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FAQ for RM Unify MIS Sync
Published Date : 24 Nov 2017   Last Updated : 10 Apr 2024   Content Ref: TEC5983537  


RM Cloud Service Delivery can assist you with your MIS Sync installation. For further information, please speak to your Sales representative on 01235 645 316 or email getintouch@rm.com, quoting this article.

More Information

General FAQs

What MISs are supported?

The following MISs can send data to RM Unify:
  • Arbor
  • Bromcom
  • SIMS (inc SIMS Connected)
  • Cloud School
  • Facility CMIS
  • Integris
  • IRIS Ed:Gen
  • iSAMS by IRIS
  • Juniper Horizons (formerly Pupil Asset)
  • ScholarPack*
  • SEEMiS Click and Go (for Glow schools)
  • WCBS (on-premise)

*Note on ScholarPack: This MIS does not make teaching groups available to external systems. This might not be a problem for primary schools where year group and registration groups are granular enough for most user management, but does mean that group sync to Microsoft® 365™ and Google Classroom of teaching groups is not available.

What if my MIS is not on the supported list?

Please email the RM Unify Product team on rmunify@rm.com for further information on your specific MIS.

What data is taken from my MIS?

It is important for you to understand where your data is and what it is used for - this is an essential part of a school's obligation as a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), which is the UK Government's implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Please refer to TEC5891006 in the Other Useful Articles section below which explains what data attributes about users are stored by RM Unify and how you can see the subset that is sent to each app.

How is the school's data secured?

When you use our service, you trust RM to protect your data and your privacy. Refer to TEC5950948 in the Other Useful Articles section below that explains the processes and controls that we use to protect your data.

How quickly do changes in the MIS get reflected in my RM Unify user data?

Data is extracted from MIS and sent to RM Unify overnight. The exact time is dependent on the MIS:

  • Arbor, Juniper Horizons, 'IRIS Ed:Gen' and Scholarpack - Groupcall starts pulling data from all their XoD schools at midnight. As soon as the data for an RM school is received, it is synced to RM Unify by Groupcall XE. This means that a school can sync data at anytime from midnight up to approx. 9 am the following day.
  • Integris - Data is synced from 11 pm onwards, although manual syncs can be performed via the RM Unify Management Console outside of this time.
  • All other MISs - Data is synced between 7 pm and 10 pm every night.

What is the difference between Create Mode and Link Mode?

  • If you want to use MIS data to drive your user management - creation, modification and deletion of users; we call this Create Mode.
  • If you want to use your AD or a CSV to drive user management but enrich the user data with information from your MIS; we call this Link Mode.

Regardless of which mode you choose, you can continue to create users directly in RM Unify for those people that will never appear in your MIS or AD; for example governors or visitors.

What is Year of Entry?

The Year of Entry (YOE) is stored as a user attribute in RM Unify. It is inferred from their current year group, as sourced from the MIS. Specifically it is the academic year that the student entered Year 1 (Primary 1 in Scotland) assuming normal progression.

So in September 2017 if a student is in Y2, then RM Unify will calculate their YOE to be 2016 because that is the year they entered education in Y1. The YOE value reflects a linear progression through year groups, so if students skip or resit a year, their YOE will be updated to be reflective of that of their cohort and not the actual year they entered Y1.

For schools that include a Reception year, this will have implications if the school assume a student's YOE is when they started the school as a reception student. As an example, a student starts reception year in September 2017. For the school this means the student's year of entry is 2017. However, RM Unify calculates year of entry to be the year the student entered education as a Year 1 student and so will set their YOE in RM Unify and related groups to be 2018. In the same school, a Year 3 student may have entered the school as a reception year student in September 2014 but RM Unify will display a YOE of 2015 (i.e. when the student entered education as Year 1).

What if a teacher wants to be known as something different to their legal name?

Most MISs have fields to store a legal and preferred first name and a legal and preferred surname. RM Unify takes all four of these fields and always uses the preferred names if populated instead of the legal names.

Is MIS Sync required if I want to use Network Provisioning to my AD?

If you want to use Network Provisioning to push users down to AD, you will need a reliable source of data to feed into RM Unify and the best source of this data is MIS Sync running in Create Mode. For MISs that are not supported by RM Unify, CSV files can also be used to manage users in RM Unify, which will sync down to the AD. 

The important consideration to make is that, with an MIS, users are also automatically removed from RM Unify (and all connected apps, such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace), as well as automatically having their network accounts disabled, when they are taken off roll in the MIS. This protects your systems and data from unauthorised access by users who are actually no longer at the school. If you do not choose MIS to manage your RM Unify accounts, then you have a manual task to always remember to remove/disabled users as they leave the school. For more information on Network Provisioning, refer to TEC5797903 in the Other Useful Articles section below.

FAQs for Create Mode

What username formats are available for students and staff?

Student usernames can include the following elements, optionally separated by '.' or '-':

  • First initial
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Year of Entry - all four digits
  • Year of Entry - last two digits

Staff usernames can include the following elements, optionally separated by '.' or '-':

  • First initial
  • First name
  • Last name

Additionally, options exist to set a prefix (up to a maximum of five characters) and/or a suffix (up to a maximum of ten characters) for usernames, which is particularly useful in multi-school domain scenarios where you want to distinguish between school users.

When a username is generated, how is it guaranteed to be unique?

RM Unify appends a sequence number. 

For example, if Harry Potter and Hermione Potter are both teachers at Milton Park School and the username format for teachers is <initial>.<surname>, then:

  • The username for first user: h.potter
  • The username for second user: h.potter1

When a username is generated, will it include special characters such as apostrophes?

The username generated in RM Unify is stripped of non-alphabet characters and truncated at 20 characters to ensure maximum compatibility with connected services: AD, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, etc. This means that hyphens, apostrophes, underscores and ampersands are all removed. Where the username is cut off depends on the username format picked, but it always has a maximum length of 20. In the case where a sequence number is added to the username, taking it over 20 characters, the username is trimmed to 19 characters before adding the sequence number.

The email address is built from the username (with a domain name appended), so the name portion (prior to the '@') will also be a maximum of 20 characters. 

For example, if Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Cholmondeley-Warner becomes a teacher at Milton Park School and the username format for teachers is <initial>.<surname>, then:

  • Display name: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Cholmondeley-Warner
  • Username: l.llewelynbowencholm@miltonpark
  • Email address: l.llewelynbowencholm@miltonparkschool.co.uk

and, if Laurence's brother Lionel joins as well, they will get a sequence number appended to ensure username uniqueness:

Can I change the username format at a later date if I change my mind?

Yes, you can change the username format for new users and rename existing users in bulk if you want the new username format to apply to new and existing users. See TEC6902586 RM Unify MIS User Rename in Other Useful Articles below.

How do I know when new users have been created from the MIS?

Once Create Mode is enabled, a new page will be accessible in the Management Console, Download Passwords. From this page, you will be able to see the new users that have been created and can download these into a CSV so you can distribute the logon details. We recommend that you check this page periodically. 

The action of downloading the CSV sets an initial password for each account, which will be pushed down to your AD if you have Network Provisioning enabled. Prior to downloading the CSV, you can change any of the usernames on the Users page via the Change Username action.

When will accounts for new students and staff appear in RM Unify?

The MIS Sync data transfer will include the students that are registered as Accepted or Admitted. Staff that have an employment start date in the future and no end date in the past are also extracted and sent to RM Unify. As this process runs in the evening, any new accounts will appear on the Download Passwords page ready for the start of the next school day.

If Network Provisioning is enabled, the accounts are synced to the network with a temporary password immediately after they appear in RM Unify. This means the process of downloading the new user credentials will sync the new initial password down to the network.

What happens if a staff member changes their surname and the MIS is updated with this?

If a teacher's surname is modified in the MIS, RM Unify will receive the surname change and update the display name. However, it will not update their username nor email address automatically. If it is desirable for the new surname to be reflected in the username, the RM Unify Administrator can at any time (before or after the MIS change) update that person's username in the RM Unify Management Console. Changing the username in RM Unify also updates their email address so that the two stay consistent. The user will also keep their old email address as an alias in Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, so that any correspondence directed to their old address still finds its way into their inbox.

If this is a change in legal surname but the teacher wants to continue using their previous name, the preferred name field in the MIS can be used so that RM Unify continues to use this instead of the legal surname. This will ensure that their display name stays the same in all cloud services. 

We do not update the username/email address automatically because we understand that this needs to be a managed process as it affects their login and email experience.

How can I tell if the sync is working?

In the RM Unify Management Console, there is a 'Last sync from MIS' field. This indicates the last time any data was synchronised from the MIS. If the date is a day, or two days, or a week or more in the past, it does not indicate that MIS Sync has stopped working. It simply means that no data has been synchronised since that date.

How can I switch from AD driven user management to MIS driven user management

Moving to MIS Sync in Create Mode is easy. For more information, refer to TEC5427652 in the Other Useful Articles section below.

FAQs for Link Mode

Why is Link Mode useful?

If your school already has a robust mechanism for managing AD accounts, you might choose to drive cloud user management from your AD, an already trusted source. However, your AD probably does not contain education specific data needed by some cloud services: student UPN, MIS IDs, registration groups, teaching classes and parent data. This is where MIS Sync running Link Mode comes in. 

Link Mode allows you to link the MIS records that flow into RM Unify with the accounts that have been sourced from your AD. After installing MIS Sync and selecting Link Mode, you can use the Link Accounts page in the Management Console to help RM Unify link up the records. The service tries to automatically link based on the user role, first name and last name, but always needs an RM Unify Admin to confirm the links as we understand that data does not always line up between the two systems. 

Once the linking process is complete, the RM Unify users sourced from your AD will be enriched with the additional data that came from your MIS.

Why have my staff user's display names been updated after I've linked them?

When an RM Unify user has an MIS record linked to them, we have two possible sources for some user attributes: first name, last name and display name. In our experience, the name fields are better managed in the MIS than AD, in which firstname, surname and displayname are sometimes left blank. As such, RM Unify always uses the name fields from the MIS and not the AD. This is not a configurable setting. 

As detailed in the legal vs preferred name question above under General FAQs, the preferred first name and preferred surname fields in the MIS can be used to customise the data used in RM Unify and downstream cloud services.

Can I change my display name in RM Unify?

It is possible for non-student accounts to edit their display name to a preferred value. When logged in to RM Unify, click your name (top right), and from the drop down click My Profile. Next to your Display Name, click the pencil 'edit' icon, enter a new value, and click Save. This will update in RM Unify immediately, and all linked apps after a short while. Currently it is not possible for an admin to enforce a different, default display name format for users.

Other Useful Articles

RM Unify MIS Sync (TEC5427652)
RM Unify Network Provisioning (TEC5797903)
Groupcall Xporter for RM Unify MIS Sync integration (DWN4153727)
RM Unify data sharing (TEC5891006)
RM Unify Security and Privacy Controls (TEC5950948)
RM Unify MIS User Rename (TEC6902586)

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