LearningSource Importer — Smooth transition

November 11, 2010 9:18 am, Published by

One of the cool features we have recently introduced, and one that at first glance is simple but in fact is rather complex, is our contact importer.

Think for a minute of an organisation moving onto LearningSource. They may well have several thousand contact addresses and details in their system – which they’re keen to migrate over to LearningSource. This could be customer database or an employee staff database.  Changing from one system to another should not necessitate double entry of data – with our new importer users can focus on getting benefit out of LearningSource, rather than entering information into it.

The contact importer is our solution – it allows users to import their existing databases directly into LearningSource.

However, it’s going to come as no surprise that a simple import is problematic – duplicated email addresses, badly formatted data and complex relationship within organisations all make a simple import a real pain.

Which is where we come in. We’ve thought about the way users will interact with the importer and come up with some solutions to the more common problems with this sort of function:

  • First, the importer automatically cleans the data. It checks for duplicate addresses and the format of content as the data is imported.
  • Secondly, the importer matches a contact with an existing organisations if one is specified.  Where a record includes an organisation that is not already in the database, a new organisation will be created.
  • Our importer allows the format of data to be flexible, for example a basic import can just be first and last name and email address.

Like we said – a simple task like a contact import introduces significant complexity to users – we’re trying hard to ensure that, wherever possible, users are shielded from the complexities.

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Easy what to update presenters details

Another great use of the importer is that it can be used to update a number of existing contacts, all form within a spreadsheet.  For example, if you wanted to update a number of presenter’s contact details you would;

  • Select Contacts from the main menu.
  • Select the Presenters tab.
  • Click the Export… link on the right of the list. Window will appear.
  • Select  Contact Information (CSV) and press Export.  A file containing all the presenters details will be downloaded into a spreadsheet.
  • Edit each presenter’s details in the spreadsheet.
  • When you have finished updating the details, use the Contact Importer to import the file back into LearningSource to update the existing records.