Selecting the right software – Part 10/10 – Data Transportability

March 29 , 2018

Data transportability is a close cousin of Who Owns Your Data, which you can find in part 9. We like to think of data transportability as how easy it is to import or export data that is critical to your organization. We’ll talk about each one separately, as the Software Provider’s incentive for each can be quite different.

If I am the Software Provider, I want you to use my software. I speculate that you have some existing data that you will want to bring into my system. Therefore, I’m going to do my best to give you methods to import your data as quickly and easily as possible. It is in the best interest of the Software Provider to make this step go smoothly so you have a good first impression and will want to choose their software.

Selecting Software - Data Transportability

Importing Data

The import of data is typically done in various ways:

  1. Via Application Programming Interface or API (see Part 5 on Systems Integration). If you are migrating data from software that is well established, there is a chance that the majority of your data can come in via API with very little work on your end.
  2. Via file upload. The most common format for file upload is Comma Separated Values (CSV). While CSV isn’t typically difficult, it can take a little more time as you have to put your data in a certain format before you can import it.

Think Ahead to Exporting

When it comes to exporting your data from an existing system to somewhere else, the tune can be a little different. Keep in mind that it is not necessarily in the best interest of the software provider to make it easy for you to get your data out of their system. However, these days it is more commonplace with open-source platforms.

Before you purchase a software program off-the-shelf, make sure you fully understand how easy or difficult it will be to get the data in. Likewise, if in the future you’ll want to move on from this platform, you will want to know the ease or difficulty level of getting the data out.