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Episode Summary

In this episode Taylor Harnois talks with Music Shop 360’s data migration experts Neils and Jesse. They talk through common migration concerns for shop owners and how they address data when converting to a new point-of-sale software.

They talk about the solutions they have found to migrate historical data from almost all existing systems. Neils and Jesse also discuss the various types of data that most shop owners want to have in a new system.

Key Insights

  • Almost all shop owners have a data migration concern.
  • Owners can decide what data they want to migrate.
  • Help is available to overcome challenges.
  • A new system can be prepared working parallel to an old system.

Episode Highlights

  • Clean data is honestly not something that’s commonly seen through all the migrations we’ve done. There’s usually always something here or there missing. 
  • We’ll talk with the customer, sort of see what they even want to move over to begin with because not all stores want to move everything over since they understand their data’s not clean.
  • What I like to do is tell the client up front I like to take as much work as I can off their hands because they already have to run the business. They already have to sell and do all this other stuff. So if I can at least take one major piece off their hands, I feel like that makes a better experience overall. 
  • At one point we had to, we helped someone track down a copy of Excel that they could install on their XP computer so that their old version of QuickBooks could export.
  • So for them, it’s just they close up shop, send a quick email, and then the next morning they’re now using Music Shop 360.

Guest Bio

Taylor Harnois is the General Manager for Music Shop 360. Jesse and Neils are Senior Data Migrators for Music Shop 360, and they’ve been with the company for quite a long time.


[00:00:21] Taylor: All right. Welcome everybody to another edition of the Music Shop podcast. My name is Taylor Harnois. I’ll be your host. Today we have some very special guests with us. I’m excited to be able to introduce a couple members of our data migration team, Jesse and Neils. So welcome Jesse and Neils, and Jesse and Neils are two of our Senior Data Migrators, and they’ve been with Music Shop 360 for quite a long time now. And so when it comes to point of sale data, really they’ve seen the whole gamut. They’ve seen it all. Okay. So the reason why we’re excited to have Jesse and Neils along with us today is because point of sale data migration is perhaps the biggest fear or headache for music stores when they’re contemplating switching their point of sale system.

[00:01:06] Taylor: So, the reason really why this has come up is we just finished polling a really large cross section of our users and time and time again when we asked them what they’d been most worried about when making the switch to Music Shop 360, nearly without fail, each shop mentioned the data. You know, what’s gonna happen to my.

[00:01:26] Taylor: And so to be honest, we you know, can’t say that we were really surprised to hear that. So just to provide a little bit more context there. Apart from like brand new stores who are really just kind of starting from scratch and have never used this system before, most of the stores who end up making the switch to Music Shop 360, the overwhelming majority of them are coming over from legacy on-premise software systems.

[00:01:53] Taylor: So not only that, but a lot of these stores have been using the same system for a long time, years and years. And in some cases, you know, even decades. So you’re battling, you know, a couple things there. There’s tons of data and they’re outdated systems. So it’s really kind of no wonder that these stores are really worried about, you know, what’s gonna happen to their data.

[00:02:14] Taylor: So with that kind of context in mind, I wanted to spend a few minutes today with Jesse and Neils to talk through some of the things that they’ve seen, maybe some best practices, tips and tricks, and really some other ideas that they have that might help some stores who are out there who are maybe thinking about making the switch to Music Shop 360.

[00:02:34] Taylor: Or maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re just wanting to understand a little bit more about why having clean data is really so important to running a successful store. So again, with that in mind, welcome, Jesse and Neils. We’re excited to have you today. 

[00:02:48] Jesse: Excited to be here. 

[00:02:50] Neils: Yeah, thanks for having us. 

[00:02:51] Taylor: Yeah, for sure. So, we’ve got a number of questions for you and so just wanted to again, kind of pick your brain a little bit. So when you guys first start talking to a store who’s migrating data over to Music Shop 360. How many of them would you say are coming in with clean data? And by clean data, I mean, they don’t have duplicate customers or products. They have all their products in their system. You know, they have all kind of the standard information you would expect, like cost and quantity and vendors, barcodes, you know, mins and maxes or reorder points you know, that sort of thing. How frequently are shops coming over with totally clean data?

[00:03:31] Jesse: I would say overall probably like 5%. Clean data is honestly not something that’s commonly seen through all the migrations we’ve done. There’s usually always something here or there missing. 

[00:03:44] Neils: Yeah. Personally I would say that mostly clean data is something that I’ve seen maybe 5% of the time, but a perfect data set where I didn’t have to do any cleanup or any corrections on any of that data as it came in. I don’t think that I’ve seen one.

[00:03:59] Taylor: So, so it’s never happened before. We’ve never seen somebody come over with all the data intact, ready to go.

[00:04:06] Neils: Yeah. not perfect. Maybe one in the years that I’ve been doing it. 

[00:04:11] Taylor: Okay, so the majority of these stores, yeah, they’ve got some data, but it’s corrupt or it’s not clean, and maybe missing a few points and that, so that, I mean, that sounds like a pretty kind of prototypical migration effort that you guys are looking at, is as somebody who hasn’t really you know, they don’t have everything that, we’d like to have when we get them migrated over.

[00:04:31] Taylor: So, you know, I mean, it sounds like. If that’s something you guys are dealing with quite often, where does it go from there? You know, you initially start talking to the store. What does the process look like for the store? What is it they need to do? And then kind of what’s your role? What is it that you guys do?

[00:04:47] Jesse: Yeah. To sort of start off, we’ll talk with the customer, sort of see what they even want to move over to begin with because not all stores want to move everything over since they understand their data’s not clean. So some like to start fresh build that out. Once we figure that out, we’ll either work with them to get the data out or they’ll go and pull it cuz some of them are tech savvy enough to be able to do that. From there, it’s pretty much on our hands after that. We’ll go through, clean it up to the best of our abilities. We will try and fix some of the pieces that we obviously know should be in place. Usually once that’s done, I try and get back with the customer just to sort of let them know, here’s what I saw that was missing, here’s some stuff that you might want to adjust and sort of verify that, hey, everything came over the way they sort of expected, there’s no any major issues, and stuff like that. 

[00:05:39] Taylor: Perfect. So I mean, a couple things I wanted to circle back on that is so really it sounds like there’s really two types of customers, people who know how to go into their current system, pull the data, and then they send that over to you. But then there’s also a subset of customers who really don’t know how to access that data and it sounds like you guys. We’ll hop in with them and provide some support on that front as well. Is that right? 

[00:06:07] Jesse: Yeah, that’s right. What I like to do is tell the client up front I like to take as much work as I can off their hands because they already have to run the business. They already have to sell and do all this other stuff. So if I can at least take the one major piece off their hands, I feel like that makes a better experience overall. 

[00:06:24] Taylor: Yeah. That’s great and I think, you know, I think that would be helpful for a lot of people to know that as well, that, you know, if one of their worries is this data migration piece, but that there’s somebody there who’s gonna help out.

[00:06:35] Taylor: I mean, it sounds like. from what you said, I mean really we shoulder the bulk of the work on the state of migration. So you said that, you know, you identify what’s missing. You talk to the, shops about it. You fill in the blanks where you can, you get the feedback from them to ensure that everything looks good and so it sounds like it’s a pretty extensive level of handholding that’s going on throughout that whole process. Is that right? 

[00:06:59] Neils: Definitely. We end up doing a lot of screen shares. We have, both of us have seen plenty of point of sale systems, plenty of web store systems, and we’ve been able to get data out of just about all of them. There are a couple of very old systems that we’ve had… Let’s see, think I’ve had maybe one that just did not have a path for exporting what we needed. But just about everything else has played pretty nice and that system was very old. 

[00:07:29] Taylor: So , so not one we run into very often. So for the most part, it sounds like… 

[00:07:33] Neils: Seen it once. 

[00:07:34] Taylor: Yeah. So I mean, for the most part there’s gonna be an opportunity to, at least try to bring some data over. So, circling back to the the very first question, why do you think it’s so difficult for stores to have clean data? You know, why is it such a difficult process for stores to kind of keep that clean and that? What are some of the challenges that they face?

[00:07:55] Neils: So you’ve got multiple people entering inventory which makes it very difficult to make sure that it’s going in the same every time, you’ve got, even when it’s the same person. I mean, over time you’ll forget the format that you were using and you’ll do it the way that feels right and it may or may not match everything else.

[00:08:12] Neils: It’s pretty easy to, at that point look at a product and sometimes there’s even multiple codes on a product. So, say you enter a code into your system and don’t find the product using that code that you’re expecting to pull it up. So maybe you make another version of it that has that code, not having found the previous ones.

[00:08:30] Neils: So now you’ve got duplicate products. Over time it’s pretty difficult to keep everything clean across the board. Yeah, Same with customer data. Yeah. Uh, Say the first time the customer comes in, they give you their name and phone number. Next time they use an email, that’s what you put in. It doesn’t come up. So you make a new customer. Yeah, you get that kind of thing all over the place. 

[00:08:49] Taylor: Yeah. And so, I mean, it sounds like there’s kind of a natural degradation of the data just over time, I mean, just due to kind of natural process of maybe different people using the system and maybe bypassing some steps, and you know, taking shortcuts and that sort of thing. I know one of the things that we’ve run into is, You know, you’ve got a store who, they’ve got a customer walk in and they just need to sell a product quickly. A product that they haven’t entered into their their inventory quite yet. They’ll make kinda a quick ad product just to get it out the door and then they never go back and get that product information cleaned up.

[00:09:20] Taylor: And so it really just seems to be kind of a natural byproduct of time and utilizing a system that you’re gonna have some of this data corruption. and that, you know, I mean, it sounds like that’s really kind of impacting everybody. And we’ve seen that time and time again. And and so I think, you know, for me the takeaway on that is that’s why that handholding is so important, right? Because we know the data’s not gonna be totally clean and totally correct. Well, they have professionals, they have people who are experienced and have expertise and helping clean up some of that data, you know, throughout this migration process. I think that’s critical to, you know, for shops to know that those resources are out there.

[00:11:09] Taylor: You had mentioned one thing about you know, customers and the customer data, that’s a totally kind of different thing than just inventory data. You know, you’re working with individuals on this front and one of the big parts of that is customer purchase history. So, um, you know, I’ve been with Music Shop 360 for a number of years, and I know one of the things that we used to run into quite a lot is it used to be really difficult for not just us, but really any software company to bring over customer purchase history. And that really seemed to be kind of the golden goose of data migration. Tell me a little bit about kind of the evolution of that process. Has that become easier? Is that more common now to be able to bring over customer purchase history? What does that look like? 

[00:11:55] Jesse: Yeah, I’d say now it’s a lot easier, because yeah I was around when we had a little bit more difficulties moving it over. It was hard to always get stuff in the right place. But now I would say probably like 80% of the time we’re able to get sales history out of the existing point of sale which I knew was another sort of major hurdle.

[00:12:14] Jesse: And from there we have plenty of tools to make sure that it comes over in good enough format that the customer can see they purchased this on this date and stuff like that. We might pull a few tricks on if it’s old enough history, maybe we had the product be a deleted item. So it’s something they don’t actively see, but it’s at least there for reporting.

[00:12:36] Jesse: So they can look it up when they need to and stuff like that. But yeah, it’s come a long way. We still have a little bit of hurdles here and there, but it’s a lot less than what we used to have to do. 

[00:12:47] Taylor: I’d imagine a lot of that just kind of varies system by system as far as, you know. Oh, yeah. How, How easily that, you know, that day is accessible and transferable over into another software.

[00:12:57] Taylor: But yeah I think that’s been a huge change, a real positive change for a lot of stores that’s gotten, you know, to the point where it’s you know, pretty efficient there, what happens to a store, or what kind of feedback or tips do we give to a store if they absolutely cannot, like there’s no way for us to bring over customer purchase history? What kind of recourse do they have? Is it just keep it an old version available to them in their old system or what, I mean, what do you guys recommend, typically? 

[00:13:25] Neils: It depends on the situation. If we’re able to export enough information that the exports we’ve got are useful to them, but they don’t have enough of the right pieces of information for us to bring it in fully then at the very least they have access to those exports and those should be readable if, Determined that there are many cases where someone’s old system isn’t something where they’re paying a monthly fee or anything like that. And if that’s the case, then I would recommend maintaining, just keep the old computer available somewhere in the back office or something if you need to look up something that was from that system. Yeah. Usually if there are good reporting tools in the old system, we’re able to get that sales data now. But yeah if, we can’t, most cases there is a decent option where stuff that happens before and can still be viewed and checked out if necessary. 

[00:14:19] Taylor: Okay. All right, fantastic. Well, that sounds great. So, I mean, it sounds like that there are still some resources in place that we can do to help stores, even if you know for some one reason or another, they’re in a really odd, an uncommon circumstance that you know, that customer purchase history may not be readily available. So, so that’s great. 

[00:14:37] Taylor: Just kind of curious, like what are some of the common questions that you get from customers, you know, before they embark on this migration process, maybe during that process, and then after it’s complete, what are some of the common concerns that you guys get and how do you handle those?

[00:14:54] Jesse: I’d say common concerns like when we first talk to ’em, it’s sort of stuff like how long does this usually take? What should I be doing in the meantime? What do I need to do after the fact? Just sort of the common questions that no one will know because they’re sort of handing there baby over to someone else, since in most cases the businesses are coming to us, their business is their baby. So it’s just sort of that concern of, yeah, what’s happening. As far as common questions besides that, it varies. Because I’ve heard probably every question possible out there. . But yeah, we do the best we can to sort of make sure that the customer knows that we’re taking care of them. We will make sure until the day they start using music shop, that everything’s flexible. We can always make last minute adjustments. We will do whatever we need to do to make sure it’s perfect or as perfect as we can make it out the door. So when they start using it, there’s no issues. There’s no. pain points. 

[00:15:56] Taylor: Yeah. One of the questions that I have thought about is you know, when someone decides, you know, they’ve been working with our sales team and they say, yeah, you know, we’re ready to come aboard at Music Shop 360. They start the process of you know, going through training and onboarding and that sort of thing.

[00:16:13] Taylor: And that process can take a number of weeks, you know, a handful of weeks for them to get fully trained up and ready to go. And in the background, you guys are doing what you do and you know, getting the system, the data migration complete and built out for them. During that timeframe, they’re still running business, right? They’re still running shop. They’ll be working with customers. Having transactions on a daily basis, receiving inventory. So the data that they give to you guys initially, you know, looks one way, but then when they’re ready to go live, the data has shifted a bit. So how do you handle that, like what’s the process there?

[00:16:50] Jesse: Yeah. I would say overall the term that we use, and we usually tell our clients it is, it’s called a data sync and pretty much what sort of happens there is the day before they switch over to our system. Right after they close business, either we’ll get with them or if they’re tech-savvy enough, they go and pretty much export everything we exported initially mm-hmm, and send that over to us, and depending on the timeframe, we might work on it the second we receive it, we might work on it the next morning, but we’ll go in and update inventory accounts. In most cases with Music Shop, because they get a lot of new products, we’ll add in new products, we’ll update the sales history for all those new transactions they’ve had in the meantime, and we pretty much just sort of go through and update everything to make it as accurate as possible. Some of the changes they do, we make sure we don’t touch any of those. We have a lookup code that we either tell them, Hey, don’t touch this column like a skew, or usually we put something in what most of our clients see is an alternate lookup column, and that’s sort of a hidden area that they can see if they click into it enough. But it’s also just hidden enough that we can sort of sneak some things in there just to help the back end and making sure everything’s in the right spot as accurate as possible. 

[00:18:07] Taylor: That’s awesome. So, I mean, really for them it’s just business as usual, right? They’re just running the business the same as they always do during that timeframe and then you guys do the heavy lifting to go ahead and sync everything up right before they actually make a clean break and go live in Music Shop 360. 

[00:18:23] Taylor: There was a followup question I had on that. So it sounds like this kind of the initial migration you do is really kind of building out kind of the shell of it, bringing over data obviously. But really that kind of last piece is really just updating the data that you guys have already built in there. So it’s not like it’s another complete and massive overhaul. It’s really just providing an update to the data that’s already been built in there. Does that sound about right?

[00:18:50] Jesse: Yeah. Yeah. Usually when we bring it over we get everything the best we can. Then we work with them to make the adjustments they wanna make, maybe change the category structure maybe just fill in the blanks on some codes like barcodes and stuff like that. Make it the way they want it. And then once we get ready for that data sync, that’s sort of where it’s, everything’s sort of locked in place as clean as anyone can make data. And where we really need to step in and make sure everything goes smooth. So for them, it’s just they close up shop, send a quick email, and then the next morning they’re now using Music Shop 360. 

[00:19:29] Taylor: Awesome. Well, that’s great. So just a couple questions left for you. What systems do you guys see the most? You know, we talked about, we see everything from cloud-based systems to on-premise systems in music instrument, and You know, school music dealers and you know, people in this space, there’s some really big players that we see quite a bit. Who do we see the most? What systems do we see migrations from most frequently for Music Shop 360? 

[00:19:56] Jesse: I would say overall the main one would be AIM or AIMsi, depending on how long you’ve been with them. I would say probably the next big player would be like QuickBooks. Okay. From there, it sort of just varies and goes to the long list of everyone else, but I’d say those are probably the top two. 

[00:20:14] Taylor: Kind of a hodgepodge from there, but really the biggest ones.

[00:20:17] Taylor: Yeah. AIMsi and then QuickBooks and then really everybody else then, huh? 

[00:20:21] Jesse: Yep. And yeah, it’s all versions of AIM. I’ve seen all versions of QuickBooks. 

[00:20:27] Taylor: Again, you’ve seen everything it seems like. 

[00:20:29] Neils: I’d say yeah, at one point we had to, we helped someone track down a copy of Excel that they could install on their XP computer so that their old version of QuickBooks could export.

[00:20:42] Taylor: Oh wow. Okay. So yeah you’ve really dealt with everything then. 

[00:20:46] Jesse: Yep. 

[00:20:47] Taylor: That’s great. Um, One other thing. So, I wanted to ask about, so, you know, you guys go through your process, obviously, and then they start utilizing the system. We talked about really, you know why the data kind of goes corrupt naturally, really just kind of a byproduct of running business. But in you guys’ opinion, why is it so important to keep as clean a data, you know, as possible? What are the opportunity costs for a store if they’re not keeping clean data? What are the ramifications of that? 

[00:21:15] Neils: I’d say probably mostly you’re gonna have a hard time having good reports coming out. You’re gonna see a lot of issues actually tracking your profit margins. If a customer comes in and you’ve got eight versions of the customer, it may be hard to find the item that they’re looking for, if they’re saying, Hey we need to do a warranty on this or, we need to do service on this, you can look things up by serial numbers, so you can kind of track things down that way. But if you do have too much duplication or missing data, all of your reporting is gonna be a lot more difficult to use. 

[00:21:48] Jesse: To sort of add on that the main thing is just sort of time. The more duplicate there is or duplications there are, the more spread out stuff is, the more time you’re having to sit through and sort of filter through everything and try and find the exact thing you’re looking for instead of trying to sell the product, trying to help the customer with whatever they might need.

[00:22:10] Jesse: And then I know most clients tend to do like one sort of major update at the end of each year just to sort of tidy everything over, and if they sort of kept track of it along the way, that’s a day they don’t have to spend going through and scanning every single product or counting every single product.

[00:22:29] Neils: Music Shop 360 also has really good tools for merging duplicate customers or duplicate versions of a product. So as that natural drift happens where over time you’re getting into the place where you have bad data you’re going to encounter that when it comes up, when someone goes to scan a product and you see two and there should only be one, or when someone puts in a customer’s name and both show. The tools for correcting that in Music Shop 360 are really simple to use and very effective. . 

[00:23:03] Taylor: Yeah. So maybe keeping the data clean as you go. While it may require an extra, you know, a higher degree of attention and record keeping and detail and that sort of thing it’s gonna pay off at the end. Cause they’re not gonna be dealing with these massive cleanup jobs that they have to go into. 

[00:23:19] Taylor: The other things that I was thinking about as well is, If you’re keeping clean data, especially in regards to your customers and what they’ve purchased and things of that nature, it really presents an opportunity for these music stores to be able to remarket to those customers much, much more effectively. And you then, you look at a tool like Music Shop 360 that has a lot of automation in those marketing tools. Well, the cleaner you’re keeping the data, the more effective that marketing is gonna be. And then the more effective that marketing is, that’s gonna lead to more revenue dollars for the store. So there really is a real dollar opportunity cost if a store is not putting in the effort to keeping the data clean, you know, at least the best that they can, then of course there’s always the tax implications. There’s, you know, you talk about going through. reordering and buying and that sort of thing.

[00:24:08] Taylor: Well, again if you’ve got bad data, how are you gonna know what you need to get reordered? And so, you know, there’s, I think there’s really quite a multitude of reasons why it’s important for any store, not just a Music Shop 360 store, but any store. Yeah keep the data as clean as you possibly can, and that’s really gonna pay dividends down the road.

[00:24:28] Taylor: So, Jesse and Neils want to thank you guys for hopping in today and spending a few minutes with us. I know you guys are very busy working with customers and getting their information migrated over. So again, really wanted to thank you and appreciate your time today. 

[00:24:42] Jesse: Yeah, it’s not a problem. Happy to be here. 

[00:24:45] Neils: Absolutely. 

[00:24:46] Taylor: All right, thanks guys. We appreciate it.