When you merge or migrate your contract records, you may find that you end up with duplicate records in the process. Duplicate records are better for your business than missing records. But they can cause problems for your business, especially when you’re trying to generate or analyze specific data records. You may also have duplicate records due to employee error: an employee who, for example, creates a new contract or new file for a client, rather than saving data in an existing file. Fortunately, you can analyze and identify duplicate records, get to the bottom of any challenges, and ensure that you have an accurate account of your business’s contracts following your data migration.
Step One: Define Unique Records
Clearly define how you identify unique records in your system. You may, for example, have a clear contract naming system that makes it easy to identify unique clients. But if you have numerous contracts with a single client, you may have several files with similar naming systems. You may also have multiple copies of each contract due to variations that the contract went through before approval. Before beginning your analysis of any duplicate data after a migration, make sure you clearly define your unique records and how you can tell the difference between unique elements and duplicates.
Step Two: Check Your Original Data
Before you begin your contract data migration, you should do two key things. First, you should back up your data. Second, you should have a solid idea of how much contract data you’re migrating. This includes how many files you should anticipate on the other end. While a close look at your original data won’t help you check for duplicates in your original data, it will help identify them after the fact.
A look at your original data will also help you determine whether your duplicate record resolution needs to be manual, automated, or some combination of the two. If you have a large amount of data to deal with, for example, you may need to automate at least a portion of the process so that you can streamline it. On the other hand, you may be able to handle small duplication checks manually.
Step Three: Examine Contract Data for Duplicates
You can use an automated system to help identify duplicates or run a manual check, depending on the size of your data. Since you have a solid idea of what constitutes a unique record and what your original data looks like, you should be able to effectively sift through that data.
You can also set up your system to create a report during your contract migration that will allow you to check for duplicates and catch them as you make the migration. This report can automatically generate information about your data migration, including which files have made the migration and which contract records are likely duplicates. By keeping up with this report during the migration, you can cleanse data as it shifts from one system to the next, making a smoother transition.
Step Four: Consult an Expert Concerning Those Records
Take a look at your suspected duplicate records. You may need an expert to evaluate those records. Consider:
Which records actually need to be consolidated?
If you’re using an automated system, you may need to look through those contracts yourself. It won’t be immediately clear which records need to be consolidated and which contain unique information. You can also set your system up to help consolidate duplicate records automatically. For example, the system may be able to recognize full duplicates or data that has been corrupted during the migration. Allowing it to select the right records saves you time.
How will you pick the survivor contract records?
Determine which records actually need to be kept, rather than deleted. You may note that some duplicate files have errors created during the migration process, while others are clean. If you’re automating the process, consider what attributes survivor records need to have in common.
Step Five: Consolidate Your Records
You do not want to keep duplicate contract records. But you also want to make sure that you don’t lose any vital contracts. Carefully consolidate your records. You can design a plan that will help put this together during your data migration. But you need to be aware of duplicates ahead of time. Map your migration in such a way that the duplicate records will map to the proper location. Then the system will automatically merge that data. If you’re handling those duplicate records after the migration, you may need to consolidate some of those duplicates individually.
Duplicate records are a common challenge during data migrations, including contract migrations. By preparing for them ahead of time and analyzing their impact, you can stay on top of those duplicates. Ultimately, this will create a smoother, cleaner migration with highly accurate data. See how the tools in ContraxAware can help organize all of your contract records.