University of Hull
An API with endless possibilities
Improving efficiency is often a motivation for organizations when it comes to implementing a new helpdesk solution. The University of Hull were keen to use automation to save time and improve their operations.
We spoke to Shaun Miller, End User Services Manager, and Kev Sach, ICT Business Partner, about how the TOPdesk API has enabled them to achieve this objective.
We wrote a script to enable the two systems to interface, which worked brilliantly; it allowed all of our data to be available in TOPdesk almost instantly.
Getting started from day one
Once the implementation of a new system has been agreed upon, the next challenge comes with migrating existing data and end-of-life of the previous product. This can sometimes be a lengthy process, with two systems running in tandem, but Hull’s prompt use of the TOPdesk API made this a smooth transition.
“We immediately exploited the API to ensure that the day we turned on TOPdesk we could immediately disable access to our previous toolset. We wrote a script to enable the two systems to interface, which worked brilliantly; it allowed all of our data to be available in TOPdesk almost instantly,” says Kev.
Having the confidence to be independent
Utilizing a technical solution such as the API can be daunting, but TOPdesk’s Technical Consultancy services, as well as thorough documentation, gave Hull the confidence to experiment.
“TOPdesk’s approach to consultancy is not to hand-hold but to offer advice, assess customers’ knowledge to understand the support they need, and discuss ideas to decide upon the best course of action.”
Being responsible for the API, Shaun speaks highly of the resources available: “Don’t underestimate the quality of TOPdesk’s documentation. All of the information that you need is publicly accessible on a webpage, which allowed us to easily play around with different possibilities.”
Putting the API to use
One of Hull’s main uses of the API is to manage client devices in TOPdesk’s New Asset Management module. This allows them to access data for each device, such as: disk space, warranty information, security software, financial information, and serial numbers. Thanks to the API, there is a comprehensive audit trail for every asset, meaning that when a call is logged against a device, it’s quick and easy to identify the issue.
“In order to synchronize the data between our configuration management tools and TOPdesk, we have a schedule of scripts running to pull information from one to the other. We’ve expanded this process to include additional fields, making this really powerful and flexible.”
A recent development in the way that the TOPdesk API is being used at the university is with a Microsoft Teams integration. With staff working at different sites as well as remotely, they spotted an opportunity to improve the communication around major incidents.
“Microsoft Teams allows us to collaborate from anywhere. We created a simple event and action to link TOPdesk and Teams. It instantly sends a notification containing details of major incidents to specific Teams channels for escalation.”
Growth through knowledge sharing
Since using the API, Hull have experienced many benefits, but have also recognized that this is an interface that they can adapt completely to their needs. They plan to expand its use within the institution by adopting the train-the-trainer approach, allowing other members of the team to get a grasp of the TOPdesk API and its endless possibilities.
“We have staff who have experience in scripting but have never used an API. However, with a short amount of training, they have been able to understand the interface and make use of it. Once one person understands the TOPdesk API, whether through technical consultancy or existing skills, this knowledge can be shared with others in the university.”