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Migration FAQ for Primary Contacts

Posted: 1st July 2014

What will be different in the new version of BOS?

BOS has been completely redeveloped with lots of new and enhanced features.

When will the new version of BOS be launched?

There is no single date for the launch; instead, new account set-ups and the migration of existing accounts will be staged across this calendar year (2014).

When can I/my organisation migrate to the new system?

The migration of existing accounts will be a rolling process negotiated with each institution. All user accounts within an institution will be moved at the same time.

Do I/my organisation have to migrate to the new system?

The current version of BOS will be closed down as soon as we have moved all of the accounts across to the new system (late 2014 or early 2015).

Will I have access to both systems during the migration process?

No, once we start migrating your account you will only be able to access the new system.  See the What happens next?  section for more details.

How will this be handled?

We will be contacting you as the Primary Contact (PC) for the account to discuss the best time to migrate users and surveys. Once a migration date has been set we will contact all users within the account with further information about the process and timings.

How much will it cost to migrate?

There is no charge to migrate your surveys and users to the new service. You will need to have a current subscription and agree to a new set of Terms and Conditions (see below) as part of the move to the new service.

How much will a BOS subscription cost?

We have consolidated and simplified account structures so that most cost options, such as encryption and multi-language support, are now included as standard. We have also introduced a low price single user account and a limited use “Project” account. Existing customers will be contacted directly with costs for their specific account and licence type.

Will the licence change?

The licence has been updated to a set of Terms and Conditions to reflect that BOS is provided on a  Software as a Service (SaaS) basis and to better define the relationship between the data processor (BOS) and the data controller (you) with regards to personal data that is held on the system.

Our users are running important surveys, what will it mean for these surveys?

If a user has a long-running survey they will have to temporarily close it while we migrate the survey and data. We would then provide a redirect for their respondents so they could access the survey in the new system.

What can I do to prepare my institution for the migration process?

Closing or deleting surveys

Please encourage your users to review their surveys and to close or delete any that they no longer need. This will speed up the time needed to migrate an account.

We will not migrate any unlaunched surveys with a close date that is two or more years in the past. If a user has an unlaunched survey they wish to keep, they can edit the close date to ensure that it is moved across.

It is worth noting that if your users are collecting personal information about individuals, both the user and your institution have a number of legal obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998. Principle 5 of the Data Protection Act is particularly pertinent here:

“Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.”

If you or your users don’t have any specific reasons to hold on to the data, then it should be deleted. For more information about your data protection responsibilities see the ICO’s Guide to Data Protection.

Confirming user details

The new version of BOS uses email addresses as the username. We will need to contact individual users  to activate their new account, so please ensure that all user email addresses in your account are valid and up-to-date. See section below on duplicate email addresses.

Deleting users

It is also good practice to delete users who have left your institution or no longer need access to BOS. As the PC for the account you will see a “last login” column on the Users page, which may  help you decide who to delete. See more information about deleting users in the current version of BOS.  We have added a bulk delete tool on the admin interface to make this process easier.

As the Data Controller for the account you are responsible for ensuring the account is up-to-date. The BOS team will not be able to delete users or surveys from your account.


Choosing a short name for your account

The new address for BOS will be onlinesurveys.ac.uk – you will be able to customise this address by choosing a short account name as a prefix, e.g. poppleton.onlinesurveys.ac.uk

Your surveys would then use: poppleton.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/my-survey-name

Non-academic clients can choose from the following two alternative addresses:


  • yourcompany.bos-surveys.com
  • yourorganisation.bos-surveys.org


All responses will be collected over a secure connection and we will no longer allow customers to use an insecure connection to collect data using BOS surveys. Please contact bos-migration-support@bristol.ac.uk  if you want to register your short name for your new account.

What won’t be transferred as part of the migration process?

Duplicate emails addresses within accounts

Users that appear more than once with the same email address in an institutional account will not be able to be migrated across to the new system until they have consolidated their survey permissions into one account.  You may be asked by your users to delete superfluous accounts prior to migration.

‘Reviewer’ and ‘Results View’ user levels

The new BOS service offers greater flexibility for sharing survey results with other users; you can share restricted views of the data (for example, to exclude confidential or non-applicable responses) with other users even if that user isn’t part of your account. You can also create custom reports and download these as a PDF to share with individuals or groups of people who don’t have a BOS account.

These improvements mean we will no longer be supporting the Reviewer and Results View user types. We will identify which users/accounts will be affected by this change and contact you as the PC about these accounts but will we also need to contact individuals to let them know that their account will not be migrated.  As a PC you can choose whether to “upgrade” their access before migration so they have a standard user account which allows them to create and run surveys or wait until the  migration has taken place and then recreate the user with appropriate permissions on surveys.

Filters on existing surveys

Existing filters will not be migrated as the filtering and analysis tools have been completely rebuilt to allow more powerful exploration of the data.


Colour thresholds will no longer be supported as usage of this feature has been very low.

Classification tags

The enhanced analysis and filtering tools override the need for classification tags, so this feature has been removed in the new version.

Saved benchmarking comparisons

Any previously saved benchmarking comparisons will need to be recreated in the new system. Benchmarking groups will not be available until all of the participating organisations have been migrated across.

Incomplete survey responses

Incomplete survey responses will not be migrated to the new system (see New BOS Features document for details). If authors wish to keep incomplete responses for existing surveys, they will have to export these before the surveys are migrated to the new version of BOS. Access to incomplete responses will no longer be possible in the new system.

What happens next?

Contacting users on your account

We need to contact individual users on your account who have logged in since April 2010, as a matter of priority we will be contacting users with

  • duplicate email addresses
  • reviewer accounts
  • results view accounts

Migration process

Once a migration date has been agreed with you for your organisation, we will close access to your current BOS account 24 hours before the actual migration of the account takes place.  Access to the new system will be opened once all of the users and surveys (structures and responses) have been migrated across. Users will then receive an email inviting them to log in to the new system using their email address (username) and choosing a new password.

How long will this process take?

This will depend on the number and size of surveys and responses. We will give you an estimation of time based on the size of your account closer to the time of your migration.

Further questions?

We will add further questions and information to this FAQ as we progress. In the meantime,
if you have a specific query that is not covered here, please contact: bos-migration-support@bristol.ac.uk