The real-world impact of data migration testing

20 Jan 2023
Why you need data migration testing.

The week between Christmas and New Year 2022 saw a perfect storm for US domestic carrier Southwest Airlines. Thousands of passengers were left stranded at airports, with no alternative flights or accommodation available during the year’s busiest travel season. Storm clouds started to gather for the airline’s customers when a rare weather event caused major disruptions across the country – it’s estimated that 60% of the population faced a weather advisory or warning during a period that saw at least 50 weather-related deaths. While other airlines managed to recover, chaos ensued at Southwest as they cancelled nearly 3000 flights. The adverse weather and staff shortages due to the trifecta of rising Covid, the flu, and RSV infections led the airline’s ageing IT system beyond its creaky tipping point. The legacy system could not handle the challenge of scheduling staff, and crew schedulers had to perform this tedious and difficult task manually.

The disaster at Southwest Airlines perfectly illustrates a dilemma faced by many organisations: the need to upgrade legacy IT systems, either to newer versions or to entirely new systems. While most companies won’t face as many confounding factors as Southwest, many feel stuck with their existing systems that they’ve often spent years developing. The risk of data loss and other problems might seem too great, and no one can afford to spend months or years at sub-optimal business operations to try and get things right.

Why you need data migration testing.

Research conducted in 2017 showed that only 36% of the surveyed data migration projects kept to their forecasted budgets and only 46% of projects didn’t overrun their timeline. Given these worrying results, it’s not surprising that only 19% of respondents reported the use of a testing tool. The use of an automated data migration testing tool reduces the time of execution which in turn positively affects budgets.

Data migration testing eases the burden of uncertainty by confirming that data was transferred correctly. This is done through automation which speeds up the process significantly. Data migration not only checks for data loss but also ensures that all the integrations within the new and existing systems work correctly.

The user experience within the new system should be at least similar to but preferably an improvement on the legacy system . Data migration testing will identify possible pitfalls before it becomes an issue that interrupts business continuity .

Data migration projects often contain millions of data points and represent a tremendous business risk to organisations. While it might seem safer to stick with existing software, the speed at which development and user expectations in all industries is happening will necessitate the move to more modern systems for nearly everyone. While the vast majority will be spared the drama of a major storm over Christmas, organisations have hopefully learned how quickly things can change during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data migration testing should form part of any migration strategy. Testing will reduce risk to business and give confidence that data migrate smoothly from one system to another. It can reduce the time of execution and improve the overall user experience by preventing disruptions due to data errors.

See how Inspired Testing allowed a large legal firm to successfully migrate to a new system.

Ansa du Plessis

Technical Copywriter, Inspired Testing

Ansa is an experienced copywriter with a passion for technology, science, and communication. She’s a strategic thinker and closely collaborates with the experts at Inspired Testing to create material that adds true value to her readers.

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