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A Complete Guide to Help Desk Migration

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A Complete Guide to Help Desk Migration

Jul 16, 2024
10 min read

Table of contents

A help desk is a centralized system that stores all the communication between customers and a brand. It is a tool designed to provide support, answer queries, and resolve issues that customers might face with products or services.

But like all systems, help desks sometimes need upgrades to stay current and effective. Help desk migration is this upgrading process. It’s when a business decides to move its customer support system from one platform to another.

This can be due to various reasons:

  • maybe the current system is outdated, 
  • or perhaps, there’s a newer system that offers better features. 

Regardless of the reason, the aim is always to enhance the support experience for both the customers and the support team.

If you are looking to migrate your customer database, this article will tell you everything you need to know about help desk migration. 

Key Takeaways

  • Help Desk Migration: Help desk migration is the process of moving data, processes, and functionalities from one customer support system to another
  • Prepare Thoroughly for Help Desk Migration: Assess your current help desk, set migration goals, and select a suitable new platform.
  • Follow a Detailed Migration Plan: Back up data, map data fields between systems, conduct a test migration, execute the actual migration, and then perform post-migration checks.
  • Address Common Challenges: Implement strategies to prevent data loss, minimize downtime, and ensure staff are trained on the new system.
  • Evaluate Migration Success: Use KPIs, feedback from staff and customers, and continuous improvement strategies to measure the migration’s effectiveness.

Table of Contents

What is Help Desk Migration?

Help desk migration refers to the process of transferring all the data, processes, and functionalities from one customer support system to another. It’s like moving from one house to another, where you ensure every item, big or small, is safely relocated to the new place.

For instance, consider a company using SupportTool A. Over time, they discover that SupportTool B offers superior features and scalability. 

To make the switch, they would undergo a help desk migration. This process involves moving customer tickets, knowledge base articles, and support workflows from Tool A to Tool B. The goal is to ensure continuity and enhance service delivery.

Preparing for Your Help Desk Migration Journey

Preparing for help desk migration is a meticulous process. Before deciding to migrate your help desk ticketing system, it’s crucial to do your homework. You shouldn’t start data migration without proper preparation. 

Here’s a guide to set you on the right path:

a. Evaluate Your Current Help Desk Platform

Evaluate your current help desk
Evaluate your existing help desk

Start by taking a close look at your existing help desk system. What’s working well? What isn’t? Maybe your current system is great at handling customer queries but falls short when it comes to reporting and analytics.

For example, imagine a popular online apparel store. They receive hundreds of queries daily about product sizes, shipping, and returns. If their current help desk system struggles to categorize and prioritize these queries, it’s a sign that an upgrade might be beneficial.

b. Set Clear Migration Objectives

set clear objectives before you migrate your help desl
Set clear objectives before help desk migration

Once you’ve assessed your current setup, outline what you want to achieve with the new system:

  • Are you aiming for faster response times? 
  • Or perhaps you want a more user-friendly interface for your support team? 
  • Or do you want a more omnichannel approach, where you can view all your customer queries, regardless of the channel through which they reached out?

Setting clear objectives ensures that your help desk migration aligns with your business goals.

C. Choosing the Help Desk Partner or Tool

choose your help desk partner wisely
Choose your help desk partner after proper research

Finally, the success of your help desk migration largely depends on the tools or partners you choose. Research various help desk solutions available in the market. If you’re unsure, consider scheduling demos with various help desk service providers. They can guide you through the intricacies and ensure a smooth transition. You can also ask them for a free demo migration to understand the process better.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Help Desk Migration

With a clear roadmap, the process of help desk migration can seem less daunting. Here’s a detailed guide to ensure a seamless transition:

1. Data Backup: Ensuring Data Safety Before Database Migration

Customer data, order histories, and interactions are invaluable. So, before any data transfer, it’s important to back up all your data.

Here are some tips that can help you:

  • Choose a Reliable Backup Tool: Whether it’s cloud-based solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive or more specialized backup software, it’s essential to select a tool that’s both reliable and suited to your business’s specific requirements. If your existing service desk allows, you can also export data in CSV files.
  • Schedule Regular Backups: It’s not just about backing up once. Schedule regular backups leading up to the migration date. This ensures that even the most recent data is safe and sound.
  • Verify Backup Integrity: You need to ensure that the backed-up data is intact and retrievable. Periodically test and verify backups by restoring a small set of data to ensure it’s both accessible and accurate.
  • Encrypt Sensitive Data: For businesses dealing with sensitive customer information, encryption is a must. Encrypting data adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that even if data falls into the wrong hands, it remains unreadable. Moreover, employing a VPN during data transfer can add an additional layer of protection by encrypting the data in transit.

For example, consider an online medical consultation platform. They store sensitive patient health records. Before their help desk data migration, they’d not only back up this data but also encrypt it to ensure patient confidentiality. They might use a trusted cloud service for immediate backups and also store encrypted hard drives in a secure off-site location.

Did you know:
Implementing regular data backups as part of your help desk migration strategy not only ensures the safety of recent data but also fortifies your data recovery plan. This makes the entire migration process more secure and reliable.

2. Data Mapping: Aligning Old System Data Fields with the New System

Data mapping is crucial in help desk migration. It ensures that the data from the old system seamlessly integrates into the new target platform. This keeps the data relevant and easy to use.

Here’s how you can effectively carry out data mapping:

  • Understand Both Systems: Begin by thoroughly understanding the architecture of both the old and new help desk systems. Identify key data fields in the current system and understand their counterparts in the new system.
  • Create a Mapping Document: Draft a comprehensive document that lists all data fields from the old system and maps them to their corresponding fields in the new system. This document will serve as a blueprint during the data migration process.
  • Prioritize Essential Data: Not all data might be equally important. Identify and prioritize critical data fields that are essential for business operations. This ensures that vital information is mapped first, reducing potential disruptions.
  • Use Data Mapping Tools: There are specialized data mapping services or tools available. They can automate the data mapping process. These tools can identify similarities between systems, making the process more efficient.
  • Handle Custom Fields: Most help desks have custom fields tailored to specific business needs. Ensure that these custom fields are also mapped correctly. If the new system doesn’t have a direct counterpart, consider creating new custom fields or finding the closest match.
  • Validate and Test: After mapping, validate the data to ensure accuracy. This can be done by randomly sampling data from the old system. check its mapped location in the new system, and verify its accuracy.

For example, consider a travel booking website. In their old help desk system, they might have fields like ‘Customer Name’, ‘Booking ID’, and ‘Travel Date’. In the new system, these could be named ‘Client Name’, ‘Reservation Number’, and ‘Date of Journey’. Data mapping ensures that when a customer’s booking details are migrated, they align correctly, preserving the context and meaning of each data point.

3. Test Migration: Running a Pilot Migration to Identify Potential Issues

Before fully committing, it’s wise to run a test. This pilot migration allows you to foresee any hiccups and address them proactively.

Here’s how you can run a pilot test:

  • Select a Subset of Data: Instead of migrating all data, choose a representative subset. This should include various types of data, ensuring a comprehensive test.
  • Use a Staging Environment: Always conduct test migrations in a staging environment, which is a replica of the live environment. This ensures that the live system remains unaffected and any issues don’t impact real users.
  • Monitor the Process: While the test migration is underway, monitor it closely. Track how data moves, how long the process takes, and if any data gets lost or corrupted.
  • Validate the Results: After the test migration, compare the data in the new system with the original data. Ensure that everything has been transferred correctly and that it functions as expected.
  • Gather Feedback: Involve stakeholders, especially those who’ll use the system daily, like customer support representatives. Their feedback can highlight user experience issues or functional glitches that might have been overlooked.
  • Document Issues: Maintain a detailed log of any problems encountered during the test migration. This will not only help in resolving them but also in refining the process for the actual migration.
  •  Refine and Repeat: Based on the issues identified, make necessary adjustments to the migration process. If significant problems were found, consider running another test migration to ensure they’ve been addressed.

4. Actual Migration: Transferring Data from the Old to the New System

Once you’re confident with the test results, it’s time for the real deal. This step involves the entire database migration. Ensure that every bit of information is accurately transferred.

Here’s how you can effectively execute this step:

  • Schedule the Migration Service: Choose a time when customer support traffic is at its lowest, often during off-peak hours or weekends. This minimizes disruptions to customers and the support team.
  • Notify Stakeholders: Inform all relevant parties about the migration. This includes internal teams, such as customer support and IT, as well as customers if there might be any noticeable service interruptions.
  • Follow the Mapping Document: Use the data mapping document created during the preparation phase as a guide. Ensure that each data field from the old system is correctly transferred to its designated place in the new system.
  • Monitor the Migration: Constantly oversee the migration process. Look out for any errors or interruptions, and have a team ready to address issues as they arise.
  • Maintain Data Integrity: As data is transferred, ensure it remains consistent and unaltered. Any discrepancies can lead to functional issues or miscommunication with customers.
  • Backup During Migration: Even though a primary backup was taken before starting, consider periodic backups during the migration. This provides additional safety layers in case of unforeseen issues.
  • Confirm Successful Transfer: Once the migration is complete, verify that all data has been transferred. Cross-check key data points to ensure nothing was missed or duplicated.

Post-Migration Checks: Ensuring Data Integrity and Functionality

Post-migration checks are vital to ensure that the transition is successful. It ensures that the new help desk system is fully operational. 

Here’s how you can conduct these checks:

  • Functionality Testing: After the full migration is done, test the various functionalities of the new help desk. This includes ticket creation, response times, reporting features, and any other specific features the system offers. Ensure they all work as intended.
  • End-user Feedback: Gather feedback from the end users of the system, typically the customer support team. They can provide insights into any issues they face or improvements in the new system compared to the old one.
  • Customer Experience Checks: Monitor customer interactions on the new help desk. Ensure that customers can raise tickets, check their status, and interact without any hitches. Their experience should be as smooth, if not smoother, than before.
  • Performance Metrics: Analyze key performance metrics of the new system. This could include ticket resolution time, customer satisfaction scores, and system uptime. Compare these metrics to those of the old system to gauge improvements or areas needing attention.
  • Address Issues Promptly: If any issues or glitches are identified, address them immediately. Whether it’s a minor data mismatch or a significant functional error, swift resolution ensures minimal disruption to operations.
  • Continuous Monitoring: While initial post-migration checks are essential, continuous monitoring over the next few weeks or months is equally crucial. This helps in identifying and rectifying any latent issues that might crop up.

Recommended read: A Guide to Implementing a Ticket Tracking Software for Your Business

Common Challenges in Help Desk Migration and How to Overcome Them

Help desk migration, while beneficial, comes with its set of challenges. Let’s delve into some common challenges and their solutions:

1. Data Loss Concerns and Solutions

Challenge: One of the most daunting concerns during help desk migration is the potential loss of data. This could be customer queries, resolution histories, or essential feedback.


  • Regular backups are the first line of defense against data loss. 
  • Before initiating the migration, ensure all data is backed up in multiple locations.
  • Use reliable migration tools or partner with experienced migration services. This can minimize risks.

2. Downtime During Migration and Minimizing Its Impact

Challenge: Migration often requires some downtime. During this time, the help desk might be inaccessible which can disrupt customer support operations.


  • Schedule migrations during off-peak hours or when customer interaction is at its lowest.
  • Inform customers in advance about the expected downtime.  
  • Ensure there’s a contingency plan, like an emergency contact, in case urgent support is needed.

3. Training Staff for the New System

Challenge: A new help desk system can be unfamiliar to the support team. Without proper training, they might struggle to assist customers effectively.


  • Organize comprehensive training sessions for the staff before the new system goes live.
  • Provide them with manuals, tutorials, Knowledge bases, and hands-on practice sessions. 
  • Encourage feedback during these sessions to address any concerns.

Recommended read: Three Reasons To Move Away From Your Helpdesk

Evaluating the Success of Your Help Desk Migration

After completing the help desk migration, it’s essential to measure its success. This evaluation ensures that the migration meets its objectives and offers insights for future improvements. 

Here’s how businesses can effectively gauge the success of their help desk migration:

  • Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Monitor specific KPIs that reflect the efficiency and effectiveness of the help desk. Some crucial KPIs include ticket resolution time, customer satisfaction scores, first response time, and ticket backlog.
  • Gather Feedback from Staff and Customers: Conduct surveys or feedback sessions with the support staff to understand their experience with the new system. Similarly, gather feedback from customers about their support interactions. This feedback provides insights into areas that are working well and those that might need attention.
  • Continuous Improvement Strategies: Regularly review the KPIs and feedback to identify areas for improvement. Implement changes based on this feedback and stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in help desk systems. Consider periodic training sessions for staff to familiarize them with any new features or updates.

Final Words

The journey of planning and executing a help desk migration paves the way for a more efficient customer support experience. Once the help desk migration is complete, you will appreciate the enhancements brought to your customer interactions. 

If you are considering migrating data from your existing help desk ticketing system, Hiver is a reliable option. Known for its user-friendly interface and robust features, Hiver is particularly advantageous because it works inside your inbox (your team doesn’t have to learn any new software). This ensures a smooth migration process, enhancing both the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer support operations.

Try Hiver For Free.


  1. Why might a company decide to migrate their help desk?

Companies might migrate their help desk due to the current system being outdated, the availability of a new system with better features, or the need to improve the support experience for both customers and the support team.

  1. How can one prepare for a help desk migration?

Preparation involves evaluating the current help desk platform, setting clear migration objectives, and choosing the right help desk tool or partner. It’s crucial to understand what’s working, what isn’t, and what goals the new system should achieve.

  1. What are some common challenges in help desk migration and their solutions?

Challenges include data loss, downtime during migration, and training staff for the new system. Solutions involve regular backups, scheduling migrations during off-peak hours, informing customers in advance, and organizing comprehensive training sessions for the staff.

  1. What makes Hiver a suitable choice for help desk migration?

Hiver is an ideal choice for businesses looking for a user-friendly interface, robust features, and seamless integration with your inbox. It simplifies migration by working on top of your existing inbox, making it easy to transition without losing the familiarity of the e-mail environment.

  1. How does Hiver enhance the customer support experience post-migration?

Hiver enhances the support experience by providing a centralized system within the email inbox for managing customer communications, support queries, and resolutions. It offers improved response times, a user-friendly interface for support teams, and an omnichannel approach to handling customer queries.

  1. Can Hiver help with minimizing downtime during help desk migration?

Yes, Hiver can help minimize downtime by offering a straightforward migration process that leverages smooth integration with your work email inbox. This reduces the complexities typically associated with migrating to a completely new system and allows for a quicker and more efficient transition.

A B2B marketer, Madhuporna is passionate about helping businesses deliver exceptional customer experiences (CX) . Her expertise lies in crafting research-driven content around customer service (CS),CX, IT and HR. When off the clock, you'll find her binge-watching suspense thrillers or planning a weekend getaway.

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