When using a data integration, it is common that a user will be removed from the source system. For example, a faculty member retiring, or a student (and their parents) transferring to a new school. Finalsite now offers a tool to be able to automate the archiving of users via an “Off-Feed Utility” in Integrated Services Manager. We’ve offered this in the past, but our new tool uses our new integration platform for better functionality and more reliable results.
This article covers the functionality of the Off-Feed Utility built for integrations running on Finalsite’s newer integration platform. This includes the following integrations:
- Blackbaud On/Blackbaud Education Management
- Raiser’s Edge NXT
- Schedule Star
- rSchool Today
The following integrations will work if the integration has been migrated to the newest versions:
- Senior Systems (coming soon)
This does NOT include Finalsite Open and other datasheet-based integrations (e.g., Rediker, Blackbaud Education Edge, Powerschool, InResonance, Proof Group).
How does the tool work?
The Off-Feed utility works by reviewing the last time we saw a user on the feed. If you are not seeing one of your feeds in the tool, please reach out to Support, as there are a couple of configurations that need to be set on our end.
To use the tool, you will want to navigate to Integrated Services Manager > Utilities > ESB Off-Feed Utility. Here, you’ll be able to select the feed for comparison and see the results of users who are NOT on that feed, but are in the role(s) set to compare to and who also have an importID set from that feed. This means that users who may have been manually added to a role will not show up in the results when using the tool.
You will then be able to select all or some of the results and deactivate those users.
What does deactivating a user do?
Deactivating a user will cause one of two things to happen:
If the user is ONLY in the role(s) that the Off-Feed Utility is comparing for the feed, they will be removed from that role (or roles) and put in an “Inactive” role. Additionally, they will have their ClassOf, CurrentGrade, and relationships deleted in Finalsite. This is to prevent them from continuing to be filtered into groups and mailing lists despite being deactivated.
If the user is in other roles OTHER than the ones being compared by the utility, that user will be removed from all roles set to be populated by the feed, and left in any others. We will not delete any data from these users.
By removing the relevant roles, the user should lose access to portals as well as be removed from filters/lists that are targeting specific roles. It does not delete the user, so if they do show back up on the feed, they will be added back to the appropriate roles and removed from the Inactive role. For the BEST results, you want to ensure that mailing lists, page permissions, and group filters are all qualified with a role.
For example, if you intend to have a group dynamically populated with students in Grade 12, you should qualify that with a “Membership in Group Student” filter.
If you wish to have your Inactive constituents purged from the system, please send a Support ticket in requesting this. Note that deleting users will cause a permanent loss of some Finalsite-specific data (personal files, Messages history, login history, etc.).
The tool can also be used to find off-feed athletics events if you are integrating athletic event data with an integration. The same basic logic applies, where we identify events that have not been “seen” in 48 hours as “off the feed.” Again, this will only include events that have a feedid associated with the feed being checked. This is to allow you to manage specific teams outside of the sync (or if you have multiple syncs) without cluttering up the results from this tool. The tool only searches within the time frame set in your feed, which is typically 1 month back and 6 months forward, but is uniquely configurable per site.
Rather than archiving or deactivating events, the tool will give you the option to delete them, as this is a less risky feature with athletics events than with users.
If you notice any concerning or inaccurate results, please reach out to Support so we can investigate.
How is a user “off the feed”?
To determine who is no longer “on the feed,” we use a scheduled full refresh for all feeds. This will run once a day and will pull all data from that feed. We store a “last seen” value for every record. If the user (or athletic event) is not present, that value does not get updated, and after that value is 48 hours old, we determine that the user (or athletic event) is “off the feed.” The reason for 48 hours is that, occasionally, a circumstance will prevent that full refresh from running (e.g., a maintenance window in the source system, an internet outage of some kind, etc.). We added that cushion to try to prevent inaccurate results in the tool.
You may also have “Ignored” records in your integration. This is an additional layer of filtering that we utilize to prevent unwanted records from the source system from getting into Finalsite. You can see that a record is “Ignored” in the utility when viewing the results in the Ignored column. This indicates that this user was imported into Finalsite, but at some point met the criteria for being “Ignored.”
You may also see “no checksum found” in the “Last Seen” column in the results. Checksums are bits of information we store on all records imported from an external source. Within these checksums, we track every time we “see” a user in a feed, so it should update fairly regularly. Occasionally, we have to clear checksums (for example, when we update a mapping for a feed and need to apply those results to all users). If there is no checksum, it could mean that a user was in Finalsite when we cleared a feed and we haven’t seen them since.