APIs: A Way Out From Silo Structures?

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Manage your silo structures with APIs
APIs can help overcome long-standing silo structures

This post is also available in: German

Integration and automation needs are particularly high at large companies and larger SMEs alike. However, this is precisely where IT landscapes consist of countless isolated solutions and long-standing silo structures. Yet this is a challenge that can be overcome with the right tools, such as APIs. Which can also help companies to get around shortages in IT skills.

Corporations are miles ahead in the digitalization of their company processes in comparison to larger traditional companies. Why exactly is that? One reason is definitely that it’s getting harder to recruit IT specialists. This means that smaller companies have to rethink their approach if they don’t want to fall behind. And there are a variety of innovative vendor solutions for driving forward relevant digitalization tasks out there to help them. Even if their IT team is on the small side.

Using APIs to support integration

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), for example, can offer valuable support. These help to connect isolated solutions to the overall framework. But APIs are not a cure-all. Before companies decide to opt for a solution, they should take a few points into consideration to make sure that connecting an API is the right option for them.

  • The idea that APIs are great and that everyone needs them has been doing the rounds. But is it true? Companies should first figure out whether it will be truly useful to automate certain tasks before they connect an API or create one for internal solutions. This is the only way keeping costs low and providing more time for employees to attend to other issues.
  • It’s a good idea to avoid proprietary or internal APIs. Manufacturers can change these at any time without advance notice, which will probably give rise to costs, and can even result in production downtimes. Companies should check whether the interfaces used are “public” APIs or methods.
  • An API’s requirements are as numerous as the systems and potential customers at a company. That’s why it’s imperative to ensure when selecting a solution that expansions to the data schema can seamlessly pass into the API without generating excessive work or costs.
  • Administration of authorizations can quickly become difficult to manage, as they are usually not maintained directly in the application for APIs. This makes it all the more important for companies not to reinvent their rights concept, but to work with existing resources from the basic application.
  • Introducing APIs doesn’t just call for technical change management. Employees also have to be prepared for change. Otherwise, the increased level of automation can result in feelings of helplessness.

Benefits of API connecting third-party systems

We at Matrix42 can also quickly and easily connect third-party systems to the Software Asset and Service Management solutions by means of a public API. This means that new processes can be modeled with business logics, independently of the data model. RESTful services can be used to create, change, or even delete objects. A customer-specific expansion of the data schema is possible at any time, and does not require any interface adaptations to be made on the part of the manufacturer.

Rigid implementation on the part of the manufacturer often resulted in problems with interfaces in the past. Instead, the generic data service offers the utmost flexibility. Roles and rights structures defined in the application help manage access rights. This results in significantly shorter rollout times at companies. Cost reduction at the same time can help lighten the workload for IT managers.

Application example for APIs – creating tickets

The typical function of public APIs is to create tickets. This can take place at any time via an external system, without having to request the self-service portal or send any e-mails. The public API fully supports the entire ticket lifecycle in consideration of all business logics using the business process solutions Software Asset and Service Management.

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