web-insights_2.pngThis may surprise some readers: we think it’s important that it’s as easy as possible for users to get all their data out of our service.

It’s your data, after all.

People often don’t think about how they can get data out of a product or service before the day that they want to leave or when they decide they need a local backup copy of their data.  Here are four important questions:

  • Can you get all your data out?
  • How much will it cost to get your data out?
  • How hard will it be to get your data out?
  • Will your data be left in a form which is easily used in other tools and services?

It’s important that our service stands on its own merits.  We want to earn our customers’ loyalty through developing a great service and constantly improving it.  If we ever stop delivering on this commitment we would – for good reason – start to lose customers.  So we are not in the business of making the data extraction process difficult.

Unfortunately – as our Professional Services engineers will attest – not all products or services make it easy for you to extract your data. They charge fees for special tools, passwords, or assistance, or make you jump through hoops such as a final upgrade, in order to get your data out.

Some of you will note the close similarity to the philosophy of Google’s Data Liberation Front; as I’ve observed before this is all part of a commitment to open principles – we’re pleased to acknowledge their work as an inspiration for our work here.

So: how does it work?

Assuming you have ‘System Administration’ capabilities, all you have to do is navigate to the Export Database option in the Configuration area. Invoking this option delivers a compressed archive of all the data that is accessible by you: not just the main objects, but also data describing the relationships between them, plus your emails and notes. Everything is in as open a format as possible: for example CSV for the majority of data, HTML for notes.  Exactly as our own engineers would like to receive data extracted from other products.