Automating Business Processes Using the Kiteworks API

Automating Business Processes Using the Kiteworks API

The Need: Stay Competitive With Digital Transformation

To stay relevant and competitive, organizations must embrace digital transformation. Digital transformation is achieved when organizations bring multiple technologies together to create differentiated offerings. To do so, data must be brought from disparate sources to multiple audiences, such as customers, suppliers, and employees. In that context, data security and compliance must be regarded as an executive concern. However, this problem is especially difficult for organizations requiring collaboration over sensitive data assets among different parties and disparate systems, often relying on insecure and slow manual processes.

Successfully meeting these challenges is not only key to successful digital transformation but also a differentiator of success.

Kiteworks Private Content Network

The Kiteworks-enabled Private Content Network (PCN) enables organizations to lock down the exchange of confidential enterprise information with customers, suppliers, and partners by unifying visibility and security across siloed third-party communication channels. This includes email, file sharing, mobile device communications, web forms, managed file transfer (MFT), SFTP, and application programming interfaces (APIs).

The Automation-related Needs of Organizations

To keep up with the need to maintain business agility, while not sacrificing security of data assets, organizations turn to Kiteworks to help automate their content-centric business workflows.

By its nature, the Kiteworks platform is a connected system, allowing its users to collaborate with their colleagues (both internal and external) in a safe, secure, and compliant manner. This means that Kiteworks must be able to connect to other systems, and allow other systems and users to connect to it.

Below are a few examples of challenges that organizations face as they seek to achieve a high degree of automation of their content-centric business processes:

  • Integration: Leveraging Kiteworks as a core layer of content management, organizations can integrate Kiteworks with their CRM, ERP, and other types of business-process enablers.
  • Customization: Organizations can implement highly custom workflows to enforce security standards.
  • Scalability: Organizations can meet requirements of scale when distributing and collecting content from thousands of collaborators.
  • Rich UI-driven experience: Organizations can build applications that cater to collaboration workflows to provide an appealing user experience.

Among others, the following are a few of many use-case scenarios using Kiteworks:

  • A legal firm needing help to automate the process of collecting, validating, and organizing plaintiff documents
  • A biomedical research and development organization collecting research documents from over 300 research partners
  • A national U.S. retailer distributing, collecting, and tracking inventory information with its suppliers for planning orders
  • An industrial goods manufacturer seeking to automate the collection of materials for customer-case handling, integrating Salesforce CRM and a proprietary service portal
  • A government agency wanting to use Kiteworks to exchange sensitive information while keeping Kiteworks in sync with proprietary user and access management
  • A legal firm needing help to implement a process to release data loss prevention (DLP)-flagged content in outbound emails

The Kiteworks API

To automate the use cases, organizations use the Kiteworks API capability. The following is an overview of the process:

What Is the Kiteworks API Capability?

The Kiteworks API is a RESTful API that provides the functional controls to search and access content and to manage access permissions to content. Administration controls are used to manage users and profiles, all under the umbrella of security, compliance, and governance within the Kiteworks Private Content Network.

API Access Governance

Access to the Kiteworks API is available via custom applications. A custom application governs the scope of allowed actions for a given entity (e.g., files, folders, mail, uploads, and more), the acceptable authentication flows for the client application, and the security preferences. The scope defines the boundaries for your application to reduce exposure to undesired risk.

Why Use the Kiteworks API?

The Kiteworks API allows organizations to automate content-centric processes. It is most valuable when IT organizations require a high degree of connectivity and flexibility to accommodate custom business logic to keep up with changing business requirements.

Examples of Processes Automated Using the Kiteworks API

Following are some of the prominent examples of businesses that can be automated using the Kiteworks API:

Secure Invoicing

An international industrial machine manufacturer with thousands of customers automated invoicing through an integration with the SAP ERP. The manufacturer used the Kiteworks API to build the following flow:

  1. Create a new folder for each customer and billing period via the Folders API.
  2. Set permitted collaborators, internal and external, via the Folders API
  3. Copy the invoice file from SAP into the folder via the Files API
  4. Obtain and share a secure link to the invoice location via SAP
  5. Track invoice access in the SAP ERP via the Activities API
  6. Allow the finance team to access the invoice at a secure folder via a UI module using the Folders API

Using the Kiteworks API, the manufacturer has been able to fully digitize the distribution and tracking of invoices without compromising security and compliance.

Secure Collaboration Over Support Case Materials

A computing equipment manufacturer with global operations created a converged collaboration flow around case materials while ensuring compliance with different local regulations. The connection enabled the manufacturer to accomplish collaboration flow in which the following is done:

  1. Securely collect new case materials via integration with the public support portal
  2. Retain case materials submitted by users in a dedicated secure folder
  3. Share case materials with assigned customer support team members on the Salesforce Service Cloud for case processing
  4. Share case materials with assigned technical team members for review and resolution
  5. Serve as a secure channel for additional required communication between the support team and the customer

By choosing the Kiteworks API, the manufacturer has been able to turn a formerly siloed data/information environment into a converged environment. This provides accessibility of data across parties, with security and compliance powered by the Kiteworks Private Content Network.

Getting Started With the Kiteworks API

The Kiteworks API is available under the Kiteworks Enterprise license and can be enabled upon request. Once access is given, developers can create their first custom application in the Kiteworks Web Admin interface, learning, testing, and building API connections. The API Playground, which is part of the Kiteworks Private Content Network, is a swagger-based interface that helps developers to learn and experiment. A dedicated, separated test environment can be provided by Kiteworks upon request.

Developing the Kiteworks API

At Kiteworks, we have observed that API-led automation is an increasingly important aspect of IT strategy of our customers. Hence, we plan to keep evolving the API. Our emphasis is put on three areas: the developer experience, the functional controls to enable new core capabilities, and administrative controls and the orchestration controls. Apply the security frameworks and automation, enabling third-party partners to build a rich network of applications to bridge the connectivity gap for wider audiences.

Enabling Digital Transformation With Kiteworks APIs

Digital transformation does not come without challenges, especially when business processes involve exchange of sensitive data assets among different parties and disparate systems. Kiteworks, as an API-driven platform, achieves a ubiquitous presence.

If you are an IT team member and would like to learn more about the capabilities of the Kiteworks Private Content Network and Kiteworks APIs, request a custom-tailored demo.

Additional Resources

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