lf you have made the decision that a new solution is right for you, the next step is getting data from your present software to the new program. Each program is different in how data is stored but in most cases with some knowledge and some custom reports the data can be retrieve, re-arranged and setup for import into your new program.
The first step is to think about what data is needed and how you want it formatted. Many programs show address as a single block. But, if you are bringing this into a new program you probably want to break out the individual line items, city, state and zip to separate fields. You could export the data to excel and manipulate the data to get it into clean format but this can be tedious and, if you are not an excel guru, difficult. Custom reporting from within the program will usually be the simplest solution. For
example, in Timeslips, the standard reports show a single block. However, a user-defined client list can easily break the fields apart and send them to excel for your use. When no in-program report exists there are usually ways to pull the data with SQL scripts or ODBC drivers. This gets more technical and therefore more expensive but is another way to get to data.
Once the data is exported you can rearrange it in excel to match the desired import format and, if needed, pull data from one spreadsheet into another. Data ready to go!
lf you are trying to get data out of a program you don’t know, you should find out if the firm works with a consultant certified on the software. While no one wants to lose a client, most consultants are realistic and understand that firm needs change. The consultant will usually want to preserve their relationship and potentially still be referred to others that may be a good fit. The consultant may be able to help in getting the data out in the format needed. They will charge for this help but getting accurate data is
lf the firm doesn’t work with a consultant, search your network. Put out a ” call” on slack or talk to the vendor of your new software to see if they have anyone they know who works with the software you are migrating from. Another option is to go to the website of the software you are migrating from and look if they have a list of consultants. Then call one and explain what you need. Most will be willing to help for a fee. Just be aware that getting data out and preserving the connection information may not be quite as simple as you think. If you are in a rush, you might expect to pay a premium for priority.
lf you get a name, reach out the person and see how you can work with them to help your client migrate. There are usually two ways they can help (1) migrate the data for you or (2) teach you how to do it. Teaching you may be done as you working with them on the migration or it could be them providing detailed instructions and being a resource for questions. Recognize the value of their time and make sure they are paid promptly for their services, especially if you might work with them again.
Part of getting the data is checking it. Firms often overlook this step and it can be costly, as re-converting data when you have already started entering into the new program is more difficult. Make sure record counts match what is expected and do some spot checks. Once this is done, you are ready for the import process and then the pleasure of training the client on the great new software that they have chosen.