“Getting your data into SugarCRM”:

- These bullet points are as chronological as possible. This is the typical order that I explain the migration process to my customers.

  1. Work with your current CRM vendor, or their support team, to export the data from your current CRM system into “.csv spreadsheets” .csv files are “Comma Delimited Files” These files can reside anywhere, even your desktop.

o       Carefully label and organize these files based on the type of data contained within them. (Accounts or “Company” records, Contacts are the people that belong to account records, Opportunities are your financial records, and your prospects will be imported as Leads.)

  1. Cleanse the data in your spreadsheets! Make them look nice and display the data in an organized fashion. Delete any columns that you do not wish to carry over into your new Sugar account. Also delete any “ID” fields that come out of your old CRM system. SugarCRM will automatically generate a new system ID for every record that you import into Sugar.
    1. Sugar will also automatically populate some of your date fields when you import. Be watchful of your date fields as you test your import.
  2. Prepare Sugar for the import. There are going to be “header rows” in your .csv files that require fields to be built in Sugar that don’t already exist in the application “out of the box”. These fields can be built in the appropriate module using Sugar’s “Studio” which can quickly and easily change the layout of your target modules, adding in the fields that you need. This step almost always needs to be completed before your data migration can take place. All of your data, even your custom data needs somewhere to go. This is why the fields must be built before hand. For help on customization, check out our Daily Demo schedule here: http://www.sugarcrm.com/crm/demo/daily-demo.html  You should also consult the “How Do I” Guides on the Studio editor located in the Online Library underneath the “Admin” tab in our Sugar University: http://www.sugarcrm.com/crm/university
  3. Once the custom fields you have created are ready for your import, you will need to complete one more important step. This best practice can save you a great deal of time and effort in the long run. Go into your .csv folder that has all the files ready for import. You will need to import the data into each target module individually. Right click on each individual file and “Save As,” then rename an exact copy of this file as something similar, but add a label that indicates it is a duplicate of the original. An example would be “Leads_Test.csv.”  Next,  go into these duplicate files and delete all but 3-5 records. This step will allow you to examine the records after your first attempt at an import to ensure that they look the way you want them to. Either way, you will have the ability to “Save your custom mapping” during each attempted import. Give this custom mapping a specific name so that you can easily find it upon your next import. One example of an appropriate name would be “Accounts_Second_Import_Attempt_1_26_2009”
    1. This will come into play when you go back to import the master file.
    2. IMPORT YOUR ACCOUNTS FIRST, ALWAYS. Why is this? Because if you import an account first (Example: “SugarCRM”) then any contact, case, or opportunity record that contains that same account name (with exact spelling) will automatically attach itself to that account record. A relationship between these records is automatically built. If I then went on to import 3 contact records with “SugarCRM” as the name of their account, they will automatically become contact records on the SugarCRM account. The account field in these different types of records knows to build this relationship for you.
    3. Always save your customer mapping with a detailed name. There is really no reason not to.
  4. Go through and import all of the data one module at a time. Once you have imported a .csv file, the system will notify you if the records were imported successfully. If they do not import, Sugar will tell you why. Sugar will also allow you to look at duplicate records that might have accidentally been imported into the system. You will then have the ability to delete these records or merge the data.
    1. Now that the small, test files are imported. It’s time for you to check your data. Go into the modules that you’ve imported and check the records. If they look good, you are almost there.
    2. Delete these 3-5 records individually or in “list view” all at once. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re sure they are completely deleted. Your entire instance should be clear of any data. Now you can go back through the same process and grab the original, “master” file. Your custom mapping will be already waiting for you, so you know that the records will import successfully. Still, check the records thoroughly once they’ve imported.

-         Another very important best practice is to break your .csv files down into pieces. Sugar can handle imports of several thousand records but it can sometimes stress the system. If you are having problems importing your master files, chances are you need to break them down a bit to get them into the system. Do testing of smaller pieces from the .csv to test this theory

-         Every data migration is different, so if feel like you are getting stuck take a break and revisit the process later. Also, send your sales representatives a small sample of the files you are attempting to import in order to get the most accurate pre-sales support.