Here at Quick Base, we hate busy work. Sometimes, we notice ourselves taking the same, repetitive steps over and over. So, we often wonder whether there’s a better way. For instance, let’s say you’ve just invited a new hire into one of your apps. However, for them to start working you also need to create a record for them in your employees table. Is it necessary to manually keep your employee list up-to-date like that? (spoiler alert: There is a better way!)
These types of tables are common. You may call yours Employees, Resources, or Team Members:
This may not feel like a major issue if your company is only using a few apps. However, As you build more apps to serve a growing list of use cases, lacking a master data management strategy will become a larger obstacle to your success. For example, maybe your colleague remembered to create a record for your new hire in your time tracking app, but have they also been added to the employees table of your project management app? And if so, how confident are you that the information across those several apps is consistent?
Rather than manually managing these employee records, you can establish a master data management strategy to handle this. Master data management is the practice of consolidating critical datasets into a single source of truth. Data integration is typically used to mirror and extend that single source of truth in many places. Quick Base Sync has enabled companies for years to develop their own master data management strategy, where a table can be mirrored in several apps in a read-only format. What’s new as of August 2019 is the ability to pull your user list from the Admin Console into one of your apps.
You can now create an app to contain your master employee list, which is populated and refreshed automatically. Your app, which contains this master employee list, might be a custom account management app that you’ve built. Or, it could be a one-table app whose only purpose is to maintain the master employee list.
Once you’ve pulled your user list from the admin console, you can add additional fields to the table as needed. The fields you add will be editable, while the fields you pull from the admin console will be read only, like this:
You may be tempted to brainstorm, listing all your apps which include an Employees table, and then add fields to your master employee list to support all those apps. However, if many of those fields are only needed for a single app (HR, for example), then it might confuse other app builders in your account if they see a long list of fields. A more streamlined way of doing this would be to only add a field to your master employee list if it will be useful for many of your other apps. Let’s look at an example:
Master Data Management diagram: employees
In this scenario, we’ve used Quick Base Sync to pull user details from the admin console such as first name, last name, and email. We’ve pulled those into an account management app we built, and then added our own fields to log each employee’s department, title, and phone number. We then treat that table as our master employee list and use Sync to pull that employee info into a series of other apps. The HR app, timecard app, and project management app each have their own needs and so we add different employee fields in each one respectively.
Once you’ve set up your own master data management structure for managing employee data, it’s important to let the other app builders at your company know so they can benefit from it as well. That way, the next time they need to add an employees table to one of their apps, they’ll use Quick Base Sync to pull in a copy of your master employee list rather than create their own employees table from scratch. If you have existing apps which have their own Employees tables, you’ll save time in the long term by replacing those tables using the information in this article.