~ 4 MIN READ
Integrations with the ClearPoint API
API stands for Application Programming Interface. What does this mean exactly? Essentially, an API is the part of a software application that allows it to easily communicate with other applications.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘API’ a few times (we use it a lot). But do you really know what it means and how it applies to your reporting process? We’ve defined the API and broken down how you can use ClearPoint’s API to save time in your reporting process by integrating ClearPoint with the rest of the tools that are key to your success (without writing any code).
API stands for Application Programming Interface. What does this mean exactly? Essentially, an API is the part of a software application that allows it to easily communicate with other applications. Applications can be integrated so that entering data is only required once! Data entered in Application A is instantly shot over to Application B, which can then be shot over to Application C. This can save organizations a lot of time and resources as repetitive tasks are automated. Saving our clients resources was our goal when designing the ClearPoint API.
A good analogy for an API is that it is like a waiter at a nice restaurant. After you order the food, your waiter relays the request to the kitchen, who in turn generates your selection. The waiter then brings you your food. MuleSoft made a great video that builds on this analogy.
If you would like a more technical explanation of how an API works, Zapier also has some great resources.
The ClearPoint API
ClearPoint Strategy has a fully documented REST API. Customers can leverage the API to integrate with a myriad of data sources and other systems that they are using in their management reporting process. What does this mean for your organization? You can easily import and export data between ClearPoint and your other applications. For example, maybe your organization uses another application to track projects, but likes to incorporate these into your ClearPoint account for your strategic plan. With the API, users can enter information in their project management software and then watch as that same information is automatically added to ClearPoint.
Maybe your organization uses QuickBooks Online to track overhead expenses. These expenses might be a critical component of your strategic plan and require entry into ClearPoint by the 5th of every month. Rather than have someone manually copy and paste a bunch of crucial values (and expose them to human error), integrating QuickBooks with ClearPoint automates this process so that the values you enter in QuickBooks are also added instantaneously to ClearPoint.
Does someone on your team have a development background and want to create the perfect tool for your organization? Because the ClearPoint API is fully documented and publicly available, developers can build a custom tool based on the endpoints of the REST API. The API is very robust so the options available to your developer are endless.
Easy API Alternatives
If you’re not interested in writing custom code to use the API, we have several tools available to quickly and easily build integrations without writing a line of code. We recommend leveraging these tools before creating something custom, as they are a lot easier to manage in the long run and update as your process changes.
The Data Loader
For importing quantitative and qualitative data, we have the Data Loader. This is a locally installed tool that can be used to create scheduled uploads from your favorite SQL queryable databases as well as XLS and CSV files. The opportunities are endless for what you can accomplish with this powerful tool:
- The scorecard upload: Upload your entire scorecard in one click and immediately start tracking your objectives, measures and initiatives in ClearPoint.
- The measure data update: Set the Data Loader to automatically upload your measure data to ClearPoint each month so it’s ready for analysis when your users sign in.
- The monthly report generation: Your measure and initiative data and analysis automatically update your ClearPoint element status and charts so they’re ready for your reports.
You can also leverage ClearPoint Webhooks to integrate with your favorite apps. Users with non-development backgrounds can easily create linkages between Google Docs, Gmail, Slack, etc. and their ClearPoint accounts with just a few clicks. Here are just a few examples of how you can leverage Webhooks to save time in your reporting process:
- Post a notification in Slack when an element changes
- Add a task to Asana or Trello when you add a new Action Item in ClearPoint
- Add your project due date to your Google or Outlook calendar
- Send a report to your email when an element is updated
If you’re looking to share data visualizations, ClearPoint Embed Codes are your best bet. With ClearPoint Embed Codes, you can embed any data chart on a public facing website or intranet site. As your data updates in ClearPoint, the chart updates anywhere it is embedded.
The Community Dashboard
To share data with a broader group of stakeholders, we have our Community Dashboard. The Community Dashboard (which can be used by any type of organization, not just local governments) leverages a ClearPoint WordPress plugin that calls your data endpoints and displays it in a public-facing dashboard. Charts, analysis, recommendations—any field in ClearPoint can be pulled onto the dashboard and displayed for the appropriate stakeholders.
What are you waiting for?
Leverage our API to connect your favorite apps to your most favorite app (we know it’s ClearPoint 😊). Are you already using the API to do something cool? Reach out to our team and let us know. We love to hear integration success stories!