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Having recently joined the team at Vamosa, it quickly became clear to me that we deliver value to our customers and operate in a space that not many other companies do – at least not with the same level of success. So after we had done the ground-work and had a better understanding of the methodology, tools and data migration management processes, it was time to be involved in the delivery of a project.

Salesforce – a new challenge

Vamosa was asked to migrate a customer’s set of support forums – not something new to the team. The challenge was to standardise the content which was coming from multiple source systems and migrate each one into the Salesforce platform – this was a first for this target. Four source systems, each with its own feature and capabilities which meant a data migration process would have to be developed for each one – or a configuration factory to be precise.

Development frustrations

Vamosa have a rich history of working with a vast array of systems, for extract and load across many types of platforms and sectors. Interestingly, this was the first time Vamosa had been approached to perform a migration into Salesforce. However, a challenge the team often have is testing with production ready environments.

In this project, there was also the lack of a legitimate test environment we could use for development. Ideally, we would have had access to a test environment that was a mirror of the target production environment with regards to API functionality – that was in a constant state of change. If available, it would have allowed us to build a reliable ‘push’ connector, with an end to end data content migration process in the test environment that could be directed with ease to the production environment and produce the same expected results. We would eliminate any potential errors that may occur prior to changing from one platform to another. We improvised a temporary solution by creating our own Salesforce trial site which would enable us to use the API to create content. This at least allowed us to start development on a connector that would support the core features for our requirements.

From there, we started developing the content migration process for each source, starting with the two that were a higher priority, as they were the first of the sources which were to be migrated. As we began the development process, we came across issues with the API, the first one being poor documentation, the second, limitations in functionality that we needed to meet the migration requirements. To resolve this Vamosa worked closely with the Salesforce developers to get clarification on the documentation and also to create implementation requests for the functionality that was required.

Platform improvements

Our customer then decided to make some User Interface (UI) changes to the platform before progressing with the data content migration. These UI changes were crucial to the data migration result because they offered improvements that end users would appreciate – had they not been there, the system might not be adopted and users would perhaps resist change – and migration could be criticised as a result. Given the effort required to implement the change, the data migration went into a freeze period.

Eventually, the business units were happy to go ahead with the data migration, which allowed us to resume the development process again.  In the meantime, our team had maintained contact with our customer, still producing weekly reports and providing support when requested to ensure that the project could restart from where we had left off, with little disruption. Additionally, the possibility of getting a legitimate test environment seemed more likely as the customer was working on giving us access to a ‘sandbox’ environment that would mimic the production environment.

Moving forward with purpose!

Once we gained access to the sandbox environment, we began by testing our connector, verifying the functionality and confirming the differences between the system since the UI changes had been implemented – it does happen, as the API is often the last thing to be maintained! We initially  found some gaps and challenges with the environment which prevented us from successfully loading/creating content. Again, we worked closely with the Salesforce developers to recreate the previous environment to identify the anomalies and resume the data migration.

Although this project is ongoing, we have recently been able to complete validation migrations with a sample set of content for the customer to review and provide feedback on. The project has been very successful so far, and it has broadened our knowledge and opportunities of Salesforce; for example, we have been working closely with the Salesforce developers to understand and develop the API capabilities. This is a  positive outcome, as an improved API will allow Vamosa to widen its content migration capabilities for future projects with Salesforce.

Take the next step!

A division of T-Systems, Vamosa Technologies specialises in data content migration to cloud, on-premises and hybrid cloud systems. With two decades of customer migrations, Vamosa Technologies has experience with a comprehensive range of leading enterprise content management systems. To learn more about services from Vamosa Technologies, please read our case studies and whitepapers or contact us.

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