I will be the first to admit that I am a buzzkill.
I see new things and my first thought it – “ok – can I implement this thing?”
A few weeks ago, Reuben Tozeman pointed to a couple of resources discussing xAPI.
– First was his blog post from January arguing for hooking into enterprise systems.
– Second was Float Learning’s use case for xAPI. (This site will ask for your name and email. Float Learning hasn’t sent me anything as a result of sending this information. The box is unchecked by default. Which I think is awesome.)
At the time, Reuben was (rightly) complaining about how we are talking ourselves in circles around xAPI and not coming up with good use cases. Guilty.
Then I started wondering whether the whole API discussion is a bit of a red herring when it comes to actually implementing one of these use cases.
A few things I keep fantasizing about will happen about the time pigs fly (without being strapped into an airplane seat, tucked in a cargo hold, or launched via trebuchet)
– Being able to put my grimy mitts directly into our enterprise systems.
– A universal API (a bit more likely as the business intelligence field evolves, but it might not look like or be Tin Can)
We talk about being able to leverage business systems to figure out what people are learning, where they are accessing this information, the impact on the business of these new skillsets and all that.
What if we just focus our implementation on the tools already IN the business?
So instead of worrying about trying to implement a new API outside of the systems I have control over – why not leverage the Business Intelligence folks who are already trying to figure out how to combine disparate data sources?
Besides, they (should) already have access to the enterprise systems and direct hooks into those systems.
This includes Google Analytics (or other analytics tools) for the web sites in the org, audit trails for SharePoint, even tracking around who is accessing what in the network.
I might have a better chance of making one of these use cases real if I use what is already at hand.
The more important thing to focus on – at least in my world – is defining the use cases most important to my organization.