You may not be familiar with the term ‘API’ (application programming interface), but you certainly experience it in your daily life through apps and platforms that utilize it. API is the technology that often functions in the background to connect two or more applications, helping them to interact and integrate.
As a business owner, you’re probably wondering how APIs are relevant to you. There are actually many benefits to using APIs, such as improving productivity and enhancing customer engagement. Keep reading to learn more about how to leverage APIs as part of a digital transformation strategy to grow your business.
What is an API (Application Programming Interfaces)?
API is an acronym that stands for application programming interface. It’s a set of rules and protocols required for building application software as well as integrating it. APIs help software programs communicate with each other, and collect data, while ensuring as well as improving site functionality.
APIs work together to create an interactive site for users. They process requests made on your site and tell the software system what a user is looking for. The response the API receives is then translated back to the user. With technology today, APIs can be used to automate certain functions and can be used in conjunction with other APIs and programs to create the most efficient system possible.
When it comes to app or software development, APIs make things a lot easier. Instead of developers needing to code the same thing multiple times, they can rely on APIs to provide the functionality they’re looking for much more quicker and more efficiently.
APIs make the process of developing an application or website faster and more seamless, making it possible for businesses to get timely updates without sacrificing the quality of their platform. Allowing for rapid updates and service developments, API is an innovative technology that can keep your business relevant and competitive.
With an API strategy, you can connect a myriad of software programs and computer systems together easily. You may have apps, IoT devices, and mobile systems in place, but APIs will make sure everything is securely controlled from the backend.
Purposes of Using an API Strategy
Thanks to their versatility and flexibility, APIs are used for a number of different reasons and to combat various issues. Through incorporating an API strategy, your business will benefit from streamlined operations and a much better experience overall.
1. Smoother Integration
APIs are most commonly used to ease integration between two or more software programs. They allow different platforms to communicate and share information in a secure, controlled environment. For businesses that use multiple platforms on a daily basis, APIs make integrating the work and processes done on each platform much easier.
With APIs, software programs can be used within each other. This means you won’t have to exit one program before you can pull up the other and vice versa. Instead, you can work on a project from one location while simultaneously using another software program.
Not only do APIs ease integration, but they also provide enhanced integration capabilities. APIs enable you to integrate two custom software programs or even a third-party system.
2. Automate Tasks
APIs are used to make development easier since they help with task automation. They can take care of multiple manual tasks so that you and your staff don’t have to. This will, in turn, streamline your work processes and free up employees to focus their attention on other areas of work rather than spending unnecessary time on the same few tasks every day.
3. Improve Services
APIs improve software development and customer service, no matter which end of the program you’re on.
For developers, APIs make programming quicker and eliminate some of the many hassles they may face. Developers won’t have to recode the same string each time. This makes updates quicker and easier to implement and ensures streamlined integration every time. No more waiting on long updates or missing one small line of code and causing multiple issues.
For businesses, APIs allow minor tasks to be taken care of in the background while you focus on helping your customers. Even if the task automation isn’t directly related to your customer experiences, having the ability to spend more time with your customers will improve your customer engagement and leave customers feeling well taken care of.
APIs do wonders to improve your services overall. Through the automation of tasks and by making updates and integrations seamless and simple, all users have a better experience with your business.
4. Faster Speed to Market
APIs ensure that communication is fast and secure between programs. There’s no better way to streamline your connection and improve your platform’s speed. With a stable and consistent connection, APIs share data and information across platforms faster than ever. This will increase the speed at which your platform is able to process requests.
With a faster site and software program, you’ll be able to take care of business quicker. Employees won’t have to wait for a program to load or send a request, and customers won’t get irritated when your system doesn’t process their request in a timely manner.
Examples of API Integration
There are different applications that each serve a different purpose. For example, there are private, otherwise known as internal, APIs that are only available within one specific organization. On the other hand, there are partner APIs that work with other organizations to share and collect data. There are also public, or external, APIs that are available for third-party users.
Each API has a unique purpose, whether it’s a private, public, or partner API. The security around each type of API will vary due to how public or private it is, but the APIs themselves will ensure secure collection and transmission of the data found.
To help you better under what an API is, here are some examples of common and popular APIs:
Waze is an app that uses partner APIs to exchange data with government agencies, road users, and other partners. Using APIs, Waze informs users about road closures, traffic, accidents, and even user-reported incidents such as speed traps.
Twitter bots are a form of automated API. While many people may find them frustrating, they are part of a complex API system that allows for an account to create its own post without external or human assistance.
These bots use random information that they collect, often from the internet or within specified requirements, and create an end result. Some may post their own tweet, some may collect tweets and post them on another site. Both types of bots are APIs.
Log-In Using X
Many sites will prompt you to create an account or log in through another platform, often Facebook or Google. This system is set in place by an API. You aren’t required to create a new account for the website you’re on because the website is able to communicate with another that you already have an account on.
This is the same type of API as when you are prompted to pay with PayPal when making a purchase. The site you’re purchasing from isn’t connected to PayPal, but it uses an API that allows it to communicate with PayPal and streamline your purchase.
An API is what permits the second website to use your information from the first site. The two websites don’t just happen to have an agreement. Instead, an API has been specifically set up so that you have an easier time on the new website and are more likely to stick around.
APIs can help your company automate repetitive daily tasks, integrate databases and programs while streamlining your daily business operations, and helping you save time. If you want to harness the benefits of APIs as a digital strategy and put its functions to good use for your business, call us today to ask about our custom programming service so we can help you grow your business!