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SaaS platform changes: Is there a migration model?

Is there a data migration model if a company leaves the SaaS platform it has been using? Read this expert answer to find out.

Depending on what you're migrating to, yes, there is a migration model for a company that leaves its current software as a service (SaaS) platform. A lot of competitor SaaS products will write tools that can "import from" another service. For example, I recently started using Intercom.io, and part of its setup process lets customers "import" from other analytics or engagement services, such as Mixpanel. It may not be in a company's best interest to allow data to leave its system, but there always needs to be a way. There are always legitimate reasons for wanting to export your data from a SaaS platform, such as backing up or integrating with other related services, so most modern SaaS providers offer some sort of export process or API.

The biggest question you should ask when deciding to ship your data off to a new SaaS platform is, "Who owns the data?" If you own the data, you shouldn't have a problem migrating away from one SaaS provider to another one or using them jointly. If the provider owns the data, then you may have a problem retrieving that information. However, most SaaS providers realize that they will not be the only place you want to use that data, so, it's more than likely they will have an option to export, or at least back up, your data.

If you're replacing one SaaS solution with multiple solutions, such as leaving a project management system for separate ticket, Wiki and code management systems, you may need to decide which data is uploaded where. Fortunately, almost every SaaS provider has APIs for importing and exporting, and with APIs you can wire together just about everything. The biggest concern may be in setting the cut-off date for your users to switch from one platform to another.

Before you switch SaaS providers, make sure the providers you're considering have an export process or API. It's pretty standard now, but you may find some smaller startup providers that haven't implemented that option or have decided not to so they can keep you in their system. Either way, the new provider you're switching to may have a solution because it will be more motivated to help you transfer your data than the provider you're leaving.

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This was last published in January 2015

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Have you moved from one SaaS platform to another? How did that move go?
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Beginning right after the new year, my company did decide to make the switch and move our existing SaaS platform to another. Prior to that actual process of making the transition our IT team drafted a full set of plans on how the migration would be done. Because of the diligence and preplanning from the IT department, the move to our new SaaS platform proved to be very smooth and efficient.
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