What is an API and what are Benefits of integrating software platforms

by Aug 7, 2019TECHNOLOGY

You may have seen the term ‘API’ come up before. App updates, web browsers, and operating systems will regularly announce new APIs for developers. However, what does this actually mean?

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Well, the term API stands for Application Programming Interface. You can think of this just like a menu in a restaurant. A menu is going to provide you with all of the information about the different dishes that are available to be ordered. This will come with information on the prices, as well as a detailed description of what is going to be presented when the dish is served to you. When you place your order, the chefs in the kitchen will do the work, so you end up with the meal you ordered. You don’t really know the exact process that is followed by the chef in order to get to this endpoint, and you do not really need to know. 

This can help you to get a better understanding of an API. It refers to a number of different operations that are utilised by developers, alongside a description of what these operations do. However, the developer does not necessarily need to know the exact steps entailed. They just need to know that the feature is there for them to use. Therefore, an API will make life a lot easier for the developer, saving them the time that is needed to create. This allows for more consistency. One area that it can really help with is software integration. However, before we discuss the role that APIs play in this, let’s take a look at software integration and why this is recommended for businesses. 

Why is software integration so important for businesses today?

Companies can struggle when it comes to the management of data today, especially as it seems to be expanding all f the time. Plus, it is likely that you are collecting data from a number of different places. This can be your suppliers, clients, and other people. This then becomes even more difficult if your business is going through a period of rapid growth. If your processes and systems are not aligned, it can be extremely time consuming and complex to manage everything individually.

This is why it is advisable to integrate your systems. If you do this, you should immediately start to notice some benefitis. You will be able to operate in a much more effective and efficient manner. You will also lower the disruption that is caused by having your data in a number of different places. It does not matter whether you want to align your HR system with employee survey feedback, work smarter, or reduce inefficiencies, you are only going to be able to achieve all of your objectives in the most efficient and effective manner if you have an integrated system. 

Through integrating your systems, you are going to make it a lot easier for administrators to go about their daily tasks. Not only this but you can expect storage and cost savings at your company too. This is because having your data in one central location means you will be able to lower any expenses that relate to maintaining, procuring, and installing a number of different systems. You will also be able to lower the time spent and expenditure when it comes to troubleshooting and upkeep. Some companies also benefit from subscriptions and licencing fees being lowered too. By having all of this data in the one place, you can really operate more cost efficiently.

Aside from this, you can improve system security because you will enhance visibility and you will have a better understanding of where all of your data is being stored. You will also be able to analyse and evaluate your data more effectively. This leads to accelerated growth and innovation too. This is because it makes it easier to achieve expansion into different locations, as well as inducting new marketing channels, sales channels, and remote workers too. It is quite clear to see that the sky is well and truly the limit when it comes to software integration. This is a necessity for all businesses. No matter what industry they operate in or how big or small their company is at this present moment in time. 

API and software integration

Now, you should hopefully have a good understanding regarding what API is, as well as understanding why software integration is so critical to companies today. Nevertheless, we are yet to link the two together. Well, API is making it possible for software companies to integrate systems for their customers more effectively. In the past, system integrators may have been used. However, they are way too expensive now and they do not match the customers’ needs in terms of project timelines. Everything is needed a lot faster today!

Another benefit associated with going down the API route is that software developers have the ability to create an open API, which means that customers can build integrations on their own. Of course, this is not going to be right all of the time, but it can be beneficial to certain scenarios. This needs to be used alongside other approaches to ensure you do not isolate some of your consumer base. Nevertheless, there is no denying that API is making it easier and quicker than ever before for companies to integrate their software, and this is why it is playing an increasingly vital role today!

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of software integration and why it is so important. When it comes to SaaS, developers will typically use an API in order to integrate your systems so that they can work alongside one and other in harmony. This is a great way to boost visibility and streamline your processes so that you can achieve higher levels of efficiency and productivity at your business. 

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