When should I build a custom integration with our CMMS through APIs?
The main reason you’d want to integrate your CMMS through an API is to satisfy highly complex reporting needs from multiple software systems. It’ll give you a lot of freedom with the data your maintenance management software gathers, though it does come with its associated costs too.
When the out-of-the-box solution isn’t enough
If what you get out of the box isn’t enough for your facility’s needs, you might want to consider integrating your CMMS into your other systems. A few of the reasons why you’d want to do this include:
- Advanced reporting, combining multiple lines of data into sophisticated metrics
- Improved data visualization
- Centralized data management, cutting down on business intelligence costs
- Improved decision-making as data is pulled together from all departments
- Better collaboration and higher agility
Achieve more sophisticated reporting
For example, suppose you’re trying to get information together to measure your MRO storeroom’s efficiency. Some of the data you’d need (such as inventory value, turnover, and spend per asset) would be available through your CMMS.
Other data may be harder to track with a standard solution. Metrics such as stock-outs and cycle count adjustments might need to be tracked through a dedicated inventory management system. Getting the data from both sources could be a hassle (at best) unless you have them tied together through an API. That information will be far more accessible, making the whole process much easier.
Tying your data together through an API integration gives you easy access to very precise, easily aggregated data across your organization, empowering your decision-making processes.
Of course, there are some costs associated with implementing APIs, both upfront and long-term. For starters, designing and implementing your own custom integration takes time and human power.
However, there are options, including useful tools such as Zapier or Sisense, to save you the struggle of building your own API from scratch, but again, there’s the task of choosing one and then implementing it.
Once you’ve implemented your API integration, it’s still going to require some overhead. Software evolves, and you’ll need to make sure your API keeps up with developments in your CMMS as well as all other integrated software. This doesn’t mean you necessarily shouldn’t implement an API, but it does mean you should make sure the costs are justified by the increased efficiency you’d gain by using one.