Importing data into Messenger v5 varies by MIS and upload route;
For supported cloud-based MIS products Messenger v5 can integrate directly to retrieve school data. For the purposes of simple explanation to all customers we describe such integration as “cloud-to-cloud”.
Messenger v5 supports “cloud-to-cloud” integration with the following systems:
|MIS||Product Credential||School Identifier||School Credential||Granular Data Access Permissions|
|RM Integris G2/S2||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Serco Progresso||Yes||Yes||Partial - Serco Progresso requires schools to permit Groupcall products to access their specific school identifier.||Yes|
|Bromcom MIS (cloud)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
For “cloud-to-cloud” integration Messenger v5 requires the cloud MIS to be configured to enable third party integration; this usually requires the customer to enter into additional data sharing agreements with their MIS provider and may also incur a one-off or recurring cost for the service levied by the MIS vendor.Messenger v5 requires credentials and/or settings to access a cloud MIS for integration. These credentials and/or settings can include:
- Messenger v5 product credentials used to identify the product to a Cloud MIS; usually this provides a first tier of protection for the Cloud MIS by only allowing registered products to make authentication challenges for specific schools. Such credentials are typically hard-coded into the Messenger v5 application.
- Per-school integration settings and credentials are then used to verify that Messenger v5 can request data for a specific school. Depending on the Cloud MIS these credentials may imply finer controls on what data Messenger v5 can access. Such credentials and settings are stored in Messenger v5's back-end storage.
Transfer and processing
Groupcall require that any data transfer from a Cloud MIS is carried out over SSL so that the data is protected in flight and so that Messenger v5 can verify the destination system prior to presenting any credentials.Some Cloud MIS products require that Messenger v5 requests a larger dataset than is required, for example it may be the case that a Cloud MIS can only provide a list of students that also includes their postcode. In all cases of Cloud MIS integration, data is processed immediately on response (i.e. it isn’t cached or queued anywhere) and any additional fields received are discarded from memory during that processing.
For supported in-school MIS systems, we use our Groupcall Xporter software to extract the required school data from your MIS system and upload it securely to Messenger v5.Messenger v5 supports integration using Groupcall Xporter for the following systems:
|MIS||Nature of connection||Credential type||Granular Data Access Permissions|
|Capita SIMS .net||SIMS .net libraries||SIMS user||Yes|
|Serco Facility||ODBC / ePortal||SQL user / source IP||No|
|Double First Engage||ODBC||SQL user||No|
|Follett Aspen||ODBC||SQL user||No|
|iSAMS MIS||ODBC||SQL user||No|
|Bromcom MIS (local)||SOAP API||Bromcom user||Yes|
For Xporter-based integration with an MIS Groupcall Xporter has to be installed in the school, usually on the MIS server. Xporter then requires configuration settings and/or credentials to access the MIS and retrieve data to prepare for upload to Messenger v5. Groupcall Xporter securely encrypts MIS credentials into its configuration using industry standard Blowfish encryption. This encryption is reversible because Xporter must be able to present credentials to the MIS in the format it requires.The exact nature of the connection method varies by MIS product; however this is explained under MIS specific details. Integration may also incur a one-off or recurring cost for the service levied by the MIS vendor.
Transfer and processing
Groupcall Xporter extracts data from the school MIS on an hourly schedule between 7am and 5pm and uploads to Messenger v5, this process usually takes only a few minutes and only records that have changed since the previous upload will be transmitted. For exact detail of the fields transmitted see the Messenger v5 Data Sharing Agreement.All uploads to Messenger v5 are carried out over SSL both to protect data in flight and to verify the destination system prior to presenting data. Data is delivered to the correct customer account in Messenger v5 by use of a per-school upload “key” stored in Xporter. The upload key, which is a GUID, does not provide a means to extract data from Messenger v5 and as such is not considered to be a secret or a credential.Data is processed immediately upon receipt into the Messenger v5 platform; by virtue of Xporter pre-processing records in the school only fields within the limitations of the data sharing agreement are transmitted.
For a small number of MIS products Messenger v5 is unable to integrate directly, this can be for a number of reasons including the availability of integration options, the security of them, or an agreement with the MIS provider. For customers using these MIS products we support more manual forms of integration.Messenger v5 supports manual integration with the following systems:
|SEEMIS Click 'n' Go||The customer must upload Format1 exports of Contacts and Attendance|
The specific pre-requisites vary by MIS, however it typically involves the user producing a consistent data export from their MIS and temporarily saving it to their workstation.
Transfer and processing
For these customers the MIS export must then be uploaded into the Messenger v5 website by an authorised user account for that customer. The upload is carried out over SSL and cached during processing in Messenger v5 then deleted after processing. Where the uploaded export contains columns that exceed the data requirement these columns are dropped during the import process. The import process is asynchronous to the return webpage sent to the client on upload.
Messenger v5 is able to act as a SIF subscriber, both in requesting data and subscribing to SIF events, for systems that can present data via the SIF standard. The nature of the SIF provider agent and the Zone Integration Server (ZIS) that brokers communication between Messenger v5 and the provider agent is outside of the scope of this document, although it can be noted that Groupcall provides SIF Agents for a number of leading UK MIS products.Messenger v5 supports integration with any SIF agent conforming to the UK 1.2 data model and supporting the following objects with sufficient element coverage.
The precise nature of integration varies by ZIS and provider but typically the ZIS operator enforces the Data Sharing Agreement on behalf of the end customer and also authenticates the Messenger v5 agent before it is able to make requests.Messenger v5 will only communicate with a ZIS using SSL and only if the destination system can be verified by its SSL certificate.For these customers details of the ZIS URL are stored in Messenger v5 in the same manner as integration settings for a Cloud-based MIS.Transfer and processing
Messenger v5 connects into the ZIS and subscribes to events for the data source; it then requests data nightly and requests attendance hourly during school hours. The provider agent responds with SIF objects that are processed immediately upon receipt.Where the provider agent sends events on data changes, these are processed immediately upon receipt. Any events or fields received that are outside the scope of the data sharing agreement are disposed of during processing.
It is possible for Messenger v5 customers to enter their own custom contacts directly into the Messenger v5 user interface, to supplement those contacts being collected from the MIS. The Messenger v5 user interface is presented over SSL and requires user authentication, hence protecting the ‘transfer’ of these contacts as they are entered into the website.