The first step in transitioning from a legacy system to Slate is to do an audit of current data and process needs. Only after there is an understanding of what exists and what is fundamentally important to the needs of the office can an institution start to create destinations for these elements within Slate.
Asking the Right Questions
While going through the audit, it may be helpful to pose the following questions about stored data points to key stakeholders:
- Is this data point accurate?
- Is this data point necessary for us to do our job?
- Who uses this piece of information? In what capacity?
- Is this value something that can change? Or is it purely historical?
Knowing the substance of a process—as opposed to just the process itself—will assist in building objects in Slate that accomplish the ultimately desired goal. It may be helpful to pose questions that seek this underlying rational, such as:
- Why do we collect information in this manner?
- What are we looking to accomplish with this form/event/report?
- In an ideal world, how do our alumni/donors interact with us?
- What do we care about—and what is ultimately necessary for us to address those desires?
Translating Legacy Elements to the Language of Slate
Once the audit is complete, each institution should have a list of the various elements they wish to capture within Slate. Having a conversation with a Technolutions Program Manager at this point will be advantageous - allowing for discussion as to what the equivalent element within Slate will be.
Depending on their intended use, these elements may be a single value field, multi-value field, interaction, entity field, or standard field. A Slate specialist will be able to provide guidance—based on each school's unique needs—as to the optimal method of storing both legacy information and the future implications of collecting new data.
Once the translations of legacy data points and processes have been established, partner institutions can start the process of building the system elements required to house the information—the first step in preparing the database to receive imports of legacy data.