As promised in our last blog, following is a checklist of important considerations for a CEO/executive for any integration/API type project.
I. Process/Data Mapping
- Develop workflow, process map, data map
- Workflow – Functional flowchart (End to end process)
- Process Map – High level diagram of APIs and connection
- Data Map – Data elements from each system or API
II. Assessment of API/Systems
- Obtain API and data access documentation – published or inquiry with support/technical team – not sales team
- Obtain access to Sandbox
- Bidirectional or unidirectional connectivity? One side is a closed system – what do I do? Vendor-provided options
- If the side receiving data in an integration doesn’t have API’s, figure out the best way to get data in. Try avoiding directly inserting records into tables. Bad practice!
- Import/Export options if no APIs
- Agree on possible data upload/download formats
- Road map for API or potential changes – must ask!
- Case studies of other companies that used proposed APIs
- Agree on SLAs for throughput (e.g. 1000 TPS)
- How secure is the system?
- Data archival/purge policy
III. Technical considerations
- Cloud or On Premise Solution and the associated egress costs
- Scalable, maintainable architecture
- Capacity requirements – current, 2-year, 5-year
- Diagram of Technical Solution – Integrated w/Process Map
- Process to obtain API Key to facilitate transactions or use plain old login/password authentication
- Data formats supported (XML, JSON, plain text, other)
IV. Maintenance/support considerations
- Once implemented, who is going to manage & support? – internal/external
- IT oversight and periodic testing – Quarterly
- System upgrade/sunset review and API verification – As needed
- Contract for periodic maintenance, review, and error fixes – Quarterly
- Process owner data validation and procedure periodic check – Quarterly
- Strategic planning update to API monitoring and procedure – Annual
- All systems backward compatible?
- Telemetry – monitoring, automated health checks – must have!
In summary, the checklist above is not intended to be all-inclusive and rather a sample of a much larger traditional list. Assessment of stakeholder desires, level of effort, one time cost, recurring costs, and return on investment should be evaluated, balanced and monitored continually. Considerations like egress costs between data center and cloud are utmost important, and without due diligence, can easily throw integration projects over time and/or budget.
We would love to hear from you and welcome comments, ideas, and suggestions. This will help everyone and make this an interactive process.