Map your data streams to successfully start with APIs
With APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) you integrate different systems and applications within your company, you can create a functional working solution. But before you start developing APIs. It's wise to map out the context first. This is difficult when data flows are not transparent (black box) and easier when data flows can be clearly traced back (glassbox). Only when you have insight into your data flows, then you should start developing APIs and automating the processes.
Why is it important to map data flows?
A good link is based on how your business procedures run and not how underlying applications work. Instead of working in a demand-driven manner, it’s better to proactively steer on smart APIs. If you build links reactively, at some point a muddle of APIs occur, they will be very cluttered and not easy to manage. Therefore, take a look at how your business processes work, and how you can support them with different applications. Only the essential applications can be connected to each other for a structured and efficient infrastructure.
Your data streams: in a black box or glass box?
Are your data streams difficult to bring up? Bad luck, then you have to deal with a black box. As an administrator, it’s not easy to discover what’s going on when there are problems. To map your data flows, you usually need technical specialists. A glass box has the functional and the technical level decoupled from each other, with the advantage that you do not need in-depth technical knowledge to understand what the system does. In this way, the management team can solve incidents itself. When you only work with technicians, it is fine to have your data streams in a black box. Nevertheless, technicians also look in a glass box to get faster insights and details of any problems in underlying systems. Moreover, you need these insights to monitor the integrity of your data flows (through authorizations).
Create data streams and APIs
We ourselves are very much in favor of working in a glass box. We believe in the transparency of the chain and making it visible as much as possible at the back. To develop sustainable APIs, you must therefore take into account three aspects:
1. Development: for building the links.
2. Architecture: which guidelines do we have to comply with and how does our data flow run?
3. Management: insight into all links are desired.
Keep the functional and technical side of the link separate. The big advantage is that an administrator becomes more self-reliant and incidents do not have to escalate to a more technical level.
Download the free e-book: 'The 10 principles of system integration applied' by integration specialist WeAreFrank.
Get started with APIs
By developing APIs, you ensure less fragmentation of information at the front end and employees can work data-driven. But the back is also important. With a link you let systems connect seamlessly to each other, but make sure that your links are in a glassbox. That way, the solution remains manageable and you build a sustainable system.