There’s plenty of discussion about API integrations. In the domain of digital transformation they’re essential. However, it is easy for someone who is not a tech expert to become lost in the maze of terms, standards and constantly changing patterns.
So, what exactly is “API Integration”?
API integration refers to the process of connecting with two or more apps through APIs (application programming interfaces) which allow applications to communicate with data sources. API integrations drive processes across different layers of an organization to ensure data is kept in sync, improve efficiency and generate revenue.
API can be described as an interface, and is a part of nearly everything in the digital age. Whatever the industry and its size, business APIs facilitate seamless operation and efficiency of websites and applications.
There is however an additional requirement to create efficient and automated business procedures and processes that work and share vital information. This is the point where API integration comes into play.
What are the reasons why API Integration essential?
API connectivity allows applications to share data and connect with one another with no human interference. It allows the communication between two web-based tools or applications via their APIs. This allows organizations to automate processes, facilitate seamless sharing of information, and connect existing applications.
Enterprises should not overlook the importance in API integration in today’s world. Following the explosion of cloud-based apps and products organizations must build an environment that is connected, where data is automatically relayed across various software tools. API integration is a way to do this since it permits sharing processes as well as enterprise data between the various applications within an ecosystem.
It opens up a fresh level of versatility in the delivery of information as well as services. It also makes embedding of content and services from different websites and apps simple. An API is the interface that allows to connect two programs.
Some examples of API integration
E-commerce websites are among the biggest consumers of API integrations. They use order management software that manage the shipping and shopping orders. However, to process these orders they require access to databases and servers that contain products, customers, as well as inventory level.
There is a continuous data exchange, which allows the web store to connect with an online shopping cart. Enterprises can achieve this via API integration.
The integration of payment gateways is a different instance. As a customer you do not experience the actual transaction while purchasing a product on the internet. In the background, there’s data transfer for confirmation of your credit or debit information. This API for payment processing is built into the online store, and is often kept out of view.
How API Integration can be achieved
There are currently a variety of ways to gain API integration. They depend heavily on the specific requirements of your business or system.
Custom-built integrations are hand-written scripts from software developers who has a thorough understanding and familiarity with the API documentation. This method became popular a few years ago, however the cost of developing custom integrations (and regular maintenance) has reduced its appeal in comparison to more modern methods of integration. It is also very long-lasting to implement this method.
Connectors are applications created to ease transfer of data between two widely-used software platforms. Connectors are cost-effective, which makes it easier to implement standard API solutions, and enable integrations to be easier to maintain and manage. They also eliminate the requirement to manage API management.
API Integration Platforms
They are typically SaaS applications that focus on developing API integrations that allow you to join with other SaaS software and applications.
They provide a certain amount of flexibility since you can create custom integration apps with powerful tools that are available on the market. Some tools, such as RapidQL can retrieve the data and then transform it to a format that your app can comprehend by a single query. It lets you request data to various APIs, both public and private, and databases at the same time.
The IPaaS service can enable you to connect to and stack APIs, which can go far in helping Enterprises streamline their workflows.
There are many API integration tools that you can choose from. After you have selected the one you prefer then you have to adhere to a specific process which has three key components.
The first step is to examine your business goals and procedures. After identifying the areas of pain that you are facing, you can determine how the integration of external and internal platforms will help eliminate these issues. It is vital to receive help from experts such as System Admins and Software Analysts who can help promote the integration process and demonstrate the benefits to your company.
After you’ve identified your goals, you are able to begin the process of developing and create a custom application. The app will then communicate with APIs for platforms that are used by software to create new functions that will help you reach your objectives.
Then, you should run some testing on your computer to confirm that the integration program is up to the job and that it is not prone to bugs.
Benefits of API integration API integration
There are many advantages of API integration. Some of the most prominent are:
API integration allows for the transfer of data and information between one program to another seamlessly. Automating successfully eliminates human (human) element that takes time and drastically reduces the chance of errors.
API integration allows companies to expand since they don’t have to begin by scratch when they create apps and systems that are connected.
3. Streamlined Visibility/Communication/Reporting
API integration provides you with complete transparency of the entire process and system to improve communication and reporting. By using a more efficient method, you can keep track of and monitor data efficiently and create robust reports that are based on specific and extensive data sets.
4. Reduces Errors
API integration allows for the transfer of huge and complicated data while minimizing error and inaccuracies.
API Integrations provide the glue that holds technological advancements. There’s a growing business for API integrations as well as API integration tools, such as Workato (leaders on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant of IPaaS solutions).
It’s safe to say that we’ll see these platforms evolve shortly to meet even more complex Enterprise issues.