System Integration – API Style

||System Integration – API Style
By  | February 16, 2016

system integration

API definition according to :

API (application program interface) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. The API specifies how software components should interact and APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.

In today’s ever-changing IT landscape, system integrations are a way of life. We have all been a part of an integration conversation or have used an application that was an integration of multiple sub-systems. Some of us may have experienced the frustration that comes with a poorly designed integration. This blog post is going to focus on considerations and research for business stakeholders.

Everyone has an API, right?! This is partly true as a lot of SaaS companies talk about their robust API and how “easy” it is to integrate. What is missing from this marketing is all of the hidden complexities of APIs and long-term maintenance and management. APIs can often break, are poorly documented, and can change frequently (Facebook and Twitter). This can lead to frustration throughout the company ecosystem; from end users to the developers who manage the integrations.

  • What problem are you trying to solve by integrating system A with system B?
    • Who is it going to benefit?
    • Will you save time and money?
  • Who will own the integration project? PMO? Someone else?
    • Will a third party manage the integration?
    • How will change management and scope change be handled?
  • Who will need to review and sign off on the scope?
    • This is especially critical as you will need to understand as many components of the integration to ensure you have your objectives covered.
    • How will you integrate the two systems? API? ESB?
      • With so many different systems available, there will likely be many different approaches to integration.
    • What will your role be in QA? Will you involve end users to beta test?
      • It is best practice to be as involved as you can be in the testing and validation phase. You will want to ensure your business needs are being met by the integration.
    • Who will manage the integration long-term?
      • Are third-party applications involved?
        • What SLAs are in place?
        • Where can documentation be found on the API?
      • Who should you contact if an element of your integration fails? What is the escalation path?
      • How will you communicate to your end users if a feature or function of your integration has failed?
    • How will end users be trained?
      • How will their job function change?

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