Datafeed Overview

by C.W. Holeman III

See the Datafeed FAQs for more info.

Table of Contents

Non-Technical Overview

In short, a datafeed is a way to automatically manage users in a site via a file that is regularly sent to us.


  1. Users typically originate in some type of HRIS (such as ADP, Paycom, etc). Your data source, (whoever they may be) will create a file which consists of headers that translate into Profile Fields in the LMS, and rows, with individual user values.
  2. Virtually all platforms are capable of automating the delivery of the Datafeed File (usually in a .csv format). If your data source doesn't have this capability you can manually upload files to our server on a regular cadence, or look into building your own automation (some clients use 3rd party services such as Zapier).
  3. The file will be sent via SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), which is a safe and encrypted transfer protocol used to move your user data  to our server.
  4. Your datafeed file is picked up by your Datafeed from the SFTP server at a predefined time and cadence, and processed into your LMS: adding, removing, and updating users.

Non-Technical PDF:

Detailed Technical Overview

Generally speaking, our clients' HRIS will generate a report that includes information for all actively employed people in their company. This report is then exported in a CSV file and sent to an sFTP server that we control. We then have a system that grabs that file at a regular interval and updates users in Wisetail according to what is found in the file. A Basic Datafeed runs once per day sometime between the hours of 10pm, & 4am MST.

Datafeeds are the most common way user management occurs in a site. The alternative to a datafeed is manual management, which for many of our clients is unrealistic given the number of users to create, update, and deactivate.

The set up process is fairly simple but can take some time, if you don't know what you'll need ahead of time. You will need to determine which data you'll need to have coming into the site, and work with your data source (typically your HRIS) to ensure that the file that will be sent to us is built correctly (clean data in, clean data out!). Your data source will then need to automate a system to send a file to the sFTP server where we can pick it up on our end. 

Generally speaking this file will contain only active employees in the HRIS. This means that the HRIS system will function as the source of truth of your users, so all data in the HRIS must be up-to-date to ensure the correct information is populating the LMS. Each time Wisetail processes the datafeed any employment or status changes in the file will flow through to the LMS and be updated accordingly.

For example, If a certain employee is terminated in the HRIS and does not show as an active employee in the data file, then the employee will be archived within the LMS. Similarly, if an employee is hired and added to the HRIS, this employee’s profile will be created in your Wisetail LMS the next time the datafeed runs. Employee profile field changes entered in your HRIS such as employee title, location or department will also update within the LMS as the datafeed runs each day.

Profile Fields

Required Fields

In the file you must include the following fields:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Employee ID (or other unique identifier)

We will need one profile field to serve as a unique identifier; something that will distinguish each employee individually. We recommend using Employee ID as your unique identifier.

Commonly Used Fields

The fields listed above are a great built-in starting point for user profile fields, but we can pull more user profile fields as needed. Which fields you will need depend on how you plan to use your site, and very greatly from site to site. Some common profile fields our clients use include:

  • Birthday
  • Hire Date
  • Title
  • Location
  • Department
  • Exemption Status

Additional Fields

You can also send us other data for other, less common, usages. As long as the data can fit into a Profile Field, you can pass the data to us, and have it populate for your users. The sky's the limit.

Datafeed User Process Flow

This diagram is a simplified picture of the general flow of how the data from your data vendor turns into users, updates, and removes users from your site:

Sample File

You can download a sample file:



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