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Using IDEA to Convert CRM Data

Go-Live Data Loaded in Record Time

We use IDEA to assist our customers with complex import projects, analysis projects, and development of customized IDEAScripts. We also use IDEA for ourselves as a data import tool into our enterprise CRM system. This month, we’re presenting a case study of how we converted all of our CRM data from a customer management system that had been in place for over 12 years to our current enterprise, cloud-based CRM – and ran the actual go-live data load in under 6 hours.

If you are entering into a data conversion project, this case study may give you ideas, no pun intended, on how you could speed up your data conversion efforts, particularly the go-live data load, using some of these methods.




Audimation Services, Inc. provides data analytics software and professional services to thousands of auditors, IT auditors, fraud examiners, accounts, financial analysts, and consultants across the US. We had outgrown our customer management tool. We needed a customizable, cloud-based solution that our sales staff could easily access while on the road. Most importantly, we needed a solution that would give a 360° view of each of our customers. Finding a cost-effective software product was the easy part. Getting the data out of one system and loaded into another system was going to be tough.

  • We found our data to be inconsistent. For example, we found the state of Texas had been input 6 different ways in the old customer management system. These types of data inconsistencies made queries return poor quality information. As a result, one aspect of our conversion project was to clean up the data that would go into the new CRM system.
  • Improving operations by making a data entry and data search more efficient was another requirement for this project. This meant the review and revision of every drop-down option list in the old system and mapping it to the appropriate choice in the new system.
  • We couldn’t afford for our customer management system to be down for even a day, so we had to identify a way to perform the go-live data load and the post-load data reconciliation in 48 consecutive hours or less. In other words, we had to make it happen over a weekend. And we did not have the luxury of running in parallel. There was too much risk that a customer might be incorrectly charged if one of the sales staff accidentally used a test instance versus the production instance when helping a customer.
  • User adoption is always an issue when converting to a new system. Data integrity would play a big part in the successful use of the new system. If the sales team couldn’t trust the new data, our project would fail.




Kurt Johnson, our Solutions Development Manager, envisioned using IDEA to perform the following:

  • Analyze the data in the customer management system to find all the data issues.
  • Use IDEA to develop the logic that would scrub the data to make it consistent.
  • Use IDEA to develop the logic that would take the scrubbed data and map it to the appropriate values in the new CRM system.
  • Use the history feature in IDEA to create IDEAScripts that used ODBC to import the “old” data, scrub it, map it, and export it to .csv files to be uploaded into the new system.
  • Use IDEA to test the remapped data
  • Use the history feature in IDEA to create IDEAScripts that would test the remapped data. These IDEAScripts would be used to reconcile the data after it was uploaded into the new CRM system.




Kurt spent several weeks analyzing the inconsistencies in the old customer management system. He tested the resultant IDEAScripts and was able to fine-tune them such that they could import the data, manipulate it, and export it in under 3 hours.

On the appointed day, we started our go-live data load at 5:00 PM. Our first step was to lock the users out of the old system. This was to prevent any data from being input into the old system after the data was extracted from it. We wanted no data left behind.

We ordered pizza at about 7 PM, expecting to be there until the next morning because not only did the data have to be migrated from the old to the new system, it had to be reconciled in the new system before the users could have access to it.

At 8:00 PM, Kurt announced that the data had been extracted from the old system, scrubbed, manipulated, and was ready to be imported into the new system. After a couple of unexpected import challenges that were immediately resolved, the data import was completed in about two hours. The team reconciled the data and we went home at 11:00 PM – six hours from turning off the users’ access to the old system and turning on their access to the new system.

We planned a 6-week “data observation” period to be sure the data had been imported correctly. After 2 weeks, we were able to relax as the users reported the data to be accurate. We’ve been using the “new” CRM for 5 years now and believe IDEA was the means to completing our project successfully with no disruption of service to our customers.

If you have any questions about this, or other questions about IDEA, please give our help desk a call at 888-641-2800 Option 4. Or email us at [email protected].

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By IDEA Help Desk Team
The IDEA Help Desk is staffed by CIDA-certified data analytics experts. Our team has one goal - to help you get the most from IDEA. In addition to providing one-on-one support for using any IDEA feature or function, they also provide Tech Tips to keep your skills sharp.

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