In an integration scenario, there are two databases: your AMS/CRM (i.e., integration) database and Communications Professional. The integration allows you to manage your records in your AMS/CRM database and then move that data into Communications Professional for use there. It is helpful to understand not just how the integration works, but also where the data comes from and where to edit it.
How does the integration work?
Communications Professional establishes a connection (often referred to as a bridge) that allows it to directly communicate with your AMS/CRM database. Your subscriber information is accessed in real time and pulled into Communications Professional. Communications Professional only pulls and stores email addresses and a unique ID for each person from your AMS/CRM. Other personal information (such as first name, age, and annual spend) is requested in real time from your AMS/CRM, when necessary.
Communications Professional regularly synchronizes (syncs) with your your AMS/CRM. Communications Professional checks for new email addresses that it should import from your AMS/CRM. The result of a sync is either the creation of, or the updating of, a subscriber in Communications Professional.
What can also occur, depending upon the integration, is data is sent from Communications Professional back to the integrated database in the form of a writeback. For example, if your integrated database supports a field for something like “Do not contact via email,” Communications Professional sends an unsubscribe writeback to update that field.
Understand unique identifiers
Communications Professional uses the combination of the Email and Remote ID fields to establish unique records. If there are two records in your AMS/CRM with the same email address but different remote IDs, Communications Professional sees them as two distinct, valid records, and creates two subscriber records in Communications Professional.
If you determine that a record in your AMS/CRM is a "duplicate" (by your standards) and delete that record from your AMS/CRM, nothing will happen to the corresponding record in Communications Professional (i.e., it will not be automatically deleted).
If you want that "duplicate" record deleted from Communications Professional, create a case.
iMIS Legacy integrations
iMIS Legacy integrations use the iMIS ID field rather than Remote ID, so unique identifiers in those integrations are established by the combination of the Email and iMIS ID fields.
If you have an API integration with Communications Professional, you probably (but not definitely) do have an ID in your uploads, in which case the “Email + Remote ID as unique identifier” concept is applicable. You should confirm whether you do.
It's important to remember that Higher Logic does not develop API integrations, so including an ID is not a requirement when making calls to the API. Therefore, there is the potential for an API integration to have unique identifiers based only the Email field.
API integration unique identifiers can be either be “Email + Remote ID” or just “Email,” depending entirely on how the AMS provider / customer developed their integration with the Communications Professional API.
In addition to the sync process, subscribers can also be brought into Communications Professional via a file import. Usually this is for a list that’s needed for marketing communications, but is not appropriate to be in the main database. Subscribers brought into Communications Professional this way are not pushed into the integrated database.
The Source column in a subscriber listing, indicates if a subscriber came from the integration or an import.
If a previously imported subscriber record is subsequently found to match the same email address for a synced record, the unique ID from the integrated database will be added to the subscriber record in Communications Professional so that only one subscriber record exists.
Managing email addresses
Because you have two databases, you should understand how this affects subscriber information – especially email addresses. Your integrated database is the source for the subscribers' email addresses. Even if you change an email address for an integrated subscriber, in Communications Professional, the next sync will overwrite the email address with what’s coming from the integrated database.
If you are editing a subscriber record that comes from the integrated database, you won’t want to use the Subscribers > Edit Subscriber menu option to change their email address.
Managing Personalization data
Managing personalization data also requires an awareness of knowing if the data is coming from your integrated database or Communications Professional.
If the data is coming from the integrated database, then the change needs to be made there. If, however, you are also using Communications Professional profile info fields to augment your personalization capabilities, then those changes are made in Communications Professional.
- Only update information for subscribers that reside in the integrated database in the Integrated Database directly.
- Communications Professional can only create integrated preference management forms for some integration partners.
- Subscribers uploaded via spreadsheet will not be pushed to the integrated database.
There is another type of integrations called “API Integrations.” These are built to communicate with a custom or “in-house” database and can be configured to do a variety of things with Communications Professional. For example, email addresses can be pushed to Communications Professional as an automated import, a mailing can be created and sent, and reporting data can be retrieved from Communications Professional.