All About API

If you, like me, are a career services professional just making your way through this crazy, high-tech world to stay connected to your students, Application Programming Interface (or API) probably doesn’t mean much to you!

However, API, might be something you’ll want to get up to speed on. Over the last five or so years, I’ve seen more and more of our CSM clients take advantage of this new way of connecting applications.

And, to save you some time, I’ve done a little research for you.

First, I asked Andrew Wippl, Symplicity’s Information Security Officer to tell me more about Symplicity’s recent expansion of the API tools, and where it’s headed next.

Here’s what I learned:

As the person leading the cybersecurity program at Symplicity, with the help of our system engineers and developers, we’ve implemented a lot of security controls and tools that help us protect your data. A big part of security is automating processes, so that there isn’t the opportunity to make mistakes manually. Integrations are vital to automation. Additionally, we need to make sure that our controls are in place and working, as well as being able to report on these safeguards, and that’s all accomplished by integrations. Besides integrations from a security perspective, they are useful to push and pull data from applications, internally or externally.

The first larger integration project I led was called Sympsync. Sympsync is an integration between Advocate, Accommodate, CSM, and Insight. You just need two out of the four apps to get the integration going. The integration doesn’t move any personally identifiable information (PII) over, but for example an Accommodate user would be able to see if a student has an approved resume uploaded into CSM.

Another popular integration is moving jobs around. We worked on an integration for Kansas University to pull jobs from Brass Ring and import them into CSM daily. We also have started working with Enterprise employers to pull their jobs from various sources such as screen scraping, ATS API keys, and XML feeds, and then bring them into Recruit to disseminate to CSM apps. So, if you don’t have Recruit enabled in your CSM instance, you might want to turn it on, as we’re doing some cool things there in 2023 to bring you more high-quality job postings.

For statewide systems, we’ve figured out how to aggregate reports across CSM applications and then pump the data into business intelligence or data visualization tools like Tableau, PowerBI, or other data warehouses. We’ve started working on integrating the UniHub Experience Record Store to import skill development into CSM. One of our main goals from the beginning of this integration initiative, which we call Symplicity One, was to connect the Student Information Systems to our applications to bring in the student data using APIs rather than the flat-file sFTP method, making it easier and more secure than ever to implement, so we’re getting ramped up to start that project in early 2023 as well.

These are just a few of the interesting projects that our engineers have been working on this year, and we’d love to hear more ideas from you about what we can do to make our applications more integrated with your ecosystem of apps. Lastly, as a client, you have access to our APIs, so that you can build out integrations in your own world too! I’ve built out a Developers Site that includes Getting Started Videos, an FAQ, the API Documentation and more, so I’d like to encourage you to reach out to your Client Manager who can help you get set up with access to the APIs so you can start building integrations too. 

Andrew Wippl, Information Security Officer, Symplicity

Second, I surveyed clients already taking advantage of this resource. Here are some of the most common ways they are using API at their organizations:

45% of surveyed users are moving data to another vendor with which their university partners.

Some examples of this: pulling jobs from CSM into your Alumni portal; pulling employer information from CSM to your Advancement database; pulling counseling records from CSM to your Academic Counseling system. Many of our clients’ key goal this year is to strengthen and streamline their participation in some kind of data warehouse project on campus. If your campus leadership is focused on looking across all university data to see student, alumni, and employer relations across the entire organization, API can help you get your data to the right folks.

40% are pushing student data into CSM

Some examples of this: pushing data from your SIS system directly into CSM to create new student user accounts, updating student accounts from your SIS system on a regular basis to be sure graduation dates and majors stay up to date, block or remove user rights based on student profile information you push from SIS. By creating accounts for your students, you can allow students to use their university credentials to access CSM, you can use the system as a valuable communication tool, you can ensure that students are seeing events and opportunities that match their profile when they log into your system, and you can have accurate year-end reporting. Those are just some of the benefits of using the API to automate the creation and regular update of your student records.

15% are pulling event data to populate a web site

Do you have CCTV on campus on which you could display your upcoming events? Does your (Insert Department Name) department head want to highlight relevant information sessions happening this fall? The API allows you to send the right events to the right areas on campus to market to the right students.

15% are pulling jobs to post on a web site

Highlight specific jobs on departmental web sites throughout the university, Push on-campus jobs to the student activities home page, Highlight part-time jobs on the Human Resources page.

As you can see, the API can be a key component in reaching some common goals we hear from clients:

  • easy access for students to CSM
  • sharing data with other departments for ease of analyzing relationships with employers and students across your whole organization
  • marketing jobs and events broadly, and MORE!

As Andrew mentioned, we’ve created quite a few resources for clients interested in getting started with our API. Share this information with your technical support team, and talk to your client manager if you have more questions:

applicant tracking system, CSM, Symplicity, Symplicity One, Information Technology, API

What Our Clients Are Saying