Integrating Silverbucket

It is common practice to integrate Silverbucket to other systems. In the high level integrations are very simple. You just have to decide these four things: what data to integrate, what is the source (master) system of that data, what is the requirement of data availability and what system is handling the updates. But (there is always a but) in reality there can be very many details in these four main subjects and the task can feel exhausting. When you are planning the integrations here is some information to easy this task and begin your journey to the integrations.

What data to integrate

It is not necessary to integrate all the possible systems and automate every data flow with the help of the computer. However, often there is many cases where integration and automation can help achieve more productivity when the same data is available in different systems as it is created or updated in one master system.

Most important data to integrate

From Silverbucket's perspective when you are planning the most efficient way of handling resourcing, and the most important information to have available, is persons and projects. If you are in doubt of where to begin, concentrate on these two entities.

Single sign-on

Very few people are interested in remembering multiple login credentials. When talking about integrating personnel data it is advisable to consider if it is possible to setup some single sign-on procedure. Silverbucket supports many common SSO solutions and they can be configured from Silverbucket's Administrator view. Read more about this subject here.

Second wave for integrations

When you have handled the most important data it is time to start thinking what other entities would be handy to have available in multiple systems and updating automatically. Typical complementary data include:
  • Actual hours reported by the users
  • Person's competencies and competency structure
  • Organisation structure

Integrations for reporting

Managing resourcing requires few entities to be present in the Silverbucket which we handled in the above sections. When talking about reporting Silverbucket has quite many reports already in place but sometimes your organisation may require some specific reports which are not available in the Silverbucket. Common scenario is that when you have resourcing in place and the processes are working it is time to start setting up integrations for collecting resourcing data to some reporting system. For reporting purposes the most common data includes:
  • Resourcing forecast (allocations)
  • Reported hours (actuals)
  • Persons
  • Projects

Master data system

After you have decided what data to integrate the next step is to consider that which systems are the master data systems for these entities. Silverbucket can act as a master data system for all of the entities needed in resourcing. When deciding the master data system you should identify other systems in use and check if some processes are already in place to manage different entities in these systems. If so, these are good candidates as a master data system for the entity in question. Below is few examples for selected entities.

Source for persons

If your organisation is already handling personnel data in some system for example in Microsoft Active Directory, some HR system or ERP this is most likely a good master data system for personnel data. You might be able to identify at which system your new employees' data is first filled in and it most likely is some of these mentioned systems and your best bet for the source of personnel data. The selected system should include at least person's name and email address.

Source for projects

Your organisation might already have some project management system in place for example your ERP or Microsoft Project or some system where you handle all the tasks that need to be done. This system is a good candidate for master system for the projects. This system should be the one where the project is first filled in and include project's name, customer's name and project manager's email address.

Data availability

Data availability means that how fast should the changes done in the master system be reflected to the target system. There is roughly two types of integrations: batch processing and real-time.

Batch process

Often it is good enough to have the changes updated once a day during night time or with some other interval. This type of integration is called batch process. Data changes are collected in the master data system between the integration runs to one batch and then updated to the target system in predefined time of the day. This is the most common way of updating projects and persons.

Real-time

If the data in question needs to be updated immediately to the target system then some form of real-time integration should be chosen. This type of integration is a bit more demanding to setup depending on the capabilities of the source system. Source system has to have some mechanism where you can tell that when should some data update be done when building real-time integrations. Usually this type of integration is done when some entity needs control for editing for example locking project for actuals reporting or disabling users access.

Data update responsibility

Last part of setting up some integration is to decide which system is doing the actual heavy lifting for handling the data and what technology is used. There is three possible scenarios for the responsible system:
  • Silverbucket handles the data flows
  • Some other master data system handles the data flows
  • Some integration system handles the data flows
and two possible techniques to choose from:
  • API, application programming interface
  • Transfer files
What to choose depends on multiple factors. It is also common to have combination of these mechanisms and select the best solution for every entity. Silverbucket has comprehensive customer API which can be used to feed in and extract data to and from the Silverbucket. This API is available to use without extra fees if you are able to build the integrations by yourself.
Silverbucket is also able to receive and deliver files if some form of batch processing is being setup which uses files to transfer the data.

If in doubt, please contact our support :) We are here to help you!
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