Migration vs. Integration

In the world of data movement, migration and integration are sometimes mistaken for the same thing. If anyone understands this common mix up very well, it’s VL OMNI. As an expert data integrator, every so often lines get crossed and a migration request mistakenly ends up with us.

The confusion is understandable given both migration and integration involve the moving of data. Both are also complex processes usually dealt with by experts, and the market is still catching up to what the experts already know. But if you dig a bit deeper into either, it’s easy to see just exactly how data migration and data integration are very different processes.

Data Migration

Migration is the act of moving from one part of something to another. Data migration is the movement or action of moving data.

The key with migration is that no change is applied to what’s being moved. It’s simply taking what exists, and relocating it. In the world of data, migration means packing up all your data and shifting it over somewhere else and usually comes into play when businesses want to implement a new system, application, or storage capabilities for their corporate data.  An increasingly common business case for migration these days is migrating from one ecommerce platform to another. This involves extracting all data from the site and storing it until the implementation is complete before eventually re-adding the data to the new platform. While some data cleansing, unification, and field matching may happen as a part of this broader process, the core of the data itself is not being modified. Migration, by nature, works with existing (historic) data.

Data Integration

At the most basic, integration alters the data by not only moving the data between applications, channels, and trading partners but by combining and translating the data packages between sources and targets. In the world of VL OMNI, we move data between applications (either one-to-one, or one-to-many), but we also apply discreet business rules to the data as it moves, fundamentally changing the data itself. Data integration is a present and future-looking process, compared to the static packaging and moving that data migration does.

By modifying what it moves, data integration has a broader impact on your business. Customer experience can be honed and refined through how your data is automated between your ecommerce platform and back-end technologies. Business intelligence becomes more strategic with automated data moving to and from all your applications. Great data integrators like VL OMNI will even arrange your applications to match corporate strategy and maximize growth and agility. Visibility increases across the organization while inefficient processes are managed out where possible.

Data integration is a strategic endeavor.

Data migration, in comparison, does none of this. Data migration is tactical: what you had in your old application will be what you get in your new application, more or less. Data integration is quickly becoming a vital piece of any business, but especially for multi-channel retailers. Being able to automate part or all of the supply chain allows your company to scale and grow. Scalability and growth are vital to keeping up in an ever-changing and competitive market, no matter if you’re a small to medium sized business or a large enterprise.

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