Migrating Data Into Fund Management Software
By Jason Viado
Using a fund management software tool such as AIM is a great way to consolidate all your data into one easy location. So in order to migrate your data into a fund manager software, you first need to consider is the source of the existing data. Many of our clients come to us with basic data such as names, companies, and contact information within a very flat database file such as outlook or a spreadsheet. And by “flat,” we mean that each contact, for example, has a company name listed, but there is not hierarchical relationship within the database allowing you to look at a company record and see all the contacts within that company.
If the data comes from a flat file, there is more planning and work involved in determining what fields go on what tables. For example, if you want to have a field where you enter a website address, many people store that information on a contact record, but individuals do not usually have personal websites; that’s something usually associated with an organization. So the website field should live on the account record. If you are getting into data tables more specific to using private equity software like fundraising, pipeline, and investments, you’re going to make similar decisions around what data you’re tracking currently and which table is it most appropriate to associate it with. For example, should the “close date” field live on a potential pipeline record or on the investment table? Or maybe it should live on both, in which case you’re going to want that data to be automatically copied from one table to another to ensure data integrity.
When you’re importing data for Private Equity specific tables such as fundraising or portfolio management, you will want to normalize the data, which is to say, for example, convert all of the numbers to the same format. If you import some dollar amounts as $20M and some as $20,000,000, your data will be inconsistent. Also, when you are normalizing data it is important to remember that some organizations use different variations of their name. Our company Application Experts, for example, often goes by App-X. So before importing contact and account information for people associated with our company, you will want to make sure the same name is used for all records.
De-duping, or removing duplicate records, is perhaps the most important aspect of a clean import and the most often overlooked. Check out our fund management client webinar that talks about de-duping. This is particularly important if you are importing records from individuals’ Outlook address books or from their own spreadsheets, it is very likely that people in the same organization will have the same people in their address books.
One final word of caution: many clients are inclined to import data first and clean up that data or “de-dupe” after it is imported, thinking that it is best to simply just get the data into the system first. We can speak from experience that that is a bad idea.
Want to learn more about migrating data and how to use our fund management software, contact us today at +1 800-914-9120 to take advantage of our free demo.