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Data Migration and Conversion

Practical Computer Applications (PCA) provides data migration and data conversion services to businesses who wish to continue to use existing applications while upgrading from MS Excel to MS Access or from Access to a SQL Server database to improve performance. Our experts can help you with a successful database migration.

Many businesses start by managing their core business data using a highly customized version of Microsoft Excel or MS Access.  However, they soon realize that they have outgrown the limited capabilities these products can offer.   Usually, the problems are caused by the need to support multiple users with the same application and a consistent set of data.

For example, the first exposure of some companies to the problem is when their team emails Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with data to multiple stakeholders to modify.  Then the questions arise.  Which spreadsheet contains the most up-to-date data?  What happens when multiple users make changes to versions of the same spreadsheet?  Is the data secure? Who will reconcile all of the changes?

This is when companies decide to migrate from Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access to a secure, reliable, and centralized SQL Server database.  Fortunately, end users can still use their existing Microsoft applications even when the data is in SQL Server.

The data migration process must be done with great care in order to keep data integrity.  Data Migrations present significant challenges in terms of the quality and completeness of the source database schema, constraints, referential integrity, and more.   In addition, the engineering techniques and methods can vary widely from one database system to the other.

Data migrations are a core competency at PCA.  Our programmers are experts at evaluating source database systems and at determining the essential steps necessary to successfully migrate your existing data management system to a more stable and scalable solution.  Here are the types of database migrations and conversions that are most common:

Types of Data Migrations

Excel to MS Access

As the amount of data in an MS Excel spreadsheets grows or becomes more critical in nature, it becomes important to migrate to a “real” database.  For smaller LAN-based use with a limited number of users, migrating your MS Excel spreadsheet(s) to MS Access may provide an adequate, cost-effective approach. Learn more about Excel to MS Access migration.

Excel to SQL Server

While MS Excel spreadsheets offer a lot of power to users and can be quickly shared and updated, keeping data constrained and properly tracking changes in a multi-user environment can easily get out of control.  If you have run out of columns or rows in your Excel spreadsheet, find it impossible to track changes to data, or are continually cleaning-up missing or invalid data, then it is probably time to consider migrating to a SQL database solution. Learn more about Excel to SQL Server migration.

MS Access to SQL Server Express (MSDE)

If the amount of business data and/or end users has outgrow the limitations of MS Access, but you do not require the Internet database connectivity that a full SQL Server license affords, migrating your MS Access data store to Microsoft SQL Server Express (also known as the Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine, MSDE) might be the right solution. This approach overcomes many of the performance, security and scalability deficiencies of MS Access, while preserving the investment in the MS Access front-end application. Learn more about MS Access to SQL Server Express migration.

MS Access to SQL Server

Upgrading from MS Access to SQL Server can pose many challenges, usually related to data corruption and lack of data integrity constraints. Practical has the experience and skills to successfully navigate many of the obstacles that typically block efforts to migrate data from an intro-level MS Access database to a commercial-strength SQL Server database. Learn more about MS Access to SQL Server migration.

Migrating to SQL Server often requires a data schema redesign for optimal data integrity, security, and performance.  Cleaning up legacy data quality issues is also frequently part of the database migration effort.

Prototypes are the centerpiece to our custom design-build process for database migrations. Prototypes provide a simple, visual means to communicate and verify application capabilities before development begins.

We can help with all these steps to ensure a successful migration to the new database system. Call us today at (617) 527-4722.