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Legacy Data Digitization – Best Practices

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Legacy data is the data stored in an old or obsolete computer systems, which is valuable for businesses. IT systems regularly undergo changes including migration, mergers, and installation. This is typically accompanied by changes in the data contained in the database. Efficient data conversion services such as that offered by a reliable document conversion company is necessary to make sure that the quality and viability of the data is preserved and that its quality is not affected by the frequent changes of IT systems.

Legacy Data Digitization

When data is migrated from existing databases to new ones, changes in data formats may be necessary. The new formats must be compatible with the new database. Various data conversion processes can prove useful for businesses such as document conversion, PDF conversion, and eBook conversion among others. Data conversion is closely associated with legacy system conversion, and this has to be given more attention when a system change is planned. In fact, data conversion should be treated as a separate strategic initiative so that the conversion process is flawless. Whether medical, legal, insurance, or any other sector, the quality of legacy data conversion has an important role to play in determining the quality and availability of data accumulated over time.

A good data conversion strategy should ensure the following best practices.

  • The data must be converted into an apt format that is compatible with the destination database
  • The data should work in the new database
  • The data must be transferred accurately
  • The quality of data must be retained
  • Data consistency must be maintained always across all systems using that particular data

What are the challenges involved in ensuring a smooth and successful data conversion process?

  • Data complexity: When structured and unstructured data are merged, there are difficulties involved in converting it into a particular format.
  • Challenges involved in migrating data from legacy systems to new systems: Data migration is associated with high failure because of the size, breadth, and complexity of the projects.
  • Challenges associated with project timelines: When there are strict timelines to follow, completing the task can be very challenging.
  • Impact on data accessibility and data quality: When the data is converted, there is always the challenge of ensuring that the quality and accessibility remains the same.

So, how can organizations ensure successful data conversion, addressing all the challenges effectively?

  • Have a proper plan: Any successful data conversion project needs proper planning. Important considerations in this regard include the kind of data that needs to be converted, the quality of data and its availability, data to be moved/not moved, data conversion formats (SGML, XML, HTML and so on), extent of digitization, compatibility of destination database, timeline, data conversion costs, and frequency of conversion.
  • Make everyone in the business side of the organization understand the importance of data conversion in data processing and management.
  • Data profiling and data cleansing processes must be in place to ensure high quality of data.
  • Define and implement data quality standards helps to ensure data consistency across various databases. It is important to measure and track data quality and constantly review the effect on business value.
  • Remove duplicate master data to minimize the risk of wrong transactions and unreliable reports. Data management and data governance principles must be satisfied.

Legacy data conversion into appropriate formats is very important for any business, and therefore this must be efficiently done. Businesses that are implementing data conversion projects can benefit from consultation with an experienced document conversion company.

About Julie Clements

Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.