Planning tips

Planning is an important part of the success of any migration project.  Below are some steps you should consider before you begin.

1.  Determine how you’re going to test your data in the new environment.
We always recommend loading a sample of your data.  The Exporter software will allow you to use a random 200 contact sample or you can select a group that you’ve set up in ACT!  By using the group, you can add your most important customers into the group and verify that the new system will work with these contacts.

2.  Determine which users will be moving from ACT!
Unlike most cloud based CRMs, ACT! allows you to have inactive users. The users moving should be added to your new CRM for the testing process.  The Exporter software will allow you to reassign the inactive users but will keep the Record Manager field which will allow you to trace back the entries made by the inactive users.

3.   Plan the business structure.
Most contemporary CRM’s use an Account/Contact and Lead model to categorize the contacts within the database. Historically, ACT! has been contact-centric.  While ACT! did provide the ability to use Companies, most people didn’t.  If an ACT! contact is not assigned to a Company, the Exporter software will create the Account.  Accounts can be created using several criterion, name, name+city, name+state and name+zip.  How you create the Accounts will depend on how your sales team works with the Accounts.The Salesforce for Dummies book defines an Account, Contacts and Leads as … “the account record”  is supported by other records (contacts, opportunities, cases, activates etc.) that give you a complete view of your customer.  “the contact record”  is a collection of data that consists of the information on a person you do business with.   “the lead” is a person or a company that might be interested in your services.
You can split your ACT! database into Contacts and Leads by using groups and using the Group filter option of the Exporter to first export the Accounts/Contacts and then the Leads.  While this two-step process may seem a bit tedious, doing it up-front is far easier than attempting to do it after import.

4.  Determine which data fields will be transferred
ACT! has no restrictions on how many user fields you create.  Most CRM software packages do have limits.  So, you need to set some realistic design limits about which of the ACT! fields will migrate and on which record they will reside.  Many ACT! users have fields assigned to contacts that really should be on the Account record.  The Exporter software will produce a report labeled Migration Summary.  This will show you all your user fields in ACT! and how they have been used.  If a field is only used on 1% of your records, it’s unlikely that it will be used more in the future.
Since cloud base systems use browsers, you do not have a graphical display and can’t squeeze tons of fields into a small space.  So, don’t confuse your users with tons of data.  Pick what is pertinent and shed the rest.

5.  Limit your historical data.
ACT! seems to be the perfect solution for hoarders.  We’ve seen databases where there were several GBs of data dating back to the DOS days of ACT!  Is this data really viable?  By keeping outdated data around, it clutters the data presented and the users loose the true focus which should be the current stuff.
The Exporter software will allow you to filter out old records for each of the ACT! tables.
You also need to understand how the historical data will be used.  Some CRM software limits things like searches.  For example, Salesforce will archive data older than 1 year.  So if you plan to search this data, you need to make sure you have the archive parameters changed for your database.

6.  Load and test the sample.
This is a critical part of the process. It’s imperative that users understand and participate in this test.  We’ve seen many cases where the data looked OK the the tech person.  But after loading a few GBs of data, a few users simply can’t live with the new solution.  Backing out and redoing is a time consuming and costly process that should be definitely avoided.   Remember, most users will avoid new things.  They’re comfortable using ACT! and trying the new software will slow down their day.   So make sure they’ve logged on and used the new stuff.  Most cloud-based software will have statistics on that.

7.  Get some preliminary training done.
We like to see the training done using the test load. This way users can see their data in the new software.  Training at this time can be the basic concepts like how Accounts are defined.  Each migrating user should try to complete their normal daily ACT! tasks.  Enter a new Lead, schedule a call with an existing customer, generate their favorite report, create a new Opportunity etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *