Are you a data migration sponsor? A reminder of your responsibilities.


Data migrations are never the most attractive of projects to sponsor. For those who have sponsored them previously, migrations can be seen as a poison chalice. As for the first-timers, data migration initiatives are often perceived as a fairly insignificant part in a far grander production.

The challenge with data migration projects, of course, is that few organisations do them regularly, so there is often a dearth of technical ability internally and even less within the sponsor community. As a result, project sponsors often have no idea what their role entails because there is no one to seek advice from.

This can be compounded by external suppliers who often claim they’re a "one-stop shop" for the migration. The reality, of course, is that hidden in the fine print of your contract are some hazy requirements around "data extraction," "data preparation," "file delivery," "data quality requirements," "extraction specification" or any number of get-out clauses for suppliers and third parties.

So, as a sponsor, here are some activities you definitely should be taking responsibility for. You may not have to complete them, but you certainly need to have considerable input and oversight.

  • Pre-migration impact assessment: Have you requested that your team (or a third party) carry out a feasibility assessment to see whether the project is even feasible and what strategy should be adopted? The data gathered also helps define the scope and scale of your project.

  • Detailed contract review: Have you reviewed any proposed contracts and understood your obligations fully? Do you understand any data quality or other work items that your organisation will have to deliver?

  • Project governance: Have you overlooked how the project will be governed and how decisions will be made? A project steering group is something you would be expected to chair – or at least contribute to on a regular basis.

  • Stakeholder communication plan: Have you worked with the project leader to define how the stakeholders will be informed of progress during the project and what their involvement needs to be?

  • Data quality management: Have you been included in the data quality management process so that you are part of the decision-making strategy for signing off any remedial work?

  • Fallback Strategy: Have you overseen the fallback strategy for how the team will roll back any changes in the event of migration failure at run time?

  • Legacy system termination strategy: How will the legacy environment be decommissioned? Who will be required to sign off each system? What conditions will they want to make this a reality?

These are just some of the key areas that data migration sponsors often miss. What else do you think should be added to the list? Welcome your views in the comments below.



About Author

Dylan Jones

Founder, Data Quality Pro and Data Migration Pro

Dylan Jones is the founder of Data Quality Pro and Data Migration Pro, popular online communities that provide a range of practical resources and support to their respective professions. Dylan has an extensive information management background and is a prolific publisher of expert articles and tutorials on all manner of data related initiatives.


  1. Having worked in enterprise data integration projects for the past decade this list brought back a mixed bag of fond memories and hard-to-forget challenges.

    Each of these items are always a part of these projects, but some don't get the attention they deserve and usually become the root cause of escalations, conflict, and mental anguish.

    For each point I can remember a project where it was done right, or not done at all. For each point I can remember one person who saved the day or ruined it.

    It takes a team to pull these things off, but you have to have the right people on the bus - vendors, 3-rd party consultants, leadership, management and employees. I view this as the ultimate responsibility of the project sponsor.

  2. Pingback: Fresh Links Sundae – September 28, 2014 Edition from David Lowe of Disciplined IT and Actionable ITSM | Disciplined IT

Leave A Reply

Back to Top