Data transportability is a close cousin of Who Owns Your Data, which we covered 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, and I suspect that you have some existing data that you will want to bring into my system. Therefore, I’m going to do my best to try 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 as smooth as possible for you so you have a good first impression of the software and want to choose their software.
The import of data is typically done in various ways:
- Via Application Programming Interface or API (see Part 5 on Systems Integration) – If you are migrating data from a well-established piece of software, there is a chance that the majority of your data can come in via API with very little work required from you.
- 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 defined format before you can import it.
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, although 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 not only to get the data in, but also get it back out, should you ever need to move on from that platform.