5 Solutions for SumTotal Data Integration Challenges

Nov 13, 2015

sumtotal administration

SumTotal is a leading provider of talent management systems. Thousands of enterprises in many industries and locations around the globe use their applications to address talent management challenges.

Most enterprises have an integration mechanism that pulls data from an HRIS or human capital system and feeds it into their SumTotal applications. These feeds tend to have standard connectors or integrators that pull the data from the source system, transform it, and feed it into the SumTotal application.

Sometimes SumTotal customers have situations where a standard data feed is insufficient for their needs, or when data needs manipulation either before or after the data import.

We want to share with you some of the use cases where we have used custom applications, SumTotal web services, and APIs to meet the individual data needs of SumTotal customers.

Extended Enterprise Support

A customer uses SumTotal LMS to train its extended enterprise. It is a significant challenge to track and maintain consistency in user data between the partner system and the client LMS. Whenever the employees in the partner organization change jobs, transfer, or leave the organization, there is no way for the partner to update the changes directly in LMS.

The Solution

The solution is a custom integration that allows partner organizations to update their employee data as changes occur. The custom application then calls the SumTotal Web services API to update the data in the SumTotal LMS. 

Multiple Data Sources in a Global Organization

Another organization uses its SumTotal LMS globally but uses different human resources systems in its several geographic divisions. It needed to aggregate a common DSU feed file from several source systems dispersed around the world and process it into the SumTotal application.

The Solution

A custom application allows administrators to upload their feed files into a shared repository. The app performs validations and notifies the administrators whether the uploaded file meets the requirements of the DSU and contains.

It also checks for duplications in organization data across all of the data files. If the file does not meet the specifications, the app provides feedback detailing required changes so administrators can reprocess the upload. Once they have the files, the application combines all these files together into a single DSU file for SumTotal web services.

Customized Updates

A customer had challenges when using a standard data feed from its HRIS. Some executives did not want to receive any email notifications from the LMS. This meant administrators had to manually update the executives’ records after each data feed. They did not wish to build ad hoc processes to meet their requirements , and they wanted to remove the likelihood of human error.

The Solution

The solution was a custom application that allows administrators to export a daily Excel file from the system of record, and then invoke a custom job to perform validations and update the SumTotal LMS using an API. Administrators can configure the job to run daily or on an ad hoc basis depending on requirements.

Contingent Workforce Compliance Challenges

A customer with a large contingent workforce has, on average, 3,040 ILTs, 50+ OJTs, and multiple compliance checklists. Based on the regulatory requirements of the industry, users are denied access to facilities if they have not completed the required training. Because of the daily changes in the contingent workforce, the company cannot wait for the night TMU updates to verify compliance.

Data Integration - Sumtotal Learning

The Solution

We designed a custom mobile application for learners to track details of their custom checklists, OJTs, and ILT sign-in sheets. They also use the app for live check-ins for their ILT sessions. The app validates user registration in the LMS for that particular ILT to allow users to check in. During the class, the app pushes learning materials such as live class aids, documents, and reference materials to their mobile devices. At the completion of training, the app updates the status in their SumTotal LMS using an API.

For checklists, the users validate completion in the app. The app calls the SumTotal API to update the record for that activity. The app also updates the record when managers approve OJT completion.

Real-Time Executive Dashboards

One of our customers uses Tableau as its corporate reporting tool. The custom compliance dashboards that executives review have a combination of data from LMS, HR, and other enterprise systems. They need real-time data integrated with their HR and enterprise schemas to populate the dashboards. There is no way to directly integrate real-time data from SumTotal LMS with other enterprise systems.

The Solution

Whenever executives open this custom dashboard, it triggers a web services call that uses the API to pull required data from the SumTotal LMS and performs schema mapping on the fly. Both the activities of getting data in real time and mapping the schema happen in fractions of a second. The first data pull of the day consumes slightly more time than subsequent pulls, but the later updates only pull the delta based on parameter changes. The changes appear instantly to the user.

Maximize Your Investment

There are many cases where the unique needs of the business can create an administrative burden and increase maintenance costs. As we have seen, often a small and simple solution can resolve the issue.

We hope these use cases spark your imagination in thinking about how you can streamline management of your SumTotal platform.

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.sumtotal business consulting

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