Chris21 and SharePoint Integration

people-management

Often with larger clients we work with, we find that the corporate intranet contact directory information is out of sync with the latest HR information in Chris21. As a consequence, when a staff member accesses the directory, they find that their personal or colleague’s contact information is out of date.

So how do you ensure that the latest employee information is available on the contacts directory within the company intranet? The answer is that there are two ways to go about this: simple and advanced. This article will look at the simple integration method between Chris21 and the SharePoint intranet.

active-directory-integration-with-chris21

To achieve simple integration between the two systems you would need to get an idea of the information flow and stakeholder relationships. For the purpose of this blog, let us assume the following scenario:

  • Chris21 is used by the HR/Payroll department to create and maintain the employee records which will comprise of name, position, department and manager.
  • The IT department will initially create the employee AD account as part of the employee on-boarding process.
  • There are additional fields that employee would like to update themselves on the corporate intranet but don’t necessarily go into Chris21.

Firstly we will have to copy the employee fields from Chris21 into SharePoint and this is done via a simple overnight batch export. Chris21 has the facility of exporting a nightly batch of employee records with the required fields. The unique identifier for the employee record is the employee number which is part of the export and is created by Chris21. The export is setup within Chris21 to occur every night to a network path accessible by SharePoint.

Using a simple routine that is developed in SharePoint to pick up the latest CSV or XML file, the information can be then parsed and matched with the employee number. The underlying assumption is that the employee login has already been created in Active Directory by the IT department and thus exists in SharePoint. The outcome of the export/import routine is that SharePoint has been updated with the most important employee information such as position, department and manager.

chris21-data-import-export

Figure: Showing Chris21 Integration with SharePoint Contacts Directory

By configuring SharePoint “User Profiles” correctly, you can automatically sync SharePoint and Active Directory overnight. The trick is to schedule the sync service to occur after the Chris21 import routine. There might be some fields that the employee has updated themselves through the intranet “About Me” page that can go into Active Directory such as: Room Number, Location, Time Zone and Profile Picture. This information can also be updated into Active Directory through the User Profile Sync mentioned above.

Finally there are some fields that will just remain in SharePoint such as “My Interests” and will never go into any other system and that’s fine.

Although what I have described above is straight forward and simple in terms of data integration, Chris21 does have an API that allows for a more integrated and streamlined approach.

Finally we get asked the question “can you integrate Chris21 and Active Directory without SharePoint?” The answer is yes and it is achieved by installing our integration service scripts. However it should be noted some IT administrators are not comfortable with having a third party application updating AD directly. Ultimately, it does come down to each business’ specific need and integration workflows that determines what the final solution will look like.

To find out how Empower IT can help you integrate Chris21 with your other Microsoft systems like Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 click here.

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