Government Data Migration: A Guide to Retiring Legacy Systems

How government data migration allows federal and state agencies to retire legacy technology debt and unlock the full potential of their data.
September 1, 2023
government data migration

In an era characterized by the relentless pace of technological evolution, governmental organizations at the state and federal levels are increasingly recognizing the imperative of harnessing advanced data solutions to drive more efficient, cost-effective operations and facilitate evidence-based governance. Unfortunately, many agencies in the public sector have struggled to keep up with their private sector peers when it comes to the security, automation, and innovation of their data practices, and are still largely encumbered by troves of data living in legacy systems, including Teradata, Netezza, Oracle, and others.

In order to navigate the challenges of an increasingly data-driven world, the migration of data to modern cloud platforms like the Snowflake Data Cloud is becoming increasingly imperative for realizing a more agile, secure, and future-ready governance framework. That said, large-scale migration projects can be labor-intensive, costly, and time-consuming to orchestrate internally, to say nothing of finding and retaining talent with the kinds of experience necessary to structure and perform this kind of migration successfully.

Learn how public sector organizations are leveraging Hakkoda’s data teams and migration centers of excellence to drive efficiency and value throughout the data migration journey.

The Hakkōda Approach to Large Scale Government Data Migration

As a Snowflake-recognized Legacy Migration Accelerated Partner with deep expertise across the modern data stack, Hakkoda deploys robust and scalable teams of data experts to provide best-in-class, end-to-end migration services while identifying and resolving common challenges faced by organizations during and after migration to Snowflake. Government organizations need a partner who can work to ensure data quality, security, and governance throughout the migration journey while accelerating outcomes. 

During the discovery phase, Hakkoda migration teams begin by taking inventory of a client’s existing data assets, accounting for all the different data sources and complex formats they will encounter during migration. Data protection and privacy measures are prioritized from the very beginning of the process, allowing our teams to anticipate and resolve any security issues that might emerge at later stages. These measures are especially crucial in the public sector, where agencies work with large quantities of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data that must be securely stored and regulated.

Another key approach to mitigating data and improving outcomes for a cloud migration is the use of migration centers of excellence, or CoEs. These enterprise architecture functions help organizations drive efficiency and maximize the value they get from their data by setting cloud policies, applying specialized knowledge, and leveraging automated tools like Hakkoda’s accelerators to ensure the successful execution of data initiatives.

Building a Data Governance Framework: The Importance of Selecting the Right Data Stack

No data-driven organization can do it all with one tool. For federal and state and local governments, this is especially true. The highly regulated and distinct nature of each organization’s citizen services means that an effective modern data stack will need to account for the hygiene, security, and governance of their data at every stage of its lifecycle. Technology like Alation, deployed in combination with Snowflake, can be crucial to a quick and successful migration process. 

Alation’s ability to maintain data lineage and create a centralized repository for data definitions, workflows, and governance policies makes it an ideal tool for a legacy system migration. Eliminate concerns over losing data visibility even as your organization works to leave behind outdated Teradata, Oracle, and Netezza frameworks. To unlock the full potential of your organization’s data, plan to identify and activate the right tools early in your process. A trusted and certified services provider like Hakkoda can be the glue between these tools, making sure that your agency begins their migration process with a clear path to success–no unanticipated roadblocks ahead.

Deep Dive: A School System’s Data Migration Use Case

The choice to make the jump from legacy systems to cloud data warehousing is often driven by the former’s high costs and slow functionality. In the case of a large public school system, Hakkoda’s data teams were able to drive successful migration to Snowflake off of legacy Oracle servers. The public school system turned to cloud technology in the hopes of speeding up and automating data ingestion from on-prem data sources to Snowflake. Hakkoda’s team worked with the school system to ensure that their migration was incremental, monitorized, encrypted, and secured during every phase. In the course of the migration, they implemented a CI/CD integration, automated pipelines, and automated data processing through data orchestration. 

The results for the public school system were driven by these increased efficiencies as well as a rigorous process around cleansing, organizing, and governing data once it was in the Snowflake cloud. The school system’s migration made it possible for them to create dimensional models by subject area, emphasize business concepts and performance, as well as deliver BI data capabilities to non-technical users and enable data science. Once they left their legacy Oracle system behind, the future state capabilities for the public sector organization expanded dramatically.

Empower Data Science with AQPT & Public Sector Migration Accelerators

Hakkoda’s Automated Query Performance Tester (AQPT) is a powerful tool that automates the execution of data queries during the migration process, eliminating the grueling process of running SQL queries individually or manually cross-checking data during ingestion. 

The automation of these processes allows large volumes of data to be quickly and efficiently migrated, freeing up time and other resources for more mission-critical data science tasks. In the case of one of Hakkoda’s large public sector clients, a migration off a legacy data system to Snowflake resulted in a cost reduction of 60%, while the use of AQPT and other migration accelerators improved query efficiency by 85% and facilitated 16x faster testing. 

The impact of a migration away from legacy systems for this client was exceptional, allowing the organization to break down data silos and understand their data in new ways. Once they were no longer bound to outdated systems, their data scientists began working to analyze patterns by region, cost of care, and other metrics, as well as share meaningful insights with other government agencies able to benefit from their data.

Go Beyond Government Data Migration with Hakkōda

Data innovation starts with the right talent and the right technology. Hakkoda is a data consultancy certified across the modern data stack, ready to not only supercharge your data migration and streamline the retirement of legacy systems, but to help you reach your data’s full potential and unlock actionable insights through data science and MLOps. We bring passion and flexibility to solving your organization’s unique data challenges, combining deep industry experience with scalable talent to help public sector agencies compete with their private sector counterparts in an increasingly data-driven world. 

Ready to take the next step in your data innovation journey? Let’s talk.

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