More and more businesses these days are using APIs to keep ahead of their competitors. API refers to “Application Programming Interface,” which is a specialized piece of computer code that enables 2 different databases or programs to communicate with each other and share operations. The REST API feature of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), for example, stands for Representational State Transfer, which usually uses http requests to get, put, post, or delete data.
API integration is crucial nowadays because workers are already using an increasing number of platforms, applications, and cloud services to do their jobs. The huge number of these applications has made it more difficult to manage their use, so it’s more efficient to use API integrations rather than constantly switching from different applications.
Plugging into API boosts business efficiency in the following ways:
1. Save Time with Task Automation
Clicking between applications may seem like a minor annoyance, but in the long run it wastes a lot of valuable time. API integration can makes things simpler and more efficient and you don’t waste time.
One example of this is when a customer calls your business. The worker who answers the phone will have to use another application to find out the name of the caller and their information in the database. But with API, the worker who gets the call can get a popup on their screen already displaying the customer’s name and info.
2. Improve B2B Communication
Often a business has to partner with another company for greater efficiency for both businesses. The problem is that often each business has its own way of doing things, and this means using their own programs and apps to generate their documents and data. This makes communications between businesses more difficult when the applications used by the partners aren’t compatible with each other.
It’s like trying to share a document between two people when they use different word processors. The document that one passes may not be read by the word processor of the other partner.
But with API integration, extreme compatibility is possible with different file types, and integration can even be scaled according to the needs of the partnership. This allows for the creation of a network of resources that can be shared by both partners, instead of having to rely on time-consuming communications.
3. Additional Revenues through Greater Functionality
APIs can be used to provide authorization and authentication for greater functionality. You can see this in apps when you get it for free with just basic features. If you’re a user who pays more, then you get extra features with your app, such as more levels to a game or zero ads.
If you’re offering valuable data as part of your service, then you can charge your users for greater access to the data. Your monetization schemes may also include trials so that users can be enticed to pay for certain features. All these are possible with APIs.
4. APIs Help with Regulatory Compliance
APIs are perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way to make sure that you’re complying with all the necessary regulations. If you’re in the healthcare industry, for example, then you’re covered under regulations such as HIPAA that requires you to transfer data securely so that the privacy and security of patients are preserved.
APIs can help with this as the information can then be transformed into electronic data, which is much easier to transmit securely.
5. Tailored User Experience
An API can be implemented generally, and then it can be tailored to particular requirements. For example, a system can allow users to ask for information in the form they want, and this makes things much easier for your workers.
It does seem like APIs can be overly technical, but even ordinary people have benefited from APIs used in mapping apps and social media sharing. The effects of APIs can be even greater for a business—if you know how to use them.