Custom Imports and Updates

Time Matters has a very advanced and sophisticated import system.  There are many reasons one would wish to import data into Time Matters.  The most common is for new users of Time Matters who are converting from other systems.  If they are using Outlook, you can use “synchronization”.  For other practice management system or contact management systems there are pre-set import routines.  But there are other circumstances where you will need to use the Custom Import.  It is for those circumstances that I offer a few tips or best practices.

Circumstances where Custom Import is Required

(1) Your data source is Outlook, but you have used custom fields.
(2) Your have worked with Seibel CRM On Demand, and only have CSV (Comma Separated Value) Files.
(3) The built-in import doesn’t support the record type you want to bring in, such as “Notes”
(4) You are doing a “mass” export and cleanup and reimport
(5) You are enabling User Defined Records from a custom database or spreadsheet.

We use Excel to cleanup the data before import and prepare
(1) Always “index” your imports with some unique record ID.  In Excel, you can add an ID column, with data such as ADV001, ADV002.  By dragging the corner of the cell, Excel will complete the series.
(2) Use concatenation (e.g. =CONCATENATE(A2,” “,B2,” “,C2) ) to merge data from multiple columns.
(3) Use Cell Formatting on Dates and Numbers to get the “data” to look the way you want, and the “copy/paste” into a new column as text
(4) Replace the column heads with the Time Matters Core Field Name, or Field Label for the record type you will be importing.
(5) Mark as “DNC” for Do Not Code, any columns of data which you don’t wish to import.
(6) Search and remove all QUOTES “” in any of the cells, Except for Cells where there are Formulas
(7) When done, save worksheet to CSV.

When you are doing the import:
(1) Create a sample data set with only 2 or 3 records
(2) Save the Import Template and test it until it works perfectly.
(3) Then rerun the template, but change the data source to the full set
(4) Be sure to include the RecordID as a field you are importing, and set it as the matching field.  This is a critical step to avoiding the creation of duplicate records.