Integrating Microsoft SharePoint with Chris21

Often with larger clients we work with, we find that the Active Directory user information is out of date. The main reason for this is the HR department using a HR package like Chris21 to maintain employee information in isolation to any other system. As a consequence, when a staff member accesses the corporate intranet (based on SharePoint), they find that their personal or contact information is out of date.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 post will look at the simple integration method between Chris21 and the SharePoint intranet.

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 will be used by the HR/Payroll department to create and maintain the employee record 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 but don’t necessarily go into Chris21.
How to integrate Chris21 with SharePoint

SharePoint Integrating with Chris21

Firstly we will have to get the employee fields mentioned above 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.

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, there is a framework present that will allow for more of an integrated and streamlined approach. To find out how Empower IT can help you integrate Chris21 with your other Microsoft systems like Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 click here.