Building a Scalable Salesforce Data Migration Framework

Company mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are always complex, involving changing processes, combining two or more teams, and the consolidation of two sets of data with usually disparate data models. In enterprise organizations, it is particularly challenging to create an M&A framework flexible enough to a) reuse, and b) scale for both large and small acquisitions.
Photo of sky with clouds, with a mountaintop in the distance next to the beach.

There are three key steps that lead to a reusable M&A framework:

  1. Definition
  2. Preparation
  3. Execution

Each of these steps includes a group of sub-steps, designed to create the desired end result – a successful data migration. 

What are Mergers and Acquisitions? 

Before we get into how to build a mergers and acquisition framework and walk through the three key steps, it is important to define the scope of M&A included in this article. A full merger from a business perspective includes the pre-merger contract negotiation, financial transaction, due diligence, etc., but today’s focus will be on the post-merger data migration. We will also make the assumption that the acquiring organization leverages Salesforce as the core CRM, so the data migration will include a data lift-and-shift from either a) another Salesforce org or b)another data source toSalesforce.

This highly simplified architecture diagram explains the data movement that needs to  be streamlined for an efficient M&A framework:

Diagram explanation: 

On the left there is a data source. This data source can be a Salesforce Organization, a handful of spreadsheets, or a database. The goal of the data migration is to move this data into the Salesforce Org that will persist long-term. The diagram above is simplified as it does not include multiple source data stores, which is common, or a multiple Salesforce Org target, which is also common. 

The key aspects are the source data set(s), staging database, and the target Salesforce Org(s).

Thoroughly Prepare for Your Migration  

Preparation is the first step in the migration process, and this involves walking through some of the most common information-gathering questions. While these questions are rudimentary, they are critical to successful resource planning and expectation setting. For brevity, only a few questions are included below, though a thorough preparation should generate a full understanding of the scope of the project!

  • Who?
    • Who will be doing what parts of the project? (ie: Data movement, validation/testing, key metrics, approving each step)
    • If this project is a priority, what will be deprioritized for each key ‘who’ in order to get the project done?
  • What?
    • What are your key values? 
      • As an example: Salesforce’s key values include Trust, Customer Success, Innovation, Equality, and Sustainability. A recommendation for an M&A project would be Transparency, keeping full visibility of the process available for all stakeholders from the sales reps to the executives. 
      • See more about key principles here
  • Where?
    • Where will you stage the migration? This step determines where data will be stored during the migration including where the data will be transformed to mesh with the new data model.
    • Where will you coordinate with the other stakeholders? The level of coordination required for a seamless migration is high, so a clear communication plan is critical before fingers start connecting with keyboards! 
  • When? 
    • What is the desired completion date and is it realistic? A broad definition like ‘We will be done in 6 months” is not sufficient here. The timeline needs to be granular! Ideally, a migration is staged, step by step, with ample room for emergencies or unexpected contingencies.
  • Why?
    • The final of the five core preparation questions is “Why”, and its purpose is to provide a high-level view into the reason for this particular project. Is this project really needed? Or is it better to accept two systems on the basis of the difference between the two business models? 

Execution is a Multipart Process

There are three core parts of the tactical execution of a merger or acquisition project: System, Metadata, and Data. 

System is where you execute on business logic differences that need to be resolved between the existing organization and the newly acquired company.  For example, a core component of the system execution is a “lead to cash” workshop where you walk through the entire sales process of both parties. This is critical because none of the steps in this process can be broken during the migration, as this is how the company generates revenue. This workshop should include all items that are both critical to business operations and tangential to the customer process…including case resolution. This template can be used as a starting point to create your own lead-to-cash workshop.

Metadata execution is the movement of data model changes between one system and another. The required metadata changes should already be clear after the “lead to cash” workshop and preparation steps, but the metadata movement still needs to be scheduled and performed. It is wise during this step to ensure that you have proper change management procedures in place as well as a method to rollback metadata changes, if needed. Common metadata movement includes picklist changes, new record types or fields, custom profiles, managed package customizations, etc.

Data movement is the final puzzle piece and involves migrating the raw data from point A to point B. This step can be extremely complex, as it involves handling data relationships and potentially moving massive data hierarchies. There are several traditional options like Salesforce’s data loader, (owned by Salesforce), or third-party solutions. CapStorm, however, has been supporting this use case for over a decade, specializing in complex Salesforce data import and export operations, especially when there are large data volumes and complex levels of data relationships. 

A Scalable M&A Framework Will Streamline Your Migration

With migration preparation and planned execution, the end goal is a successful M&A framework that will scale for the next two, three, or even twenty migrations, turning a complex ad-hoc process into a precise and repeatable operation. There are several resources that you can use to create your own M&A framework including the:

  • “Lead-to-Cash Workshop” – This will help you walk through the end-to-end revenue generation process in order to make sure that revenue continues to be generated even during the migration. 
  • 7 Component Framework – Critical steps for data migrations including things like Account and Product data, User Migration, and deployment.
  • Go Live Checklist – Items that must be completed before a migration goes live, including a process exercise to determine how end users will be supported. 

Click below for links to the resources listed above.


Did you make it to Florida Dreamin’? If not, check out the full presentation as CapStorm’s Rebecca Gray and Equifax’s Sam Roberts spoke more about building a scalable Salesforce data migration framework:

Additionally, you can read more about Salesforce Mergers & Acquisitions from Sam Robert’s Arch-Force blog or check out CapStorm’s data migration solutions for more information.

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca is 5 year Salesforce fanatic and certified Salesforce Admin, Service Cloud Consultant, Sales Cloud Consultant, and App Builder. She volunteers in the Salesforce community, leading the Saint Louis, MO Salesforce Admin Group and is a former Lightning Champion. In her day job, Rebecca supports Customer Success, helping CapStorm customers achieve their goals for Salesforce data management.

About CapStorm

CapStorm is the most technologically advanced Salesforce data management platform on the market. Billions of records per day flow through CapStorm software, and our solutions are used in every industry from credit cards, telecom providers, insurance agencies, global banks and energy providers.

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