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SF LMS – How to avoid messing up data integration

Author: Irene le Roux.

I was recently involved in an audit of an implemented LMS. The client was already using the LMS in production but had some issues and enlisted our help. The most important lessons I learned from this audit and follow-up support were:

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This particularly applies to the user connector, security domains and reference fields.

The user connector

It is very important to spend enough time with the client to determine exactly which fields are required to pull through from the HR system via BizX to the LMS. As the user connector is used to import the data to the LMS, the document that maps this data needs to be discussed and carefully populated. I prefer to indicate in the notes field to which data field in the HR system this field is mapped. This client used SAP as their HR system.

F1 Extract from User Connector

Security domains

Although the client has branches internationally only one domain with no domain restrictions was created. This meant that all administrators would have access to all users and all LMS entities and did not make provision for growth in the company. No planning was made for how users would be linked to domains via the user connector. This was not advisable and the following domain structure was recommended to make provision for clean expansion:

Client Name (Top domain)

  1. • Africa
    1. Angola
    2. Lesotho
  2. South Africa
  3. Asia
  4. Australia
  5. Europe
    1. Great Britain
    2. Germany
  6. North America
  7. South America

We also had to ensure that the spelling of the country name pulling through from SAP via BizX is used.

F2 Domain Mapping

I requested the list from SAP and populated the LMS workbook with al the country names as spelled in SAP.Reference fields

F3 Domain Names

Reference fields

Once a reference field has been used in a record, it is not possible to delete the field. Two fields that are especially of concern are the reference fields: domains and region. At this client the region fields of the user was not populated via the connector file which made the functionality linked to user region not available. In the Available Offerings tile, scheduled offerings that are in the region of the user, are shown first.

F4 Available SOThe naming convention of the description also did not accommodate the incorporation of regions in other countries.

When trying to add the Region in the user connector, it became apparent that the region ID configured in the LMS was not aligned to the spelling of the region pulled through from SAP via BizX. In BizX the regions were spelled with lower case and two words. In LMS the regions were spelled with capital letters only using one word. Since this field was already used in the LMS it could not be deleted.

We then added new Regions with the correct spelling and added an ‘XXX Do not use!’ in the description field of the old Region. As the dropdown was sorted on the ID the following was displayed.

F5 RegionsI then changed the xml in the REGION Search selector to sort on the Region description with the following results:

F6 Regions DescriptionAt least the incorrect regions will now be at the bottom of the list.

The client will now have to do the following to enable the Region functionality to work correctly:

  1. Create a naming convention for the region description to accommodate regions in other countries to ensure meaningful sorting, e.g. ZA Eastern Cape, ZM Copperbelt.
  2. Create new regions in the LMS for all regions available on the SAP system and align spelling accordingly.
  3. Add region in the user connector file.
  4. Institute a process in which the LMS administrator is informed when a new region is created on SAP.
  5. Change all the current Facilities to point to the newly created Region ID.

Conclusion

In the design of domains the following needs to be considered:

  • any growth prospects of the client e.g. expanding into new areas/regions
  • the fields in BizX to be used via the user connector

A few basic design errors can be cumbersome to fix once the system has been in production. It is therefore important that an LMS consultant knows what the design implications are for each field used, especially with regard to the user connector.

Did anyone have similar data issues? I will appreciate any comments.

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