Data Migration Is like Moving House

Nick Chin, 29 March 2019


I’m Nick and I have been working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for over 10 years. In that time, I have done many data migrations and I have also moved to a new house a few times.

There are many similarities between data migration and moving to a new house; I’m going to list a number of lessons I have learnt while moving house that has been helpful with data migrations.


Start Early

Both moving to a new house and migrating data is a time consuming process, so it is important to allow a lot of time to complete the move because I have always found it is more work than I expected.


Take Inventory

If you’re like me the longer you have lived in your house the more things you will have accumulated and while moving, you will find stuff you forgot that you possess. The same goes with CRM Systems and data. Therefore, it is important to take stock of what you have in your existing CRM System because you don’t want to accidentally leave data behind!



You can’t always take everything with you to your new place. For businesses moving to Dynamics 365 online there are more storage limitations than on-premise. Dynamics 365 will give you a base storage of 10GB for your Tenant (online account) and then 5GB per 20 users. If you require more storage, then there is a monthly fee for every additional 10GB.
So, you should ask the question “Do we need to migrate everything?”.
Doing a data migration is a good opportunity to clean your data and decide what you don’t need in your new CRM system.
Entities like Activities and Notes are records that can get easily balloon in size and Notes with Attachments are particularly data extensive. Therefore, you may want to consider if you need to keep records older than a few years, for example do users need to know a customer was emailed 5 years ago or had a phone call? Note for legal purposes historical Activities and Notes may be required to be kept, this can be archived in a backup of the old CRM system or migrated to the new CRM system.



There are many things to consider when moving to a new house as well as migrating to a new CRM system, hence you need to plan.

All the different contingencies should be contemplated, so if needed they can be planned for. This results in asking a lot of questions and pondering options to find the right solution to complete your data migration.

Here is a list of questions I will normally consider:
•    Where is the source data and what format?
•    Is there new CRM online or on-premise?
•    What is the best way to import the data?
•    What is being imported?
•    What order will the Entities be imported?
•    Does a particular entity need to be broken up for the import? E.g. Child Accounts should be imported before Parents
•    What are the Field Mapping?
•    Do Option Sets have the same vales in the new CRM system?
•    How do you map an owner if they don’t exist in the new CRM?
•    Are there Many to Many Relationships?
•    Do the imported records require the original “Modified On” date? (I will cover this in a later blog)