Import Your Bantam Live Archive into BatchBook

by Kurt Milam on June 17, 2011

If you’re a Bantam Live customer looking for an alternative cloud-based small business customer relationship management system with social networking integration, we’ve got news for you! xioup is pleased to announce the release of an import service that makes it possible to migrate almost all of your Bantam Live data into BatchBook.

Back Story: Bantam Live is Shutting Down (Temporarily)

Constant Contact announced the acquisition of Bantam Live in a press release dated February 16, 2011. The focus in most of the technology news outlets was the purchase price ($15 million) and the reason for Constant Contact’s interest in Bantam (Bantam’s “highly scalable technology”).

The message to Bantam customers in Constant Contact’s February 16 press release announcing the acquisition was reassuring:

While Constant Contact integrates the social CRM technology into its core engagement marketing services, Bantam Live will be free of charge to active Bantam Live customers.

So why the fuss? In contrast to the reassuring public guidance Constant Contact communicated to existing Bantam customers, news soon started to leak out that Constant Contact was actually planning to shut the service down on July 1, 2011, with vague plans to reopen it some time in 2012.

At the time this article was written, Constant Contact had not responded to our request for a statement.

Enter BatchBook

BatchBook is a full-featured, SaaS CRM aimed at small businesses. Like Bantam, they offer some innovative social media integration features. We’re big fans of BatchBook – we use it in our business and recommend it to our customers. We’re official BatchBook Experts, BatchMakers and have implemented a number of successful integrations with BatchBook’s API for customers around the world.

As you can probably tell, we like BatchBook, and we think it’s an excellent choice for small businesses who are searching for a cloud-based CRM solution. We also think it’s a great alternative for Bantam customers who need to find another service to manage their contacts’ information.

We aren’t the only company who feels that way, either. Bantam customers started making their ways, on their own, to BatchBook, and recognized that it was an excellent candidate to replace their current system. The only problem at the time: How do you get all of your data out of Bantam and in to BatchBook?

When all of this went down, the BatchBook team was deep in the middle of a super secret project that had most of their development resources tied up. Since then, they’ve announced the project: The New BatchBook, coming to browsers near you later this year. Great news for BatchBook users, but not much help for Bantam customers hoping to salvage their priceless data stored in Bantam.

xioup to the Rescue!

When Pamela O’Hara, BatchBook’s CEO and Co-Founder, contacted us in April and asked whether we’d be interested in writing an import tool to bring Bantam archives into BatchBook, we said “sure!” It took us a little longer than expected to get everything refined and completed. We’re sort of perfectionists here at xioup. We know how important the data in a company’s CRM system is, and we wanted to build an automated importer that brings in as much data as possible from Bantam archives.

We’re happy to report that our importer brings in all contacts (companies and people, including all address information, tags, special dates, social networking profiles and rss feeds). It also brings in 100% of Bantam deal and project information, notes, tweets and internal messages (including creation date, author and recipients). Bantam statuses are brought in, as well, albeit without creation dates, since they’re not included in Bantam’s export archives.

For your convenience, the importer adds a link to each imported contact, deal and project record, pointing to the original record in Bantam. This makes it easy for you to compare records in the two systems and make any manual adjustments in BatchBook that may be necessary.

We think the importer is pretty awesome, but it’s not quite perfect. Here’s a quick list of limitations:

  • Bantam doesn’t include email bodies in their exported archives, so we import emails as BatchBook communications, bringing in the email subjects, and we place a link in each record that points to the corresponding email message in Bantam. This should make it relatively easy to copy email bodies over to BatchBook manually, where necessary.
  • Bantam doesn’t export Task or File information in the XML archives. It’s unfortunate, but if the data’s not in the archive, we can’t import it into BatchBook. If Tasks and/or Files are especially important for you, let us know and we may be able to come up with a solution.
  • Bantam archives don’t contain data that’s marked private, with one important exception. Private data belonging to the admin user who creates the archive may be included in the archive. There is no way for us to know which data is private. Everything we import into BatchBook will be public.
  • Events are exported in Bantam’s archive, but BatchBook’s API doesn’t currently support event-creation. You’ll have to bring your events into BatchBook manually.
  • The BatchBook API doesn’t currently support associating communications with deals, so you may have to do some manual work to recreate these connections.
  • Bantam organizes some information in a slightly different manner than BatchBook, so there are a few other minor quirks (mostly related to Bantam notes and comments).

The low-down: We bring in as much data as we can from Bantam and we organize it as well as possible,within the confines of the two systems and the limited amount of time we had to perfect the process.

Where do I Sign Up?

We suggest that you contact first. They’ve written a couple of FAQs (1, 2) about the process, and have also offered to sponsor a limited number of imports.

If you don’t make it in time to get a sponsored import, we’re charging a very affordable price of $50 per archive. Each process takes around an hour, but varies based on the size of the archive.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Evgeny Petukhov June 19, 2011 at 08:07

“Bantam doesn’t export Task or File information. It’s unfortunate, but if the data’s not in the archive, we can’t import it into BatchBook.”
It’s true for archive.xml, but archive.json contains more information.
- text, author, assigned to, date
- comments
- filename (but text from the author is missing)
- comments

Kurt Milam June 20, 2011 at 09:23

Thanks for that info Evgeny. I wasn’t aware that the datasets in the JSON and XML archives were that different. We’ll keep that in mind as an option if I run across any Bantam customers for whom task import is important.

I updated the section of the article you quoted to reflect that the info isn’t exported in the XML archive.

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