6 Ways to Evaluate Integration Capabilities
Here are six integration capabilities to consider when evaluating enterprise collaboration solutions.
30 May 2014
We all know that the need to quickly and easily share content and collaborate between teams is vital to getting work done in business today.
Ease of use is very attractive quality for end users. To make adoption easier, look for an enterprise collaboration solution which provides an easy, approachable and intuitive interface – one which can also be easily deployed within your current environment so that your end users can maintain their existing tools and workflows. If your workforce is already accustomed to specific internal content management or other enterprise tools like Microsoft SharePoint or Salesforce.com®, look for a provider which can offer secure file sharing and document control beyond the firewall in conjunction with your existing applications.
Here are six integration capabilities to consider when evaluating enterprise collaboration solutions:
Web services-ready API
A web services-ready API will provide your developers with a wide-range of functionality and an API which can manage and control content, users, sessions and system administration – one that can also be used within your organization’s custom applications. Make sure you know what architecture your provider’s API is built upon.
Having a connector that can integrate with the APIs of other enterprise software systems will let your organization securely extend access to content beyond the enterprise firewall to any customers, partners or other external contacts. To make your life easier, make sure your vendor can integrate with popular enterprise services you may already use, enable data integration without hand coding and offer XML-based communications between your service and external systems. You’ll also want to make sure the solution includes integration with file transfer, permissioning, reporting and workflow for existing enterprise software systems.
Ease of adoption
As we mentioned before, ease of adoption is a crucial component to ensure your workforce doesn’t seek outside tools. Your solution should be able to integrate with the APIs of other enterprise software systems to extend access beyond the enterprise firewall to ease adoption within your organization. This may also help speed up the onboarding process. Check if your provider offers onboarding support to internal and external users to help speed up the learning curve and make your initial onboarding a little easier.
Single point of control
Being able to have visibility and control across your entire enterprise, from simple to complex sharing, to ad hoc or more structured, or from public to confidential, is crucial. Look for an enterprise collaboration solution which offers a single point of control so you can know what information is being shared at all times. For regulatory purposes, make sure that your solution’s data governing processes are of the highest industry standards.
A plug-in can help streamline integration and workflow by allowing your workforce to use tools they are already familiar with like Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer®. Make sure any plug-in has been tested across multipleWindows® operating systems and MS-Office® releases.
The right content capabilities enables file assignment and tracking and limits file sharing, approval and audit trails to the framework of a project or collaboration group. Make sure you have the option to assign specific people and tasks to document approvals within your file sharing application. It’s also best if your solution can create auditable workflows for document approval, one which allows permissioned users to monitor all content within a project they created.
By keeping these capabilities in mind, you’re well on your way to evaluating integration requirements for your underlying platform. Just make sure that no matter what tool you use, your organization’s information security will not be compromised.
Stay tuned to learn what mobile capabilities you need to be able to share content and collaborate securely on the go.
Meagan Parrish is the Senior Manager of Social Media at Intralinks. She is responsible for social media strategy development and the communications for Intralinks' online communities. Meagan has been creating social media strategies for a variety of companies across verticals for the past several years. She holds Bachelor degrees in Marketing and Finance, with a minor in English Literature.