Sage CRM 2019 R2: Migrating to Sage CRM (Part 2)

This is the second article in a short series that is intended to explore the options available to a partner when moving a customer from an existing CRM or contact management system to Sage CRM on-premise.

In this article, I want to consider the typical types of an older system and their potential database size and complexity.

According to Gartner's review of the CRM Market in June 2019, the CRM market grew nearly 16% in 2018 and it remains a highly fragmented market. Other products may have larger market shares but we see a steady stream of new Sage customers expressing a desire to move from incumbent CRM systems to Sage CRM. These are customer systems that their users find clumsy, confusing, or overpriced. Sage CRM is a strong niche player, offering full suite, Sales Automation, Marketing and Service features with out-of-the-box integration with Sage accounting system as part of the Sage Business Cloud.

Getting a sense of a typical existing system can help with planning but to quote the late Donald Rumsfeld, "because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don't know we don't know. "

Because I don't know what existing system any partner reading this may have to migrate I need to talk about systems that I do know. Looking at existing Sage CRM customers can provide a sense of typical system size. In Sage CRM 2018 we surveyed a subset of customer who had been using Sage CRM for at least 2 years. A caveat to what follows is that new implementations for Sage CRM have been increasing in the initial number of user licenses but that survey in 2018 found instances of Sage CRM ranged between 2 to 30 users and new customer implementations in 2019 to date are running at 11.5 users.

One of the points to understand about a Sage CRM database is that it holds both application data and metadata that describes the system. This means that when you survey a legacy system that you want to migrate to Sage CRM you will need to be clear about the application data rather than the full system database size. If a legacy system has been used for any length of time then it is likely to have seen considerable growth and customizations which may have been made.

The default size of a Sage CRM database is 70Mb and we found in the 2018 survey the average (mean) size of a Sage CRM database is 200Mb. With systems that varied between 2 to 30 users, this indicated that for many the importance of CRM lay with process and operational control rather than simply a place to store a large amount of data.

Of those Sage CRM systems, the database sizes were distributed in a bell curve around the mean of 200Mb. Approximately 90% of all systems in our sample had databases smaller than 400MB. The longer a system has been in use and the greater the number of users that registered within the system will lead to larger database sizes. A few systems were outliers; there were about 10% of all instances having a database size between 400MB to 900Mb but only 1% having a database greater than 1GB.

But a legacy CRM system will not just contain data records. It will potentially contain a library of documents. And that means we need to consider the total size of the storage for the system. This is the size of the documents that have been stored in the library along with the database. These are files that may have been mail merge documents that were then uploaded but would also include those stored as email attachments.

These legacy systems could be an old client-server contact management system but equally could be a modern SAAS system that just is not satisfactory for the needs of the customer. Each will present there own challenge for extracting data. For an older system, this may be a non-relational database or the SAAS system may only offer download of data as a spreadsheet. My next article will consider the options for extracting the data from a legacy CRM system whether or not that is dealing with a flat-file download to only being able to use API access.

Sage CRM 2019 R2: Migrating to Sage CRM

  1. Introduction
    • Starting to explore the options available to a partner when moving a customer from an existing CRM or contact management system to Sage CRM.
  2. What are the typical types of older system? What is the typical database size and complexity?
    • Partners should understand the size of the problem and the opportunity. Getting a sense of typical system can help with planning especially when they may be several customers that need to be migrated and it is desirable to standardise the approach.
  3. What are the options for extracting the data from a legacy CRM system?
    • This could range from a flat-file download to only API access.
  4. What do we need to migrate?
    • Any project needs to consider its scope with time and resources available. For the migration of legacy data to Sage CRM, we need to take quite a cold hard look at what needs to be brought across whether that is Business Data, Documents, Custom Entities and Business Rules.
  5. What are the data differences (structure, terminology etc) between the legacy system and a Sage CRM database?
    • We need to look at the differences in data structures and objects to understand the work that needs to be carried out to all the migration to succeed.
  6. How will we maintain data integrity?
    • How will you maintain the integrity of data especially referential integrity as the data moves from one database to another? We want to be able to ensure that all communications, opportunities, notes etc all remain the children of the correct company and person entities and that no orphaned or widowed records are created.

  7. What 3rd Party options and partner expertise is available?
    • This last article will look at the different migration tools and services that are available within the partner community.