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  • Writer's pictureKonstantinos Georgiadis

Super-charge your HighQ Collaborate use with APIs

diagram of a light switch connected to a light bulb
Human interface: light switch to light bulb

diagram of a smart phone connecting to a wifi router and then a light bulb with a thin line
API: application on smartphone sends 'ON' command over the internet to light bulb

HighQ Collaborate

HighQ Collaborate (HighQ) is an incredibly powerful system for collaboration within any organisation. It enables its users to share any kind of information (whether this is stored in files or in tables) in a way that is easy and secure inside their organisation and with external parties.

Information in HighQ is stored within 'sites', similar to deal data-rooms. Each site is entirely distinct from all others on the instance, with its own permissions, modules, and data storage.

The ease with which HighQ can help reshape collaboration within an organisation is a big value add. In fact, from our experience, teams implementing HighQ are sometimes presented with a nice problem to have – HighQ becomes so popular that management of the system itself could benefit from automation.

Management tasks that could be automated include:

  • Accepting site requests and creating new sites (while ensuring proper approvals and documentation are in place).

  • Closing and archiving sites that have reached their end date.

  • Routinely downloading data from sites for document retention/compliance purposes.

  • Routinely downloading and sharing specialised reports.

  • Adding or removing users in bulk

While it is possible to execute all these tasks through the HighQ user interface, they could be challenging to execute at scale as the number of users and sites expands.

This is for two reasons:

  1. the team tasked with administering some of these aspects of HighQ is usually also the team responsible for more high-value work, such as advising on how HighQ can be best utilised on projects or supporting more pressing matters, so tasking them with also executing routine management tasks may not be the best allocation of resources.

  2. some of these tasks may be necessary for compliance reasons so making sure they are executed and their execution adequately documented is vital for risk reduction.

How can we start considering how to automate some such tasks?

Using an API

API stands for ‘Application Programming Interface’ (wikipedia link) and it is a way for a computer program to speak directly to another application.

This is best exemplified in home automation tools! If you wish to turn on the light bulb in your living room, the user interface you can use is the light switch on your wall. You, as the user, would flick the switch, therefore interacting with your light system directly to turn on the light.

If, on the other hand, you use a smart light bulb, you might use an app on your phone to turn on the light. That application then uses the light bulb’s API and asks it to turn on the light. You, the user, never have to interact with the light system directly.

Because there is no need to interact with the system directly when using the API, this also means that the interaction does not need to be instant. Flicking the switch on the wall has an immediate, isolated result – the light is on. By default, you can’t ask the light switch to switch off after 30 minutes, or to do anything other than turning on the light.

In the example of a smart light bulb, on the other hand, there is no such requirement. The application can be programmed to turn on the light at any time. Imagine setting up a routine where the light turns on at 7.00am each day (time trigger), or whenever the light bulb turns on, a compatible coffee machine also starts preparing your coffee. The light turning on then becomes part of a process that can be triggered by external factors, rather than just an isolated user interaction.


How is this all relevant to HighQ?

HighQ has its own fully fledged API. Almost anything that as a user can do (and especially as an admin), you can do with the API. This includes opening new sites, archiving sites, adding users, adding users to system groups, and extracting information such as user reports.

The benefit of using the HighQ API to execute some of the repeatable tasks listed above, such as creating new sites is that they can become part of a process rather than a series of isolated interactions. As with the example above, the automated process can be planned, tested, documented, and interrogated so that it is consistent and timely. It can be triggered by external factors, such as receipt of an email, or a ticket being lodged with your internal support system. It can interact with your other internal systems to ensure that the right checks are in place – for example, checking that a client has been fully onboarded or that relevant documentation is in place before creating a site for them.

Don't worry, be API

You may be thinking, this all sounds great, but how can I do this? Where do you even start with using the API to automate some of these interactions?

At echo, we advise clients with their own teams developers on how they can write their own applications which communicate with the HighQ API. This is the most sophisticated solution but is not for the feint hearted – other than having to work through all the technical specifications of the API, you will also have to consider ‘overheads’, such as where to save your code, and how to make sure that it runs whenever you want it to run. This solution is best where you already have an in-house development team, who only need familiarisation with the specifics of the tool.

Another solution is to use no-code or low-code systems, such as Betty Blocks or Power Automate. These services come with a pre-built set of connectors as well as allowing you to build your own connectors to interact with the HighQ API.

They usually provide a visual interface where you can design your desired process and see how data should move from one application to the other. There is still some set up involved, but a lot of the ‘overheads’ are managed by the system itself for you.

These low-code tools can be the easiest way to get started with API integrations. As such, has put together some examples on how to use such tools, listed below.

Using Power Automate with the HighQ API

The team has developed a series of custom connectors in Power Automate to help our own clients easily integrate Microsoft tools with HighQ.

For example, the following process is triggered every time an entry is submitted to a Microsoft Form. It waits for a new response to the form, then sends out an approval request via Teams and email (sending a message with the details to the relevant approver). Once the approval is granted, it then creates a HighQ site, adds the requestor to the site, and sends an email to the relevant parties to confirm that the process is done.

Similarly, the process below downloads a report of all sites on a HighQ instance once a month, emails it to relevant persons, and saves it to OneDrive:

Curious to know more? Have your own ideas? Speak with members of our team and see how we can help you manage your HighQ instance, either by advising you in building your own custom integrations, or helping you get set up with a low code platform.

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