Practical Advice For Your Salesforce Data Migration [Part 4: Communication and Planning]

The previous installments of this series focused on the data migration work itself, from scoping and analysis to execution. Part 4 will focus on communication and planning, two important processes that continue throughout the data migration.

Communication never stops. It’s critical to set expectations and keep key stakeholders apprised of milestones, changes, and risks. Planning is iterative. The plan today, as carefully crafted as it is, may not be the same plan tomorrow. Here are some ways to help manage your data migration planning and communication.


Data Migration does not occur in a vacuum. It involves users, stakeholders, and customers who depend on accurate and timely results. What you should know by now is that no one is perfect. People change their minds, forget key requirements, and miss deadlines. A good plan is flexible, detailed, and measurable.


Planning should account for multiple scenarios and be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the availability of resources and time. Being flexible means considering the possibility of delay. If there is a delay, what are the related dependencies that will also be affected?

Set a reasonable timeline. Not to sound cliché, but a data migration is like an iceberg. Most of the work is yet to be discovered. It’s hard to evaluate the effort of a migration before proper analysis. As you get deeper, more questions arise. When creating a migration timeline, plan around finding “gotchas” and having to work through them.

Timelines should also consider other business constraints such as holidays, end-of-year financial deadlines, and busy periods for the business.


Data migration plans are different from other project plans in that they require detailed information on how the work is done. Oftentimes, this includes a step-by-step plan that specifies what is done, when it’s done, how it’s done, and who does it.

Step Task Notes Owner
13 Extract Account Data From Source Extract Account Data From SQLsvr100 by running the getAccounts SP Jack S.
14 Load Account Data To Staging Table Run SP accountStaging. Verify Record Counts match Amanda H.
15 Extract Contacts From Source Extract Contact Data from SQLsvr100 by running getContacts SP Stephen K.

The goal of a step-by-step plan like this is to be able to hand it to someone who can execute by reading the steps.


Set quality benchmarks that can be evaluated during and after the data migration. This could include comparing record counts between two systems, monitoring error logs and failures, or monitoring user feedback. How many issues are users bringing up?


It’s easy to forget that data migration is a value-add activity. It involves users, stakeholders, and customers who rely on the efforts. It’s important to communicate activity and involve stakeholder groups along the way.

Involve Stakeholders

In part 1, we discussed the importance of understanding key business processes and talking to stakeholders. As with scoping and data analysis, the business needs to be heavily involved in planning the data migration. Identify the area and owners of data and make sure they have a seat at the table. The worst mistake is to finish data migration and discover you missed something important that could’ve been easily avoided with more open communication. While you may be reluctant to run a decision by a stakeholder in order to save time in the short-term, it will come back to haunt you in the long run.

Coordinate with Other Important Groups

As mentioned previously, migrations are not performed in a vacuum. Rather, they are typically part of a larger go-live initiative. Data will rely on integrations with other systems and could be subject to circumstances such as:

  • The marketing team uses Pardot, which relies on accurate and valid email addresses.
  • HR needs to read information about Salesforce users in their application, so users need to be mapped using an external identifier.
  • The ERP will be the source of truth for existing customer billing information, so information in both systems need to be aligned.

These systems’ stakeholders need to be aware of the data migration steps and timelines so they can work out dependencies, test integrations, and plan and coordinate schedules.

Data migration is equal parts planning and execution. An understanding of the scope and a clear analysis of the data will give insight into the level of effort involved, which stakeholders to include, and related dependencies. If your data migration is part of a larger Salesforce implementation, check out our DIY Guide for more helpful advice.

EightCloud can help

EightCloud has guided many clients through data migrations, utilizing a variety of tools in our engagements. We have undertaken projects utilizing Salesforce Data Loader, REST, SOAP, DBAmp, middleware such as Boomi, and Jitterbit, to name but a few.

If you’re planning a data migration and would like to leverage our experience, connect with us or download our DIY Salesforce Implementation Guide.


Author: Grant Ongstad, Senior Salesforce Consultant

After our first major project with EightCloud, we have done several smaller ones. The relationship is such that they've become a trusted partner we go to, whether something planned ahead taking hundreds of hours, or small quick fixes and solutions. They are there when we need them, without hard sell tactics to make monthly quotas in between... a wise way to keep a relationship."

- Mike Heskitt, Altair

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