Welcome to Microsoft School Data Sync

School Data Sync

School Data Sync (SDS) is a free service for Education that helps to automate the process of importing and synchronizing roster data (via CSV and OneRoster API) from Student Information System (SIS) / Student Management System (SMS) data with Microsoft 365. It creates Office 365 groups for Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, class teams for Microsoft Teams and OneNote Class notebooks, school groups for Intune for Education, and rostering and SSO integration for many other third party applications. SDS can also use the data to integrate with Insights and Analytics features.

SDS models the best practices of the Education Customer Success Team that has helped institutions successfully set up and use SDS to empower Microsoft 365 experiences globally.

The onboarding experience is broken down into the following steps: 1) ingest and transform, 2) validate, store and data health, and 3) use data to enable scenarios to improve learning outcomes.

We believe that applying these best practices, to improve the tenant administrator’s experience for onboarding and monitoring, along with better understanding of the health of their data, will provide more time for administrators to help educators focus on innovations to improve learning outcomes.

High level overview

We recommend reading SDS Overview for a deeper understanding of the core concepts of SDS.

Graphic that shows SDS high-level overview.

  • Ingest Data: SDS allows you to define your connection to your institution’s data stored in your SIS/SMS by defining your source system, the format of the incoming data, your user identity matching rules, and your active academic year.

  • Validate, Store and Data health: To determine the health of the data, SDS passes the data through data matching and validation rules to help safeguard good required and optional data only going into the data lake. Data that doesn't pass validation is identified as errors or warnings and isn't sent to the data lake.

  • Provision to Microsoft 365: SDS provides dynamic provisioning and roster updates for virtual classrooms in Microsoft 365, for simplified deployment and adoption of Microsoft 365 Group-enabled apps like Teams, SharePoint, Exchange, and OneNote Class Notebooks. SDS also performs provisioning of users and groups for IT, for simplified Microsoft 365 identity management, app management, and device management. SDS also provides the option to store the objects and attributes it syncs within Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), and then makes the information available to third party applications through the Education APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and Microsoft Graph.

    • Link users and contacts: Release Status – Public Preview

    • Manage Groups and Class Teams: Release Status – Public Preview

    • Create and license users: Release Status – Coming Soon

    • Manage security groups: Release Status – Coming Soon

    • Manage Administrative Units: Release Status – Coming Soon

  • Insights & Analytics: SDS can sync external SIS/SMS data with Insights Premium and link with Microsoft 365 activity and Azure AD data, for the purpose of providing advanced analytics within the Insights application found in Teams. You can create your own analytics with Education Data Lake Export to Azure in your tenant.

For those wanting to know more about transitioning from SDS (Classic) to SDS we recommend reading Transition from School Data Sync Classic to help with your planning.

SDS customer and partner benefits

IT administrators

  • Save time by automating creation of online classrooms and users.

  • Simplify security with a single, compliant source for user profiles and rosters that all classroom applications can use.

  • SDS mirrors data from the Student Information System (SIS) into Office 365 and Azure AD, automates provisioning of online classrooms and educator and student accounts.

  • SDS enables any classroom application to access encrypted cloud-based data through the no-cost API.

Educators

  • Spend less time creating classes, managing rosters, and troubleshooting access to apps and shared online resources.

  • Enable the easy creation of Teams for Education, OneNote Class Notebooks, Office 365 groups for online messaging, file sharing, and collaboration.

  • SDS integrates with many other education offerings and apps SIS vendors.

SIS/SMS vendors

  • Support and connect to more apps through a single, no-cost API.

  • Quickly and easily provide app partners with access to student data, allowing them to focus on differentiation, not app integration.

Application (App) partners

  • Provide customers with a single sign-on to their applications that “just works”.
  • SDS enables app partners to spend less time integrating with different SIS systems, and more time creating personalized experiences for teachers and students.
  • No-cost API works with multiple SIS providers, operating systems, and devices.

System integrators

  • Save educational institutions time by integrating their SIS with Office 365.
  • Build export/import processes for each customer or write cloud connectors that can scale across multiple schools, entities, and departments helping them keep their user profiles and class rosters up to date.

Relevant articles

School Data Sync Overview

Planning Checklist

User Identify Matching

Frequently Asked Questions