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Luke Owen | April 19, 2019

Formstack Sync’s Guided On-Boarding Engagement for Bi-Directional Sync


We’ve designed our on-boarding engagement for our bi-directional sync with these goals for our customers:

  • Rapid deployment of a standardized bi-directional sync
  • Setup in a rapid timeframe compared to most traditional system integration projects (typically 30 days)
  • Enable customers to be self-sufficient in managing the sync ongoing (e.g. adding new field mappings, adjusting sync rules)
  • Align with the Formstack Sync team for ongoing success through Formstack customer success and support teams

Here’s what you need to know to prepare for and execute a successful on-boarding for your bi-directional sync:

Getting Ready for Your Formstack Sync Project

Who should be involved in the project?

You’re going to want to identify your Formstack Sync admin user(s). If you are connecting two systems, say a marketing automation & CRM system, then this would likely be either the marketing automation admin or the CRM admin or both.

The main pre-prerequisite for this admin user is that it’s someone familiar with the data to be mapped across the systems, and comfortable using an interface that’s performing data driven functions such as field mappings.

If the admins of the marketing automation or CRM are not going to be sync admins, you’ll still want them involved in the project so they are familiar with how data will be syncing, and can help if custom fields need to be setup in that specific system.

You don’t need any development resources involved in the project - as the project is focussed on managing field mappings & rules, and does not require any coding or programming.

What do we need to prepare?

The main input for the project is creating a list of the fields that you want to map between your connected systems.

It’s worth noting that part of the value of Formstack Sync is that you will be able to add/adjust your field mappings over time. So you don’t need to create the “perfect integration” (in terms of every field you might *ever* want to map), as you will be able to evolve the sync over time by adding a new field mapping down the road, as requirements evolve.

Your Formstack Sync project

What does on-boarding include?

Formstack Sync's on-boarding is staffed by an on-boarding manager, who is a product expert around our sync product and the best practices for implementation. The on-boarding includes:

  • Access for up to 45 days* to an on-boarding manager
  • Assistance with connector installation
  • Help with initial setup and training for required, standard and recommended field mappings (e.g. first name, last name, email, job title, etc.)
  • Initial troubleshooting and training on how to self-troubleshoot

The above includes five hours of calls / screen shares as the typical on-boarding has weekly web meetings over a 4-5 week timeframe. We recommend having at least one admin per system included in the on-boarding process. You will want to assign at least one team member to be responsible for managing the integration to ensure that they take part in all of the training sessions.

For scheduling purposes, the on-boarding start date is typically scheduled one to two weeks after signing up - these dates are defined on your quote/order form when signing up. The on-boarding manager is assigned to your account for up to 45 days, giving an extra 15-day buffer from the typical 30-day timeframe.

The on-boarding manager will ensure that your mappings are setup with the required, standard and recommended fields for your key integration goals and records have been tested to both create and update based on these mappings.

If your team needs to delay the official “go live” of the sync due to factors outside Formstack’s control, any remaining troubleshooting will be completed with our support team. (If a customer is blocked from going live due to a conflict or issue that must be resolved by a Formstack's on-boarding manager, the 45 days can be extended).

What does on-boarding not include?

The responsibilities of the on-boarding manager include advising on the steps and best practices for the setup of a well optimized bi-directional sync.

For purposes of ensuring your key integration goals are implemented, there are certain setup requirements within the systems themselves where our on-boarding team will help provide guidance.

For example, if you are mapping picklists between two systems, the on-boarding manage will advise on the best practice that picklist values between the two systems should be updated within those systems to match - to avoid errors or data quality issues when syncing data. The on-boarding manager will provide guidance for this update, but won’t be going into your systems to make these updates, as this responsibility is owned by the admins of your respective systems.

It’s also important heading into on-boarding to be clear on what the on-boarding manager is not responsible for, so expectations are met:  The Formstack on-boarding manager is not expected to provide consultative services on what or why you should be syncing specific information from one system to another (e.g. how should I determine what is a qualified lead to pass to my CRM?).

If your team is looking for more consultative services that go deeper into the systems you are connecting or deeper technical assistance to address any non-standard configuration, this falls outside of the scope of the on-boarding manager and should be reviewed with our sales team as part of our professional service packages.

What are we (the customer) responsible for?

Customers are responsible for:

  • Authenticating your systems for connection to Formstack Sync. Usually this requires admin level authentication to grant Formstack read/write access; some systems also have options for custom roles that can be setup if required.
  • Defining your rules e.g.
    • What fields you want to sync
    • ‘Sync workflow’ rules: when records should initially push across from one system to the other
    • 'System of record’ rules for each field to govern the behavior of the bi-directional sync ('most recent update' back & forth, and one system authoritative over the other - for each field mapping)
  • Setup or adjustment of any custom fields in the respective systems
  • Any testing beyond the core Formstack testing

What happens after we sign up?

In the time between your sign-up date and your kickoff date (which is also the start of billing), there are several steps you can take to get prepared for your project.

Within 1-2 days of signing up for your bi-directional sync, you will get an intro email from the Formstack Sync on-boarding manager which will include:

  • Initial user accounts for your sync portal
  • Instructions for authenticating your connectors
  • Instructions for mappings (if you want to get a head start...)
  • Time options to schedule kickoff call on your start date

Steps you will be able to take ahead of your kickoff call:

  • Schedule kickoff call
  • Login to Sync Portal & setup billing info (if you are paying via credit card)
  • Add additional user accounts, if needed
  • Authenticate your connectors

What customer should have for the kickoff call:

  • The connectors must be authenticated - so that fields are available to begin mappings
  • An outline of what basic fields are to be synchronized, knowing that additions and changes can be easily made further down the line
  • An outline of sync workflows - when data should be synced from one system to the other. For example:
    • Sync contacts from HubSpot to Microsoft Dynamics when Lifecycle Stage = Lead (or Marketing Qualified Lead, or Sales Qualified Lead)
    • Sync all contacts where Type = Customer from Microsoft Dynamics to HubSpot
    • Sync all accounts from Microsoft Dynamics to HubSpot  

How does the 30-day on boarding typically go from a schedule standpoint?

We space the on-boarding over 30 days to give our customers time to make decisions around the sync and the system admins time to make any required updates in their systems.

The actual time spent on the on-boarding will be the one weekly meeting and then usually a few hours per week on next steps or prep items from the meeting. Here’s a typical flow:

Day 1: Kickoff Call

  • Lay out agenda for what's covered, what is to be accomplished
  • Review key integration goals from the customer’s order form, which itemizes the data flows to be enabled
  • If applicable, help with connecting systems if they were not installed prior to kick off
  • Training on Formstack Sync’s key concepts, architecture, and behavior (how data is indexed, processed, synced)
  • If Connectors are installed prior to kick off, we typically spend the second half of the kickoff call beginning to setup the required field mappings

In between Kickoff Call & Call #2

  • Formstack to start the initial indexing process of your data
  • Customer discuss internally if there are additional fields you want to map (outside basics, required and recommended)
  • Create the custom fields for the above
  • Enable rules for when you want records synced initially which would include steps such as:
    • Create a sync flag field (for workflows)
    • Create a sync trigger field on all objects in both systems (single line text)
    • Discuss what the conditions are going to be for syncing records by flipping the sync flag
    • Potentially implement connected system automation (i.e. HubSpot workflows)  to facilitate the flipping of the sync flag field

Day 7: Mapping & Workflow Workshop Call

  • The goal of this session is for customer to be enabled to start mapping their own fields
  • Bedrock on-boarding manager provide guidance via screen share
  • Try & complete the mappings (if a reasonable number)
  • Setup workflow rules to define when records push across
  • If time permits, run a test (create a contact from one system to another)

In between Mapping Workshop & Call #3

  • Finish mapping any remaining fields not mapped during workshop
  • On-boarding manager available to answer any further questions that come up
  • If mappings are complete, start testing the integration in preparation for next call

Day 14: Finalize Mappings & Troubleshooting Call

  • Finalize any remaining field mappings
  • Review any tests conducted offline since last call
  • If no tests conducted, start running some during this call
  • Review any conflicts that may arise and go through steps to resolve (triage for follow up as needed)
  • Review best practices for troubleshooting and how to use transaction report to view errors
  • Review of support resources & how to use for any future troubleshooting

In between Call #3 & Call #4

  • Investigation around any open items
  • Customer to run additional tests offline and work with support on any questions around conflicts that may arise (Support team is best resource to use as they are more optimized for response time than the on-boarding manager)

Day 21: Review Troubleshooting & Conflict Resolution Call

  • Go over questions about how to resolve conflicts using transaction report
  • Discuss general troubleshooting methods
  • Review any outstanding conflicts not yet resolved (if any)
  • Discuss the process for bringing the sync live
  • Discuss best practices for maintaining the sync and ensuring optimal performance

Day 28: Finalize Tests / Discuss Go Live

  • Final tests/cleanup any outstanding issues
  • Go live by making an update to the previously created ‘sync trigger’ single line text field on all necessary objects - this will set the sync to now sync ‘live data’
  • Run a Formstack Sync reset (if necessary) - this usually isn’t necessary and only would be if rules have changed considerably since starting the process
  • Monitor initial data sync
  • Work with Formstack Sync support to solve any individual trouble records

And now your sync is deployed.

On an ongoing basis, you’ll now be using the software if you need to make any changes (e.g. add new field mappings) and you’ll have access to Formstack Sync’s support team for any ongoing assistance you need for making changes to the sync or troubleshooting.

Happy Syncing!

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