The contact data in Groupcall Products usually originates from the school MIS - this is the case for Emerge for Schools, Emerge for Parents and Messenger v5. However additionally Messenger v5 may have extra data from a manually imported .csv or .txt file, which is itself usually exported from another database.
In the majority of cases, schools will use an automated MIS update to populate the Messenger v5 contact list. The majority of the Messenger v5 help guides assume this to be the case. In either scenario both are collectively referred to as the 'Source Data'.
We strongly recommend that Messenger v5 customers using MIS automatic integration do not also use data upload as there are several considerations to take in and the processes must be carefully managed.
SIMS, CMIS, e1, G2/S2, Engage and Aspen in the UK and US all support automatic integration and you should therefore avoid using the manual import method, unless directed to do so by Groupcall.
If you believe you have a case for the use of csv upload in your school please contact us to discuss this so we can advise you on an individual basis to ensure the integrity of your data and systems.
Emerge for Schools and Emerge for Parents only support MIS integration.
The Messenger v5 Address Book
In addition to the Source Data, we have included the ability to add message recipients who are not, and should not, otherwise be included in your source database. This is normally used for additional people who you may need to keep informed in the case of an emergency or updated in general, but are not usually a direct part of your school.
Contacts who join the organisation and therefore would be part of your normal database, should be added at the data source (e.g. the MIS) and automatically updated through the integration schedule.
An example to highlight this distinction is Governors;
- A Staff Governor would reside in the MIS as they are a member of staff in the MIS.
- A Parent Governor is found in the MIS as they are linked with their child.
- An external governor should be added to the address book in Messenger v5, as they have no natural ‘home’ in the MIS (e.g. they are not a member of staff or a parent as such).
You may like to text or email governors alongside other contacts. To do this you would simply create a Governor’s group allowing you to select all governors together, regardless of where their data resides.
It is essential to keep data up to date at source to prevent it becoming unmanaged or out of date.
Updating at Source
There is a set of simple guidelines you can use to help you remember where to update contact information.
When does the Source Data show in Messenger v5?
- Depending on your configuration, contact data that comes from the MIS will most likely show updates in Messenger v5 after its nightly synchronisation run. Check with your School Administrator or Network Manager if you are not sure.
- Mv5 Address Book:
- Contacts that are recorded only in the Messenger v5 address book will be up to date as soon as you press the save button. A screen refresh may be needed to see the change.
Some examples and explanations;
A year 9 parent has a new phone number. This is entered into the MIS at lunchtime on a Tuesday. A message is sent to all year 9 parents at the end of school on the same Tuesday. The message goes to the parent's old phone number.
The overnight sync of contact data from the MIS has not taken place between the change being made in the MIS and the message being sent, therefore Messenger has the old number still. To overcome this issue, see exception below.
A year 8 parent has a new phone number. This is entered into the MIS at lunchtime on a Tuesday. A message is sent to all year 8 parents at the start of school on the following day (Wednesday). The message goes to the parent's new phone number.
The overnight sync of contact data from the MIS took place between the change being made in the MIS and the message being sent therefore Messenger v5 had the new number.
The school's Local Authority Governor has a new email address. He informs you of the new address at a meeting after school on Thursday evening. A Parent Governor overhears the LA Governor telling you he has a new email address and this reminds her to give you her new email address too. You log in to Messenger v5 shortly after the meeting and update both email addresses in the address book. Having taken minutes of the meeting and typed them up on the Friday morning you email them out using Messenger. The LA Governor receives the minutes via email to his new address, but the Parent Governor complains that the email was sent to her old email address.
The data for these two contacts resides in two different places. The LA Governor doesn't have a record in your MIS and so you rightly updated the email address in the Mv5 Address book. The Parent Governor however has a record in the MIS as a contact for their child. Therefore when the overnight sync between the MIS and Messenger took place the change you made to the Parent's contact record in the Mv5 Address Book was overwritten by the MIS as the source of data. If however you had emailed the minutes later the same evening as the meeting, she would have got the email at the new address. To prevent the Parent's data getting overwritten you need to change the email address in the MIS.
Every Rule has an Exception...
There is a minor exception to the rule about editing data only at the source. For example, if a parent has informed you that morning that they have changed their mobile number and then you send a message later that day, but have not yet updated the MIS (or the overnight sync has not taken place since you amended the MIS), you can temporarily amend the contact record in the Mv5 Address Book so that the message you send is received on their new phone number. It is essential however that the number is also subsequently updated at source as the next time the data is synced, any changes in Messenger will be over-written. If you are not sure, the safest action is to follow the above flowchart!