An application programming interface (API) is a software intermediary that facilitates connectivity between more than two distinct software applications. It contains a set of specific protocols and sub-routines that clearly explain how the applications are to communicate with one another. This software intermediary is generally found in-between the software applications and a web server. Its primary function is to expedite seamless data exchange and transmission between the systems. An application programming interface works in the following manner:
- An end-user makes an API call to a web server using a client application to retrieve information,
- The API’s Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) processes this request before transmitting it to the webserver,
- The web server sends its response containing the information to the API on receiving the request, and
- The API finally transmits the data to the end user’s client application.
Why is API Integration important for companies?
API integration is the process of connecting more than two software applications using application programming interfaces. This seamless connectivity allows companies of all sizes to automate and integrate their independent business solutions. These systems can then transmit, share and exchange data with each other without any human intervention. These corporate enterprises use different business software applications when conducting their business operations. These include web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and special custom-made software solutions. The applications must be compatible enough to co-exist, work and exchange data with one another. API integration ensures this inter-connectivity between the various software applications is possible.
How can you build the right API integration platform?
Companies need to consider the following factors when choosing to build an API integration platform for their business growth-
- Identify the business operations they intend to streamline and automate to boost internal efficiency,
- Shortlist the likely cloud-based API platforms which suit their specific requirements and align with their business goals,
- Assess the security level, authentication, and privacy policies the API integration platforms should have to prevent data breaches,
- Decide the most effective transmission channels for the API integration platform to exchange data,
- Create a suitable data map for the API integration platform outlining the relevant sources, details, and targets, and
- Initiate the software development program for building the API integration platform and streamlining it with current business solutions.
The companies then need to conduct numerous tests after building the API integration platform. This is to ensure the platform itself does not contain any types of bugs. Moreover, these errors should not appear at the time of integrating the platform with other business solutions.
The API integration can allow companies to ensure seamless data connectivity among their business solutions. This enables corporate enterprises to conduct their business operations in the market smoothly. However, these companies might want to hire reliable corporate service providers to build the platform for them. This is because the total costs of building the platform in-house might be beyond the companies’ budget.
In this scenario, enterprises need to ensure the corporate vendor they choose has adequate experience in this area. Above all, it should have a good track record of providing exemplary client service and charge reasonable fees.