At Hart Square we have the privilege of working with amazing and inspirational clients who are implementing new CRM’s. A key part of any project is data migration testing. This is when the technology partner will import the client’s existing data into their new CRM ready for testing. The approach will vary depending on the project and implementation partner, but the same challenges and pitfalls remain. So, what are these pitfalls and how can you mitigate against them? 

1. Lack of internal testers and engagement

A critical part of any project is having the right engagement and resources from across the organisation. This is especially important in terms of testing data and it’s vital that people from each business area are involved, ideally at the start of the project, so they have the time to carry out data testing. They know their own business area’s data better than anyone else and will be able to spot errors or mistakes which can be raised and rectified. However, if there is a lack of engagement and people are not committed to the testing, then poor-quality data will be migrated or data will be migrated incorrectly. If this occurs, it can lead to problems when going live that cost significant amounts to fix. 

2. Lack of understanding of the new system

Even though the emphasis is on testing data quality and not functional testing, the testers of the system still need to understand how to navigate and use specific pieces of functionality. Therefore, basic and targeted training should be provided to give users the confidence to test successfully. Failure to do so could lead to poor testing quality as well as denting user confidence in the product. 

3. Complex and poor data

This is a common challenge in most CRM projects and poses major risks to a successful go-live. If the existing CRM data as well as other data sources, have a lot of duplicates and is of poor quality, it will make transforming the data into your new CRM very challenging for the technology partner. To mitigate against this, organisations should carry out a data cleansing exercise in advance of this activity to prevent poor data quality being embedded in the new CRM. 

4. Poor governance

Any project requires a strong governance structure but particularly when it comes to data migration testing. Organisations should have a test manager and data lead who work together and lead the internal team to carryout tasks including writing test scripts as well as make critical decisions that may arise during testing. In addition, they need to work closely and regularly communicate with the technology implementation partner. Failure to have that project governance in place can lead to lack of decision making, uncoordinated data testing and ultimately project failure. 


There is no doubt that data migration testing is a challenging part of any project, no matter the size and even if all the components are in place. However, by being aware of the challenges involved and planning accordingly, organisations can mitigate and reduce the risk of mistakes which could impact the go-live date. 

If you would like to find out more about data migration, download our free guide on Data fundamentals for successful non-profits.