With the pace of technological evolution and the rise of the digital era, companies can challenge companies to retain their competitive edge. A key aspect is the management of data generated in eye-wateringly record numbers, as illustrated by the fact that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years up to 2020 alone.
For any business, handling and processing this data poses a real challenge, but it can lead to missed opportunities and costly errors for small-to-medium-sized companies. One solution is to turn to an API integration platform that can serve as an efficient gatekeeper to the data flowing in.
Introducing API Integration Platforms
API stands for Application Programming Interface, a mechanism that enables companies to process information that allows their systems to function. One of the more obvious examples of it in action can be seen in ecommerce, where APIs can manage the interaction between the customer UX (online checkout area) and the order fulfillment system in the backend.
Within an average company, there are likely to be dozens, if not hundreds, of APIs managing different processes. An API integration platform can allow those different APIs to interact by allowing information to be passed between separate data silos - without the need for time-consuming formatting.
For instance, using an API integration platform enables companies to sync ecommerce, accounting, and shipping APIs, where the data flows seamlessly between the different systems. A customer’s information is entered manually just once, by the customer themselves. That information is then processed and automatically placed into the accounting and shipping systems.
Why Companies Should Use API Integration Platforms
The next question is what are the benefits of API integration platforms and why we are always talking about data integration. The key is to understand the possibilities that open up when companies retain control of their data, which will fuel the next wave of technological evolution.
Seamlessly Connect Multiple Programs:
With the relentless pace of technological development, companies often mix traditional software and cloud-based applications. An average business with between 100 and 250 employees typically uses around 99 apps, and many - if not most - will have on-premise legacy programs too. These programs would generate a high volume of data that would be difficult to manage coming from multiple sources.
An API integration platform can help teams to integrate the data into one portal and enable synergized operations across multiple programs. Advanced API solutions can handle and format data from both cloud-based and legacy applications, removing a potential obstacle to smooth operations.
The capability of API integration platforms to connect older programs with newer, more advanced ones can help businesses speed up digitization at a lower cost.
Implement New APIs
As a business grows and evolves, an API integration platform enables companies to create and implement new APIs quickly. This can be useful in a number of situations, such as working with a new trading partner, and there’s a need to integrate different programs - the company can quickly create an API for this specific purpose.
Previously, in this kind of situation, companies had two options: 1) to build an entire API from scratch, taking up significant time and resources. 2) to rely on a third-party solution, which may not be a perfect fit for the requirements.
Having an API integration platform in place would provide a third, more efficient solution. Teams can take an existing API integration, adapt it to the new requirements, and implement - at a click of a few buttons.
Maximize Value of Existing Data
As previously mentioned in the post, one of the core benefits of API integration platforms is they can work with older, legacy programs. Another aspect of legacy systems is the wealth of data it holds, which can often lie dormant due to the difficulty of access and formatting.
With the ability to create new APIs for this situation, companies can access old but valuable data and format it for modern software. The utilization of old data means businesses can continue existing customer and supplier relationships, use processes that are already working, and remove the need for an expensive overhaul of systems.
Being able to maximize data use will also give companies a more accurate overview of business operations and enhance performance.
A core benefit of integration - both in terms of data and APIs - is that it leads to automation. The greater degree of connectivity between programs enables teams to set up processes to flow automatically. For example, once a customer at an ecommerce store provides information, integrated APIs can then funnel the data to shipping teams without any additional human input.
In doing so, companies can increase data accuracy, reduce the risk of errors, and utilize the time saved to enable teams to work on the more productive parts of the business.
The increase in productivity goes beyond the number of hours saved from employees having to do administrative tasks. With more integrated programs and processes, colleagues and other stakeholders will be able to communicate between departments more efficiently, track projects, and complete tasks remotely.
Another factor is the ease of developing new APIs with advanced platforms. This enables developers, and IT teams to focus on other urgent aspects of maintaining a company’s IT systems.
Prepare for a Digital Future
The digitization of the workplace has stepped up a gear during the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies were forced to adopt cloud technology to allow remote working and adhere to social distancing requirements. As Deloitte demonstrates, digitization also makes businesses more resilient to crises such as the pandemic and the changes brought about by climate change.
Using an API integration platform, companies can build the infrastructure required for the digital era - an interconnected web of data. The management of APIs and the data that flows through it will be critical for successful digital transformation.
By turning to an advanced solution like Universal Adapter, small-to-medium-sized companies will be able to join the digital revolution. The beauty of API integration platforms is that it allows businesses to produce more with less.
A classic example can be seen in the case of WhatsApp, one of the world’s leading messaging platforms. When it was sold to Facebook in a $19 billion deal, it just had 55 staff members.
How did it achieve so much with so few staff? APIs.