Question of the Week: Why APIs Matter For Your Staffing Software Solution Plus Some Questions to Ask.

David Linthicum defined APIs in his recent InfoWorld article “Lack of good API design hurts the cloud” as:

“APIs are fine-grain services that may be called by other systems, applications, or even people to provide access to core cloud services. They can be used for putting information into cloud storage, pulling information fromcloud storage, updating a cloud-based database, validating data, monitoring a network — pretty much anything you can think of.”

So it’s obvious when you are searching for a staffing efficiency improvement solution that you understand and validate the API capabilities of that solution. Some questions to ask when researching solutions include:

1. How many third party applications can plug into the system?

In other words, can you integrate to outside services you are using today or those that are required by your customers? A system that offers good APIs should not have any limit on the number of integrations and also should be able to integrate with any system. Typically background checking, time sheets and vendor managements systems are some of the applications that are mandated by your customers.

2. What is the difference between customizing and configuring a solution?

Customizations are modifications that either your vendor or you will make to the standard software. This makes you branch out from the standard software and will leave you behind on the older version of the software when there are new releases or upgrades. This is typical found with server based software. Configurations are changes that you make in the software that will let you to adopt the software to your business needs but you are always on the latest version of the vendor software. This you can only get in a True SaaS solution.

3. How frequently do you research and implement new technologies to better the solution?

Vendors need to think outside the box when it comes to researching new technologies and enhancements. Using the proprietary, drag and drop technologies not only restrict the vendors from making required changes to their software, but also force them to delay new upgrades because of the licensing and the capital investments they have to make.

4. There are emerging technologies released every day, so how do you plan on integrating those?

Job Boards integration was a must for last decade, now it is social media. The vendor should have the technology to be able to adopt the latest trends to provide you a greater value, without providing any headaches to go along with it.

5. What are some of the limitations or features NOT available?

It’s best to know up front if there are key features you need that are not available. It may be possible you can’t 100% of what you want, but can get 100% of what you need to improve your business. Even though you may not use it, ask for the API documentation and get someone on your staff that understands what it all means.

David Linthicum ends,

“I suspect developers will put more effort into the design and the deployment of cloud APIs in the next few years. They’ll simply have to: As public and private clouds get more pervasive, any vulnerable APIs will cause major problems whether for an internal cloud or an external cloud provider’s business. I hope the cloud providers will meet the challenge sooner than later.”

For AkkenCloud, as being a True SaaS, All-in-One solution provider, it was very important for us to keep all these points in mind and always think 4 to 5 years ahead of time. There is a reason why our customers and our partners say, ‘AkkenCloud API’s are the easiest to use’.

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