Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Curious how a robust developer portal can help your organization organize its data for sharing between departments and improve employee communications. Here we go...
Data is the lifeblood of an organization. Without it, it becomes hard to make decisions or even know what decisions to make. This can be true for any size organization, from a mom-and-pop business up to the federal government.
However, data is not only important - it's also messy. It lives in databases and laptops, Excel sheets, and PDFs. And this makes it hard for other departments within the organization to access that same data.
Developer portals are a great way for companies to share data with different departments. They can be used for different purposes, such as providing access to back-end systems or providing access to APIs. API portals create an organized way of accessing data.
This article will break down how a robust developer portal can help your organization organize its data for sharing between departments.
Challenges With Sharing Data Between Departments
The biggest challenge for organizations is managing data within their departments. Within most departments, each department has its own standard operating procedures (SOP). The SOPs help departments to be as productive as possible. But in a world where data is the lifeblood of every organization, SOPs get in the way of sharing data.
Employees need an efficient method of presenting data to different departments in a way that each department can use to make the most of it. Without a way for departments to share data, that data becomes irrelevant.
This tells you that harvesting data is one thing, but sharing and analyzing the data to generate reports and make use of it is another. Data is just that if an organization cannot find ways for its employees to use the data.
For example, consider a department that is involved in saving money. Data collected should help them make more informed decisions. However, an employee in that department needs to present this data to managers, who need it to create their budgets. Thus, an employee must present the data in a way that's different for each department.
How Data Accessibility Improves Employee Communication and Engagement
When employees need to collaborate and share data across departments, data accessibility can be a major hurdle. For starters, they need to share data that is relevant for other departments to use.
For example, employees in the finance department need access to the sales report for a marketing team, and they need to present the findings of that data in a way that the marketing team can interpret and use.
The issue of data accessibility arises when employees need to spend an inordinate amount of time tracking down the correct data. When data is spread out across multiple systems, and each department has its own method of presenting the data, employees should have all the information at their fingertips to make a smooth presentation. This is another challenge that often causes friction between employees and their management.
API portals that can connect systems reduce the friction that occurs when accessing data. Even better, APIs can also support the transformation of the data, by which different data can be presented in an entirely new way.
This improves employee engagement by making data more interactive and helps employees share their knowledge and insight across the organization. It also streamlines the process of compiling data for presentations and gives your employees more creative freedom when it comes to developing their data visualizations.
In addition, APIs can analyze big data quickly compared to other solutions. This means that once employees in a certain department have all the data that they need, they can use APIs to analyze the data and come up with presentations that match their requirements and those of the entire business.
Rather than focusing on hunting down the data, the employees can focus on providing the best presentations for their audience.
Lack of Data Accessibility Hurts Employee Retention
Imagine an employee responsible for organizing projects into actionable tasks. The employee needs to turn data into processes that can be shared with the rest of the team.
This employee is not in a customer-facing position, so they don't have access to client data that can be used to evaluate the project. In other words, their data access is limited to data from their department and the internal resources that they have.
This situation is why most organizations must store the data centrally. For project managers and team leaders to make effective decisions, they will often need access to data from other teams.
But this data access can be limited, especially in organizations where data is spread out over many different systems. This limits the ability of the team leader to make an informed decision, and in the end, the employee may lose morale if they feel the group is not working as efficiently as possible.
This is a situation that can be solved easily through the use of APIs. However, before developing or investing in third-party APIs, you need to check your existing systems and evaluate whether they can allow integrations or not.
If they can, you then need to get an API that allows these systems to communicate and share information seamlessly. If, for instance, an employee works in department A, they can easily get data from department B.
This data can be stored in a centralized location where employees with authorized access can retrieve it. This improves employee retention since employees have access to what they need for their work.
The Basics of a Developer Portal for Sharing Data
Because many CRM and SaaS platforms offer API keys, an internal developer portal will allow your company to integrate the information from those platforms into a central location. For example, you can pull account receivable information from your invoicing software and compare it to the marketing team's sales data from their CRM.
When both sides of your business have access to the same data, it becomes easier to make decisions, and better data is collected.
API portals come in a variety of types. Sometimes API portals are a suite of applications on a single website, giving access to various departments of your company. In other cases, an API portal is a simple web page that lets users access your APIs.
How to Choose Which Developer Portal Fits Your Data Communication Needs?
Choosing a developer portal for your business depends on several factors. The first consideration should be whether you have a development team capable of developing a robust portal.
Some organizations only need an application, whereas others might need several functionalities. Having a team with the ability to deliver complex solutions is important.
Here are a few things to look at when choosing the developer portal that fits your data communication needs;
- Reference docs: You need to ensure that your API developers have a reference for all API endpoints in your organization. This should include things such as data formats, response codes, supported HTTP verbs, and URL details.
- Examples and case studies: The developer portal you choose to use should also show examples of applications that have or are using your APIs.
- Discovery and features: You need to get your APIs’ overview, with information touching on the capabilities, features, benefits, and pricing of all APIs.
- Concepts and guidelines: Chances are that you already know that getting used to how an API works is one of the most difficult things. You, therefore, need concepts and guides to ensure that you can grasp the going-ons of your APIs quickly.
- Operational status: Sometimes, you might encounter issues with your APIs. Your developer portal needs an operational status page that shows the availability of your APIs. This page should also show all error codes and their meaning. This makes it easy for you to understand what might affect your APIs' performance.
- Easy onboarding: The most difficult APIs to use, especially when getting started, have very few users. Your developer portal needs to make it easy for users when onboarding.
- Changelog: Since APIs are improved and new features are added or old ones removed from time to time, you need to choose a developer portal that shows exactly that. This is important in helping developers find different and better ways they can use your APIs.
- Documentation: This is one of the most important things when choosing a developer portal. Documentations contain all the required details of your API and make it easy for developers and consumers to use APIs.
- Live support: Support can come in different forms. However, ensure that you have chosen a developer portal that offers live support with options such as a chat solution. This can help with access to experts who can help when you are facing integration issues.
Deploying a personalized, responsive portal takes time and requires expert knowledge. That's why many companies choose to work with a third-party developer portal solution provider.
The best developer portal for aggregating data and sharing it between departments is an API gateway, which allows organizations to integrate data from various application programming interfaces (APIs) into a single, unified API.
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