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Best Practices for Data Migration in Salesforce

Reese Bernier

Director of Revenue Operations

March 31, 2022

Many Salesforce professionals find it challenging to migrate data between environments. By keeping the following best practices for data migration in Salesforce in mind, you can streamline your workflow and enhance your chances of getting the deployment right the first time.

Top Tips for Salesforce Data Migration

The complexity of migrating data between orgs depends in large part on the volume and types of data you need to deploy. These tips will help you stay organized so you can optimize your Salesforce data deployment process.

Preparation

Preparation is key. Budget sufficient time to prepare for the data migration to ensure the success of the deployment. Add some extra time in case you run into issues, then:

  • Make a backup of the data in case something goes dramatically awry. That way, you can restore the original data immediately and continue business as usual.
  • Determine the purpose, scope, and timeline of the migration. Your understanding of these details will guide your actions throughout the rest of the process. 
  • Create a robust data governance plan. Data governance is critical to ensuring the continuous integrity and value of the data. Develop a data governance plan to pinpoint how to manage data before, during, and after the migration. Assign roles and responsibilities. Then establish how to validate data before storing it, and outline a policy for the storage of legacy data. 

Migrate the Metadata

Begin by cleansing the data to eliminate outdated accounts and duplicates from the migration. 

Next, sample the metadata from the source org(s) to determine how the data is structured. Then map the objects, fields, and values from the source environment to the objects, fields, and values in the destination org. 

The difference between the data model structures in the source and destination environments governs how complex the data mapping process is.

Make sure to double check the fields in Salesforce. All the data you want to include needs to have a corresponding field in the destination org.

Migrating the Data

Once you’ve successfully moved the metadata, you can migrate the data into the new environment:

  • Use a single source of truth. Identify which data to migrate to the destination environment by first determining which data is accurate. 
  • If applicable, mask data to protect personal identifiable information (PII), sales revenue, or other sensitive data. Salesforce Data Mask lets you mask the data in an environment when using Sales Cloud, Work.com, Service Cloud, AppExchange applications, Salesforce Industry products, and platform customizations. This is critical for security and compliance purposes in many industries.
  • Create checklists. If you’re using a data migration tool like Data Loader or Dataloader.io, make lists of all the fields you need on your spreadsheets. It’s also helpful to create a list of how to load the individual files. For example, begin with the Parent Object, then the Child Object, etc. Also list any data manipulation that needs to be performed between steps.

Migrating Relational Data

 

Relational data is typically challenging to migrate properly because relationships between records can be extremely complicated. Follow these steps to maintain complex relationships:

  • Ensure all records in the source system are assigned a unique ID. Then map related records to the relevant parent IDs. For example, if you’re moving Contacts, make sure they’re linked to their Accounts so that when you migrate them, the entire context is imported. This will allow you to look up the matching account for contracts with the unique ID, since Salesforce record IDs will change during data migration.  

After Checking Relational Data 

After checking the relational data:

  • Make sure the data types are correct. Ensure there aren’t any letters in fields that require a numeric value, for instance.
  • Decide if you need to use audit fields for each record. If knowing who originally created the record or when it was originally created is desired, turn on audit fields. Load the data in the proper order to maintain data dependencies. Always load the parent record first—for example, load the Account first and then the Contact. 
  • Validate the migrated data. Validate record counts and spot check the data by creating custom reports. To check if any data wasn’t migrated, review exception reports.

Benefits of an Automated Data Migration Tool

Data Loader, Salesforce’s free tool, and Dataloader.io both involve a significant amount of manual labor. On top of that, they’re time consuming and error prone. They’re also far from secure because you have to export the data from the source org to CSVs on your computer.

In contrast, Prodly is a user-friendly, “clicks, not code” data migration tool that leverages automation to do the heavy lifting for you. 

With Prodly, you can migrate as many records as you want—including complex relational data loads—to up to five orgs at once. Note that the solution eliminates many of the manual steps needed with Data Loader and dataloader.io. 

You can review the results of the deployment with a single click. 

Effortlessly Ensure Compliance

Moreover, the data migration software automatically tracks every change you make so you can effortlessly ensure compliance. In addition, because you don’t have to download any data to your desktop, the solution is just as secure as your Salesforce environment. 

Enhance Productivity by 80 Percent

With Prodly, you can reduce the time you spend on data migration by 85 percent—and enhance productivity by 80 percent. You can greatly improve your agility and velocity. As a result, you can capitalize on new opportunities and advance your business faster than ever before. For more information about Prodly and to request a demo, please contact us.