Founded in 1999, iQmetrix is a leader in technology solutions for wireless retailers and carriers. Beginning with point-of-sale systems, the company has grown to provide a range of software and services, both in-store and online, as well as offer custom solutions for enterprise customers. APIs are an important part of the iQmetrix e-commerce platform, powering an omnichannel experience and enabling customers to unify systems.
iQmetrix relies on Postman to help its API team build and manage their API portfolio, as well as deliver APIs to customers. In addition, the team has developed innovative ways of using the platform to automate repetitive tasks and streamline API onboarding workflows.
Tasks that took me hours to complete manually now only take a couple of minutes on Postman.
Postman is the hub for iQmetrix’s API offering
Postman hosts a portfolio of API Collections built by iQmetrix and its partners. Internally, three teams access Postman on a regular basis. Engineering uses Postman to collaborate on APIs during development, automation, and testing. Sales accesses APIs for demos and training, and Support uses the platform for documentation and customer assistance. Other teams also access Postman occasionally, and of the 450+ employees at iQmetrix, approximately half are Postman users.
API user onboarding was inefficient and slow
Getting up to speed on iQmetrix APIs is a critical first step for both employees and customers. Not only do new users need access to the Postman platform, but they must also understand which APIs they need and how to use them. The onboarding process was so crucial that the company designated a full-time role to handle requests. However, simply hiring an API onboarding specialist was only part of the solution.
Manual tasks pose a challenge in many workflows, and in API onboarding, they had become a bottleneck for the growing company. iQmetrix’s onboarding process included a series of time-intensive, repetitive steps that produced the same results every time. The onboarding specialist needed to create a client entity and test database, enable user accounts and access credentials, create Postman collections, and communicate back and forth with new users. Not only was the process slow, but by focusing on these mundane tasks, the specialist could not use their valuable time and skillset on more important things.
On the path to automation
To speed up onboarding, iQmetrix’s API team started by documenting the process and creating templates. They then explored Postman features to help them save even more time and effort. With Postman Collections, they could better organize their API requests, and test scripts allowed them to pass data between API requests and build workflows that mirror the API use case. The team successfully reduced the turnaround time frame from one and a half days to half a day, however there were still too many manual steps, such as entering the same data into multiple systems. Ultimately, inspiration came during a smaller project.
The iQmetrix Support team frequently received tickets that requested simple data, such as an original order number. During peak times, the team received numerous such tickets per day. As each ticket could take up to 10 minutes to resolve, this represented an enormous amount of time spent on manual data retrieval and drafting communications. The API team looked at their ticket queue APIs and was able to use Postman to automate the process by setting up an environment to store variables, a test script to capture the order number, and then trigger an API to send a message with the information back to the requester.
The experiment successfully reduced the ticket workflow from 10 minutes to one minute—a dramatic improvement in speed and efficiency. Encouraged by the results, the iQmetrix’s API team continued to explore other ways to use Postman to drive automation in the onboarding process.
Postman helps us streamline our user onboarding and integration processes. Working with pre-request scripts, we create environment templates that can be quickly updated with the environment variables required for the rest of the flow.
Automating API onboarding: an example use case
One of the many onboarding workflows involves giving iQmetrix vendors access to the company’s vendor inventory service. To initiate the workflow, a ticket is sent to the API onboarding specialist, who then needs to interact with four different systems, including RQ, Hub, Zendesk, and Postman, as well as the Database Administration team, in order to complete the process. With the previous manual process, the specialist needed to enter data and configure settings in each system separately, as well as create multiple tickets with this data for the DB Admin team. The entire manual process took about four and a half hours to complete.
To help automate the process, the iQmetrix API team used Postman to reduce the number of data entry points to two. They created an environment form in Postman and ran a couple of calls to populate variables using a test script and automatically generate tickets to the DB Admin team. The platform’s password generator creates a random, encrypted login for the db admin to use during vendor setup on their end. Rather than having to fill out the template manually, it now runs in seconds, and the ticket gets automatically added to the DB Admin queue. The API team also configured instructions within Postman to help the onboarding specialist follow the next steps in the process.
Once the databases are set up and the final variables are in place, the specialist uses the Postman Collection Runner to execute 29 calls in a specific Postman Collection that automatically completes tasks in other systems. Finally, a preformatted welcome letter is sent to the vendor team with all the IDs that they need, links to documentation, getting started instructions, and their first activities. From start to finish, the automated version of the process now takes about 30 minutes, representing a tremendous savings in time and resources.