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How do I configure the sync of Contacts and Calendar between OpenCRM and my Google account (Google sync)? Considerations when syncing between Google and OpenCRM. 

Updated: 31 July 2020 10:08:40 OpenCRM::Settings OpenCRM::Settings::Users OpenCRM::Settings::Google Sync

Our Google2OpenCRM keeps your Google and OpenCRM Contacts, Calendar, and Task lists in sync. Read more about how this works and what data is being used on our main Google Integrations Privacy Policy.

But if you're ready to start setting up, you've come to the right place!

This FAQ is going to walk you through setting up a sync between your Google account and your OpenCRM User account. (And splitting your OpenCRM Activities into Google Calendar items and Tasks.)

 You can jump straight to the setup (click here), but first we have a few things for you to consider:

1. General synchronisation considerations

2. And some tips for preparing for your first Google Sync

3. Give you some advice on the best way to manage your Google Contact folders when you do this

You can also click here to read through the various settings in more detail.

 

Consideration #1: General

Getting your Contacts and Calendar items synchronised between Google and OpenCRM offers a multitude of opportunities to share this valuable data with other systems and devices.

This FAQ outlines some of the considerations that you should be aware of, covering aspects that are less to do with the technical capability of your proposed solution and looks closer at Data Ownership and Best Practice.

Google Account Options

You have two key options available to you when you look at Google accounts, this includes the FREE Personal Account or Google Apps Business Account.

It is very easy to sign up to a FREE Google account and start to distribute the data from your corporate systems, however you should consider 'who owns the data'.

Using your employees own personal accounts that may already be set up and working raises the question of ownership of data and accessibility to the Google account should you need to restrict access for a specific user.

For this reason we would suggest you either sign up and manage the personal account yourself - in other words sign up to the account but keep the management of the user details within your control, this is not always feasible, or sign up to a Business Account where you manage the corporate account details and can restrict specific users as an overall administrator.

Mobile Devices synchronised from Google

Once the data is within Google many users will want to synchronise this information onto their smartphone, tablet or laptop. This process can offer real efficiencies when working off-line or in a disconnected environment, however you should think about how the mobile devices are used and the information that is stored on them.

By synchronising the data to an employees personal mobile device you should consider "who owns the data". You also need to consider how you would restrict access to this information if the need were to arise.

Many smartphones and tablets have a 'remote wipe' facility which can be triggered from a central administration control panel. If the device is owned and managed by your company this would be a wise option to set up to help manage the data when it is out in the field. This is useful if your device were to be stolen or lost as well as when you make changes to a persons employment.

Note : Be aware that a user could backup their device prior to your data wipe and the employee would be able to restore this data in the future, in most cases this backup is not accessible to you remotely. This is where your Employment Contract and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy offers a level of protection.

Contract of employment

It has been common practice to have a section in your Contract of Employment that gives details on acceptable use for data and company resources. Alternatively, you may have a dedicated BYOD Policy for employees to sign who wish to use their own mobile device to access company data.

There is also quite likely a Non Disclosure Section which will cover what should happen to any private information including data if the employment were to be terminated.

It is advisable to get some specialist advice on how best to manage this aspect of your contract but at the least should include a protection for your business and its clients with regards access to this information. Consider who is responsible for reporting any loss of the device and how secure the device should be (passwords etc..)  that has your data available.

Third Party Applications

Synchronising your data into third party applications such as PIM's, Social Networks (Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, Twitter) and other vertical applications (such as Tungle.me) requires you to think seriously about who will get access to these applications and how you will manage restricting access if this became a requirement. Some third party applications exist to give a wider community access to your information, remember that once distributed this can be very difficult to protect. Consider your company's responsibility to this data on behalf of your clients and prospects.

User Permissions once data is out of OpenCRM

You need to think about how the data that is synchronised will be visible once it is outside of OpenCRM. As an example, you could create a single Google account to manage ALL your users calendar items. You can create different Calendars in Google and synchronise these calendars with individual users. The synchronisation process takes account of the OpenCRM security model and therefore will only let your user synchronise items that the user can see in OpenCRM. If, however, you were to give access to a user to the Google account they can see ALL of the Google Calendars you have set-up to synchronise, this would allow them to see other peoples calendars and might mean they can see items that would otherwise be protected in OpenCRM which Google does not have a way to secure.

The other area that needs a dedicated thought process is when should you synchronise to a general 'global' contacts list and have multiple user from OpenCRM synchronising into this 'pot', OpenCRM will faithfully support the security that you have set up within OpenCRM but once the Contacts are shared in Google you do not have any of the granular OpenCRM security and therefore one user may be able to see all records which might include records that are private and protected in your OpenCRM system.

These data situations can be managed and supported with a proper data management strategy but it does need a considered view and some serious consideration for the bigger picture and who is responsible should a data leak occur.

These suggestions are provided as guidance only to help highlight the areas that you should be looking at when drafting your strategy and putting these data synchronisation features in place.

 

Consideration #2: Tips before your first sync

The following are some guidelines that we hope will help you attain a successful outcome.

Before you begin....

Back up your data - Make sure you have an easy route back to your starting point. Please do not underestimate how easily things can become challenging and mistakes can happen, being able to return to the vanilla state is a real psychological cushion.

Know your data.....

One of the most common problems with synchronising data is getting duplicate records. This can be caused by a number of problems, however what is also very common are users reporting duplicates within their systems when in fact the duplicates already existed. Because OpenCRM allows you to filter your data into an efficient working view you may lose sight of some of the records that are not always visible and therefore you don't fully appreciate what you will see in Google.

Turn off other Sync Tools

The best advice we can give is to let your synchronisation strategy evolve. Turn off all other synchronisation software, this includes Smartphones, Microsoft Active Sync & Third Party Sync tools - Google Sync add-ons etc....

Smartphone

Remember that you may have set up your smartphone to synchronise with your corporate systems using Active Sync (Exchange account) and this will quite likely be synchronising between your phone and Outlook/Exchange. Disable the synchronisation so that you do not get any unexpected behaviour, perhaps caused by an unknown loop within the synchronisation process (different applications carrying out the same job and creating duplicate records).

Your Android phone was probably set up with your Google account - be sure that you have the correct account details set-up and you do not have multiple Google accounts which are set to automatically synchronise data. Again, this can cause problems with duplicates and will just make your job tracking down any errors in the event you need to troubleshoot the process even harder.

Social Media

On your phone or elsewhere on your different devices you may have set up synchronisation with Social Media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, & many others. You are advised to disable these synchronisation services. Once you have a successful synchronisation between OpenCRM and Google you can turn these back on one at a time to track if there are any unusual results.

Targets and Sources

Take a moment to think about the the terminology that is often used when discussing synchronisation. Particularly if you need to get assistance from someone else.

Source or Host is the originating location - this can be OpenCRM OR Google dependant on where the record was created.

Destination or Remote is the location where the data is being synchronised to.

The key here is to be aware that a record might be created in OpenCRM (The Source or Host) and saved into Google (Destination or Remote), this record may well then be synchronised into another device. When this second part of the synchronisation process takes place Google becomes the Source or Host and the third party application becomes the Destination or Remote. In this scenario you can see how Google has been both Destination and Host as the record passes through the full synchronisation process.

 

Consideration #3: Managing your Google Contact folders

Within a User record, there are a number of Google Sync settings which allow for better control of the contact synchronisation. 

These settings can be accessed by clicking on the Google2OpenCRM button from a User record

Google contact folders to sync to OpenCRM (blank is all)

Here you can restrict which of your Google contact groups (folders) you wish to sync down into  OpenCRM. If you do not select any folders then they synchronisation process will synchronise ALL folders.

OpenCRM contact folders to sync to Google (blank is all)

The reverse of the above. Restrict which OpenCRM contact folders to synchronise to Google to only those selected. The contact folder is a new field on the contact record as of version 3.03. The values in the list of folders can be edited in the standard picklist editor.

Like above, if you choose no folders from this list, the synchronisation process will synchronise all contact folders.

Create Google contact folders to match OpenCRM

If you sync a contact from OpenCRM to Google and the contact is in an OpenCRM folder that does not have a matching Google folder (group), then ticking this box will cause the folder to be created as part of the synchronisation process, and the contact will appear in this new folder in Google. If you do not tick this then the contact will be placed in the default folder specified. This feature should not be turned on if the same contact records are being synced with multiple Google accounts

Default Google Contact folder

If a contact does not have a contact folder set in OpenCRM, or there is not a matching contact folder in Google and the previous setting is not enabled, the contact will be added to the folder specified here. If no folder is set here and there is no matching folder(group) in Google, then the contact will be added to Google with no folder (group) membership. This will cause the contact to appear in a pseudo group in Google called "Other Contacts". You may have difficulty in synchronising the "Other Contacts" group with other devices as technically the group does not exist.

!Important Note on Google contacts in multiple folders!

As OpenCRM can only hold reference to a single contact folder, you should be careful when using these options if you have Google contacts in multiple contact folders, as when synced from OpenCRM, the contact will be placed in the folder specified from OpenCRM and folder/group membership to any other folder/group in Google will be removed.

 

 

Enable Google Sync

The first thing you need to do is enable Google to sync with your OpenCRM at the global level.

1. Contact our support team for you Activation key, make sure you have this to hand as you go through this set up.

2. Go to Settings -> Configuration block -> Google Synchronisation

3. Read and agree to the disclaimer.

4. Copy and paste the Activation Key into the appropriate field.

5. You will need to then enable Google Sync. If you would like to be enabled only for specific users, this will be set at the individual user record (see below). You can also choose to enable it for ALL users, although you will still need to set this up for each user.

6. There are a number of options here for you to choose from, see this FAQ for a detailed description of each

7. Once you have set this up click Save (bottom of the page).

Set Up User Account

Once set up, you will be able to sync your Contacts and Calendars between OpenCRM and Google. Before you set off the below, you might want to make sure you don't have duplicates in your Google data that would be brought into OpenCRM and vice versa.

To set up this sync, you will need to be signed into both OpenCRM and Google. Please make sure you are using the correct Google account with authorising access to OpenCRM. Otherwise, OpenCRM will sync records to the wrong account! (If you do this by accident, please contact support.)

1. Go to My Account and click edit to enable the Google sync and choose to allow one or both of the Calendar and Contact sync. Click Save.

2.. Click the button at the top of the screen that reads Google2OpenCRM.

4. Enter your Google username and click Sign in with Google

 

5. You will first see a popup giving you instructions on the next steps. Click ok.

6. Then you will be taken to a popup window where you can sign into your Google account or select it if you are already signed in.

Once you have selected your user or signed in, you will need to "Allow" OpenCRM to make changes in your Google account:

7. Once you have authorised access, you will be re-directed to a page which will display your authorisation key.

11. Copy this key and paste it into the Access Key field back in OpenCRM.

12. Click Save 

 

You will be taken to a screen where you can set up your Contact, Calendar, and Task syncing.

 

Note: OpenCRM will sync to Google activities where the start date is in the past 2 months or up to 1 year ahead. Google activities will be synced to OpenCRM where the activity start date is in the past 2 months or next 2 months.

 

Why should I not tick the "Create Google contact folders" option in my Google Sync settings?

The "Create Google contact folders" option should not be selected when a contact record is being synced to multiple different Google accounts. E.g. your users are not restricted to the "Only My Contacts" option.

The reason this should not be selected is for the following scenario:

1. Contact Joe Bloggs is synced to Google accounts for Mary and Jim

2. Mary puts Joe Bloggs in Google contact Group "Colleagues"

3. Joe Bloggs OpenCRM contact folder is set to "Colleagues"

4. Joe Bloggs record syncs out to Google account for Jim, creates folder "Colleagues" in Jim's Google account

5. Jim moves Joe Bloggs from Google contact folder "Colleagues" to "Friends"

6. Joe Bloggs record syncs back to OpenCRM, setting folder as "Friends"

7. Joe Bloggs record syncs back to Mary's Google account, creates and places in folder "Friends"

This could be just an irritation, but could cause more of an issue if either Mary or Jim have restricted which of their Google folders are to be synced with OpenCRM. If Mary has chosen only to sync the Google contact folder of "Colleagues", then by the time we reach step 7 in the above sequence, the contact Joe Bloggs will no longer be part of Mary's sync scheme, so any changes made in Google will not be picked up.

 

Google Tasks (Pending Approval from Google)

It is possible to split your OpenCRM Tasks out of that Calendar sync and send them to Google Tasks.

To do this, you will need to: 

1. Follow the steps above to authenticate your Google account

2. Tick to include Tasks and select Google Tasks from the dropdown. This sets where OpenCRM Tasks will be sent: your Google Calendar or Google Tasks

3. Select which Task lists you would like to sync and set a default list

4. Tick to Enable the Calendar/Task Sync

5. Click Save 

Now any tasks you have in Google will be brought into OpenCRM and vice versa:

 

 

Detailed Settings

To access the Google2OpenCRM settings you should select SETTINGS (Top Right) > Configuration Panel > Google Synchronisation.

The following is an overview of the key settings.

OpenCRM Google2OpenCRM Warning

This is an important warning and should be read and considered before you start your sync project. Please remember it is easy to set up and synchronise data between OpenCRM and Google, the thought process needs to go into the strategy that you are going to implement particularly with third party applications.

 

Basic Settings  
ENABLED By selecting this tick box you enable GSync. This is a useful option to quickly turn off synchronisation across your whole organisation. Regardless of the user settings or whatever else is selected by deselecting this
ACTIVATION KEY This is a unique code that you should obtain from OpenCRM support. Without this code the GSync will not process any data.
ENABLE ALL USERS This tick box marks all current user accounts with GSync enabled. This is done when the settings page is saved. The tick box is deselected once the page has saved successfully. If you reapply this setting at any time it will enable GSync for ALL current users, any users already enabled are of course unchanged.
   
ENABLE CONTACT SYNC This is a global setting. Without this tick box selected you will not be able synchronise Contacts within your organisation. This Tick Box also dictates what options are available for a User. If you deselect this globally (that's here) then user will not be able to select to synchronise their Contacts.
ENABLE CONTACT SYNC FOR ALL USERS By selecting this tick box and saving the page you will automatically tick ALL your current users Contact Sync option. This tick box will be deselected once the page has saved and ticking it in the future will tick this user setting on ALL active users.
ENABLE CALENDAR SYNC This is the global setting to enable Google Calendar synchronising. If this is deselected then your organisation will not be able to synchronise ANY Google Calendars. Having this disabled limits what can be set on your users settings.
ENABLE CALENDAR SYNC FOR ALL USERS By selecting this tick box and saving the page you will automatically tick ALL your current users Calendar Sync option. This tick box will be deselected once the page has saved and ticking it in the future will tick this user setting on ALL active users.
   

ALLOW ALL USERS TO EDIT THEIR OWN GOOGLE SYNC SETTINGS

This controls the "Can modify own Google Sync Settings" at user level. Ticking this will turn this tick box on on ALL users. This allows a user to be able to enter/control their own Google Synchronisation settings, even if they are not an administrator user. This can be used to allow an admin to grant access to Google Sync to a user and let the user set this up for themselves. The user will only get access to the user level settings, not the global Google2OpenCRM settings.
   
ALLOW ALL CONTACTS Ticking this option will allow the user to sync all contacts to which they have access (restricted by normal OpenCRM security). If this option is NOT ticked, the user can only sync contacts of which they are the OWNER (Assigned to). With this option ticked, the user can still choose to sync only their own records. For calendar items, the sync will always include any calendar item to which the user, or user's team is linked.
SYNC DIRECTION This is a global setting that specifies the ways that data can be synchronised, this includes BOTH (allows synchronisation between Google and OpenCRM as well as OpenCRM and Google), OpenCRM > Google (Only allows data from OpenCRM to update into your Google account), and Google > OpenCRM (allowing data from Google to be synchronised and populate your OpenCRM system.
   
Advanced Google > OpenCRM Settings  
Contact Match Fields These fields are non editable and will be set up by OpenCRM support if you need any changes. In general these fields will not require any amendments.
Contact Do Not update fields OpenCRM support can specify fields that will not be updated when the synchronisation happens, this can be useful when you need to maintain data integrity of a field and there is a chance that the value could be updated from two different sync sources.
Contact - field/create linked companies This uses the Google company field and attempts to match this with a company record in OpenCRM
Contact Update Rule This setting specifies how you will handle Contact updates when the sync process runs, you can select to update OpenCRM with changes made in Google, never update when changes are made in Google or Google Only which will only update Contact records when the record was originally created in Google which will help maintain data integrity if you wish OpenCRM Contacts to be protected from external updating.
Contact Conflict Resolution This settings allows you to set which record should be kept if a conflict occurs - using the date stamp the changes will be kept dependant on what you select here. You can elect to have a primary source (Google or OpenCRM) or accept the most recent change.
Calendar Task Update Rule This setting specifies how you will handle Calendar and task updates when the sync process runs, you can select to update OpenCRM with changes made in Google, never update when changes are made in Google or Google Only which will only update Calendar records when the record was originally created in Google which will help maintain data integrity if you wish OpenCRM Calendar items to be protected from external updating.
Calendar Task Conflict Resolution This settings allows you to set which record should be kept if a conflict occurs - using the date stamp the changes will be kept dependant on what you select here. You can elect to have a primary source (Google or OpenCRM) or accept the most recent change.
Contacts Delete Rule Specify if you wish to delete Contact records in OpenCRM if they are deleted in Google.
Calendar Task Delete Rule Specify if you wish to delete Calendar records in OpenCRM if they are deleted in Google.
Contacts Delete Conflict Rule This field specifies what you should do with Contact records that have been deleted in Google since the last change in OpenCRM.
Calendar Task Delete Conflict Rule This field specifies what you should do with Calendar records that have been deleted in Google since the last change in OpenCRM.
   
Advanced OpenCRM > Google Settings  
Contact Update Rule This setting specifies how you will handle Contact updates when the sync process runs, you can select to update Google with changes made in OpenCRM, never update when changes are made in OpenCRM or OpenCRM Only which will only update Contact records when the record was originally created in OpenCRM which will help maintain data integrity if you wish Google Contacts to be protected from external updating.
Contact Conflict Resolution This settings allows you to set which record should be kept if a conflict occurs - using the date stamp the changes will be kept dependant on what you select here. You can elect to have a primary source (Google or OpenCRM) or accept the most recent change.
Calendar Task Update Rule This setting specifies how you will handle Calendar and task updates when the sync process runs, you can select to update Google with changes made in OpenCRM, never update when changes are made in OpenCRM or OpenCRM Only which will only update Calendar records when the record was originally created in Google which will help maintain data integrity if you wish OpenCRM Calendar items to be protected from external updating.
Calendar Task Conflict Resolution This settings allows you to set which record should be kept if a conflict occurs - using the date stamp the changes will be kept dependant on what you select here. You can elect to have a primary source (Google or OpenCRM) or accept the most recent change.
Contacts Delete Rule Specify if you wish to delete Contact records in Google if they are deleted in OpenCRM.
Calendar Task Delete Rule Specify if you wish to delete Calendar records in Google if they are deleted in OpenCRM.
Contacts Delete Conflict Rule This field specifies what you should do with Contact records that have been deleted in OpenCRM since the last change in Google.
Calendar task Delete Conflict Rule This field specifies what you should do with Calendar records that have been deleted in OpenCRM since the last change in Google.

 

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