Journey to Escape - The Database Migration

For the business departments of County Offices of Education and School Districts migrating from one accounting system to another is a big project. It doesn't happen often and has probably not been experienced by most of the business staff. Here at Escape Technology database migrations are routine and we take pride in providing an easy transfer from a customer's previous software to Escape Online 5. Whether upgrading from our Escape Classic system or from an outside software vendor, we've been there, done that. The Escape migration team provides project management, system training, IT networking and customer support but central to a successful migration is of course the accurate transfer of data.  The migration begins by mapping from the previous system to Escape Online 5. This provides a design for data extraction and data loading. We can import to our MS SQL database from variety of sources such as MS Excel, fixed length or delimited flat files or, if networking permits, directly from another database. Since County and District level 'parameter' data is not always available from the old system, the Project Manager first works with the customer to ensure the necessary system and organizational level setup is in place. Once this is complete, the import of financial and personnel/payroll records can begin. We start with primary records: on the finance side this might be account components, accounts, AP vendors and assets; and on the payroll side it's usually base employee information. Then we can progress through numerous types of supplemental records such as requisitions, invoices, journals, payments or personnel related positions, assignment and payroll information.

As data is imported, some tables, files or individual fields will require translation or restructuring.  Individual fields are also verified against the previously set County and/or District parameters. There are usually exceptions to contend with, so these are identified for the customer and the necessary adjustments are made.  If there is a problem with the input data, we can perform multiple imports as needed. A migration is not just a bulk insert of data that might leave problems in the software. Records are moved into temporary holding tables and SQL scripts are used to verify and build the records into Escape Online 5.  Once data integrity is approved by our technicians, it’s open to the customer for review. Since the amount of data can often be very large, we usually complete data transfers in stages to make the customer’s role in data verification easier.

We are currently working on database migrations for the Shasta County Office of Education, the San Joaquin County Office of Education and the Chico Unified School District. For these and all customers the goal of the data technicians at Escape Technology is to make the entire data migration process the least disruptive as possible.