Editors Note: For this post, I decided to reach out to one of our most influential community members, Angel Magaña, to discuss one of his latest and very interesting projects on SugarForge.org. Expect more of these to come. Thank you Angel for taking the time. — Matt Heitzenroder.
One of the biggest challenges in deploying a CRM solution relates to the process of populating the system with legacy data. This is a challenge inherit to working with database systems in general, due to differences in structures, design philosophy and database formats, amongst other things.
SugarCRM includes tools that help streamline the process for certain scenarios, but others require specialized tools to simplify the process. A great example of such a scenario is that of someone wishing to port data into SugarCRM from an existing CRM system, in this case, GoldMine.
While it is possible to export data from GoldMine into CSV files and in turn use SugarCRM’s import capabilities to import the data, this technique is not efficient and error prone. CSV files can be difficult to import due to potential formatting issues, especially if one is interested in importing free-form text data such as that which can be found in GoldMine’s Notes tab. That type of data usually requires some level of manipulation before it can be imported via CSV files and it can be a tedious task. This is one of the primary reasons why the use of CSV files can be a frustrating experience.
An alternate and more effective approach for such a task is to read the data directly from the GoldMine database, but herein lies a challenge. SugarCRM doesn’t have any native features that allow it to directly communicate with the GoldMine database to request the appropriate data. In addition, it is also necessary to prepare the data for its new home in the SugarCRM database and that too is a task that requires outside assistance.
Enter the SugarCRM Express Conversion (SEC) utility.
SEC effectively addresses the issues highlighted above by providing an easy to follow, step-by-step process for migrating GoldMine data into SugarCRM systems. By directly communicating with the GoldMine MS-SQL database, the need for a user to massage GoldMine data prior to the migration is eliminated. This directly translates to effortless migration of free-form text data and the elimination of other data related issues that may arise when using CSV files.
To further streamline the process, SEC provides a simple interface for mapping GoldMine fields to the desired destination field in the SugarCRM database, fully cognizant of custom fields in both applications. Staying true to its mantra of providing a simple process for migrating data, the only other task a user is required to perform is to click the button to start the process.
All the necessary data massaging, parsing, etc. is automatically handled by SEC — behind the scenes. Upon successful completion of the import process, users can then dive into their SugarCRM system, fully equipped with their legacy system’s data.
SEC is freely available for download on SugarForge. It does not include any restrictions on the amount of records that can be imported, but does restrict the type of data that is transferred to: Accounts, Contacts (Primary and Secondary), E-mail Address and Web Address. A full featured version capable of importing Calendar, Opportunities, History and E-mail is also available for purchase from Acts Automation, Inc., a SugarCRM Silver Partner. A version supporting dBASE installations of GoldMine is in the works.