Keeping your business continuity plan up-to-date with current information is critical to its success.  At KingsBridge we recognize how important this is, which is why our Shield software helps you quickly import a CSV file of the latest information such as updated personnel, vendor lists etc. into the Data section of Shield.  One question that often causes our users to pause is whether to use Merge or Replace when adding new information.  While this question may seem daunting, it really is very powerful.

What is the basic difference between Merge and Replace using a unique identifier?

When Shield imports a CSV file of information, it uses the email address (for personnel) or whatever column you choose (for other data tables) as a unique identifier.  This means this unique identifier is used to match entries in the incoming file with entries in Shield.  When Shield finds a match on a unique identifier, the information in the Shield database is updated with what is in the incoming file.  In addition, Shield adds any new unique identifiers and their associated information to the data table.  These two actions will always take place when you use either Merge or Replace.

The big difference is when unique identifiers are in the current table in Shield and NOT in the incoming file.  When merging, Shield will not take any action on entries that are in the existing database and not in the incoming file.  Merge will never result in deleting or prompting you to delete entries from the database.

Replace however, is a different story.  The Replace function will look for entries that are in the current Shield database and not in the incoming file.  It will  remove these.  Additionally if one or more of these entries is used somewhere in Shield (in a report, BIA survey or team membership) but is not in the incoming file, Shield will prompt you to make choices about whether to delete these entries from Shield and proceed with the Replace function or not.  If we don’t delete the entries, we’re not fully replacing the existing data table with the incoming one and the Replace action will not be completed.

The only difference between Merge and Replace is whether or not entries that are not in the incoming file are removed.  The table below explains.


Merge and Replace Comparison

Merge Replace
  • Updates/adds new information for entries when a match is found on the unique identifier
  • Updates/adds new information for entries when a match is found on the unique identifier
  • Adds new rows for entries that are not already in the database in Shield
  • Adds new rows for entries that are not already in the database in Shield
  • Does not remove nor does it prompt you to remove entries that are not in the incoming file
  • Removes entries that are not in the incoming file and not used in Shield.  Prompts you to decide whether additional entries that are not in the incoming file, but are being used in Shield, should be removed.

Merge and Replace Examples

  1. The HR manager provides you with a new file of ALL personnel in the organization for you to upload to Shield.  They aren’t sure how many people have changed their contact information since the last file was provided to you. However, they are confident that the information in the file is current and complete.  Which function should you use?  REPLACE.  Replace ensures all the information for existing personnel in Shield is updated with what HR has provided.  It also means all new personnel will be added as new entries AND it will find any personnel that are no longer with the organization and remove them or prompt you to remove them from Shield.  This will ensure that your Shield personnel database is exactly the same as what HR has provided.
  2. You just went through a big hiring blitz. HR gives you the contact information for all the new hires and up to date contact information for a handful of existing personnel.  You need to ensure this information is accurate in Shield.  Which function should you use? MERGE.  Merge ensures that all of the new personnel are added to Shield, any updated contact information for the handful of personnel that changed roles is captured, but does not concern you with the need to remove any personnel.  We don’t know if anyone has left the organization (based on the information provided by HR).  With Merge, we’re just adding and updating information.

If you would like to see more details about Merging and Replacing, check out this infographic to learn more.

About KingsBridge

KingsBridgeBCP offers businesses of all sizes BCP Software Solutions and industry know how based on best practices.  We help build, exercise, and maintain Business Continuity Plans. Our services and software packages are customized to meet the wide range of our customers’ needs, ensuring we deliver the best value in every project. To learn more click here or check out our Services.