS, LMS, or Website and do not start developing a conversion plan prior to working with the vendor. As a result, the same bad data that existed on the old system are converted to the new one, and the new system appears to have the same old problems with regard to data integrity. In the case of a new AMS, duplicate records still exist, making it impossible to get a composite profile of a member’s involvement in the association. This makes it nearly impossible to do Member Engagement Scoring, and it is difficult for staff to respond to customer service issues. It also makes database selects for marketing and communications initiatives inaccurate, and duplicate mailings are sent to the same person. Meaningful reports cannot be produced. Old problems proliferate, and the AMS may unfairly get the blame.

The Framework guides you through the conversion effort: Although the vendor will help map your data to the new system’s data model and move your data into the new database (or provide the tools for you to do so), many other data conversion tasks are your responsibility. The Framework leads you through the best practices for planning and executing the data/content conversion. It explains how staff from each department need to participate in decisions about what should be converted (which transaction files, how much history, etc.), and formulate a plan to cleanse the legacy database of duplicate records and data anomalies prior to the live conversion. After test conversions have been run, the Framework’s Test Plan explains the details as to how subject matter experts should reconcile the data to ensure that it was properly converted from the old system to the new. A great AMS, LMS, or Website with bad data will not give you the benefits you are seeking in a new system, and the IT Department and vendor cannot make the conversion successful without the proper assistance from staff.


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IT Guidance Framework