Here's an overview of the major points of the Populi data migration process. The finer points may vary from school to school, but all implementations follow this storyline. If you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to contact your Populi Account Manager.
Initial account setup
On the initial account setup form, you'll indicate whether you wish to migrate data from your legacy system into Populi. Depending on its quality, we are able to migrate the following data from your legacy system(s) into Populi (subject, of course, to the Terms of Service):
- Academic Data: Course catalog, programs and degrees, current and historic transcripts, together with related data explicitly agreed to by Us and You.
- Financial Data: Populi does not import historic financial detail. All outstanding student balances and shall be imported as follows: Positive balances shall be associated with one “Balance Forward” fee. Negative balances shall be associated with one “Balance Forward” credit. Such fees and credits shall not contain specific component or payment details.
- Library Data: Library resource data in MaRC format (which is converted into Dublin Core for use in Populi Library).
- Person Data: Basic personal and contact information for students, faculty, staff, admissions leads, and other people stored in your system.
- Donations/Donor Data: Donor information, donation info (amount, fund, campaign, payment method, custom info, etc).
- Admissions Data: Lead names and contact information.
If your school is not migrating data from a legacy system, then your Populi site is ready to go as soon as you complete the signup form. The next thing you'll want to look at is our guide to setting up different areas of Populi. But if you are migrating data, keep reading!
Getting your data to us
If we're importing legacy data, after completing the initial setup steps described here, you'll need to get your data to us so we can begin converting it for use in Populi.
The most secure way to transfer your data to us is by using the Upload feature in your Populi Account section (if you prefer another method, youʼre welcome to use it—make sure to let us know what you'll be doing).
- Get aholt of your legacy database. For Microsoft Access databases, send the
.ACCDBfile. For MS SQL databases, send the
.BAKfile. If you have questions about data formatting and what we need on our end, please contact Populi customer support.
- Once you have the database files, compress them using a ZIP program.
- Log in to Populi and go to the Account section.
- Click the Files view.
- Under Legacy Data Import Files, click Upload Files.
- Upload the files.
- Click Done when you're finished.
During the data testing phase (see below), you may need to repeat the above steps as we refine our import scripts and test them against the most current version of your database.
Initial migration and data testing
Now that we have your legacy data, we begin working on scripts to translate it into Populi's database structure. Depending on the format and condition of your data, this generally takes from four to sixteen weeks. During this time you can continue using your existing system as usual.
At the end of this phase, we import this "first draft” copy of your data into a Populi "testing" site.
- This testing site is different than the Populi site you created during account setup (also known as your "live" site).
- The testing site is temporary and will go away once the data migration process is complete. The live site is what your school will be using.
- Your live site login will also get you into the testing site.
- Your testing site will be periodically overwritten as the data import scripts are refined (see below). Your live site will not be affected—you can start setting up Populi for your school.
Some data testing & review pointers:
- Get a team of people together to perform the review. Make sure they're familiar with your previous system and database. No one knows your data better than you, so make sure to devote staff time to this effort!
- Compare transcripts from your old system to the new ones generated in Populi. Common issues include grade scales, transfer credits, retakes, and any unusual academic situations.
- Examine things like contact information and any custom fields we've imported.
- When you find errors or incorrect data in the testing site, don’t change it in Populi! Your changes will be overwritten by subsequent data imports.
- Report your comments and any issues to us. We'll incorporate your feedback as we refine the import scripts.
Data testing depends on the condition and complexity of your previous system, how aggressively you test the data, and how many problems are uncovered and reported.
When you are ready to sign off on the imported data, weʼll schedule a time to push the finished data to your live site. The process works as follows:
- You transfer the final copy of your legacy database to us via Account > Files (see above).
- We use the improved import script to move the data into Populi.
- We shut down your testing site.
If you've been using your old system up until this time, at this point you should stop using it (unless you want to double-enter it in two systems). Some additional setup of Populi is still required, but your school's live site now contains your historic data.