Many of our clients have members, volunteers, fundraisers and customers. Information about these groups of people is maintained within internal membership and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. It’s also common for clients to provide password-protected areas of their websites where information specific to these groups can be accessed. This creates an administration overhead, since information about these group members is being maintained in two places and needs somehow to be kept in synch.
There are many potential technology solutions to overcome this problem, but the most elegant has to be the use of Web Services.
HTML, XML and web services
Most people recognise the acronym “HTML” to describe the “visible” language of the web. HTML formats text into a well-presented human-readable form. XML is the language of the web that gives semantic meaning to data, formatting text into machine-readable form. A Web Service is a well-defined and structured XML interface enabling one machine to request data from and submit data to another.
Web services interface
Providers of membership and CRM solutions are increasingly offering Web Services interfaces to allow data to move in and out of their systems. Subject to a Cubik client having the appropriate infrastructure in place (essentially, the ability for Cubik to communicate securely with the client’s internal application over HTTPS), Cubik can develop real-time integration between the client’s member and/or customer database held on the website and the client’s internal systems. Amongst other benefits, this reduces the administration overhead associated with duplicate data and enables members and customers to maintain their own records, improving the quality of data held internally.
Cubik has undertaken integration work with the following vendors and systems:
- ASI Europe (formerly Fisk Brett): Use of Web Services interface to integrate ProgressCRM with a Cubik website for the National Day Nurseries Association, with other projects in development.
- IRIS: Use of Web Services interface to integrate IRIS Concept with Cubik.
- IRIS: Use of Web Services interface to integrate IRIS CARE with Cubik.
- Bespoke: Cubik has experience of building bespoke Web Services integration with proprietary solutions used by our clients. In addition, we offer a Web Services interface to the Cubik website User Management and e-Commerce functions. This enables third-party application developers to extract user data and transactional information from a Cubik website.