data migration

How to Make Data Migration a Thing of the Past

When a business begins a relationship with a cloud service provider, large data migrations are typically among the first tasks they have to deal with. It can be a major headache – so wouldn’t it be great if there was an alternative?

Rolling out a new SaaS product is a game-changing time for any company, but there are always concerns around compliance and processes requirements. It’s generally taken for granted that a large-scale deployment of a product like Zendesk is going to mean moving around a lot of user data.

The babelforce response to this is pretty simple – if you want to hold on to your own data, then you should be able to.

Is retaining your own data really viable?

Although it has become the norm, the dependency of most SaaS products on data migrations is a major shortcoming. Considering the time and effort that go into exporting user data, plus the risks involved, there is clearly an appetite for a different approach.

In reality it’s totally plausible for clients to keep their data, and avoid the risks that come with transferring off-site. A 2016 study showed that around 32% of companies had lost data due to migration errors when moving critical business solutions to the cloud. This suggests that limiting migrations is not only feasible – it’s highly advisable.

[bctt tweet=”46% of abandoned #SaaS sales failed because prospects didn’t trust the vendor with their data” username=”babelforce”]

Our alternative is a just-in-time and need-to-know approach. That means we only transfer the data that is needed, when it’s needed – and we only hold onto it if that’s essential to your processes. Sensitive information does not need to exist outside of the systems you control.

So how does this affect your Zendesk deployment? The short answer is that you can run a lot of your helpdesk and customer service processes with full autonomy over what data you load and store within Zendesk itself.

Consider the simple example of performing an outbound call: the only data we need from you is the recipient’s telephone number and a unique reference code. The call itself doesn’t need to “know” anything, and the reference number can be totally meaningless to us.

You can use the reference number to inform your systems that a call is about to be connected, and you can deliver the additional data to an agent using an app in Zendesk – all without needing to share anything confidential with either Zendesk or babelforce.

Which raises the question – why does seemingly every other SaaS vendor require users to upload all their data?

babelforce and Zendesk integrate superbly easily.


Vendors start out targeting small businesses

The majority of SaaS vendors market their wares to small operations. The kind of clients they can expect to attract have relatively little data to move, and their migrations don’t require much effort.

A start-up will probably not worry much about the implications of such a small data migration – in fact, very small companies may even get better data security from a third party than they can provide in-house. Of course, the same is not true of large enterprises. The scale, variety, and complexity of enterprise data increases the opportunity for error and damage dramatically.

Just-in-time takes longer to design

Creating a just-in-time approach takes effort. From the babelforce perspective, the greater upfront investment of effort we make is worth the reward – a more attractive offering, greater peace of mind for our clients, and a far simpler integration.

When other vendor do not bother it’s because, frankly, they don’t think they need to. In this sense, data migration is all about benefit for the vendor rather than the client.

This is beginning to change though, and we aim to be a driving force in that change.

Data migration makes SaaS products more ‘sticky’

Taking control of customer data can actually be a deliberate part of a vendor’s strategy. If it’s difficult to retrieve stored data, clients will think twice before taking their business elsewhere, even when they’re not happy with the service.

This kind of stickiness is a substitute for quality. We want customers to stay with us because they value what we offer them, not because it would be too much hassle to leave.

babelforce can help to bring out the best in Zendesk, and allows users to benefit fully from the API economy. For us, stickiness means customers who can’t remember how they got by without us.

integration with zendesk

It’s just a bad habit

Finally, the reliance on data migration can just be a design error. Older SaaS tools have historically been designed this way, and newer ones follow the same pattern regardless of technological change.

Designers often make a basic conceptual error about the domain their product is working in, and don’t get to grips with exactly what data is needed, when it is needed, and for how long.

No large organisation should be drawn into this small business approach. Appropriate platforms and mechanisms are needed that allow end-users to take advantage of cloud deployments without risky data migrations.

The outcome is essentially a ‘hybrid-cloud’ approach. Hybrid cloud can be the best of both worlds, allowing businesses to benefit from a virtualized processing capability running on rented server space while keeping data wherever they want.

So have your cake and eat it! Larger businesses can enjoy Zendesk’s multichannel helpdesk solutions, while integrating data and operations in a way that fulfils all of their requirements.

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