What is an API and an Integration Platform?
An API (Applications Programming Interface) is a computing interface responsible for the communication and sharing of data between different applications. APIs have changed how businesses operate by connecting applications and facilitating innovation and digitization of business operations. This, in turn, has largely contributed to the growing popularity of APIs in the world of business today.
However, an API integration platform is required for APIs to meet their requirements. The API integration platform can be defined as the connectivity that makes it possible for businesses to automate their processes while at the same time enhancing the embedment and sharing of data between different applications. It underlines the impact of information systems in businesses.
A good example is the Uber application. This taxi application aggregates data from different applications such as Google Maps by calling the applications’ APIs. With Google Maps, Uber can locate drivers and clients, identifying the driver that is closest to the client. This is all done through the API integration platform.
Over the past few years, APIs have become an integral part of modern systems. The adoption of the IoT technology and its devices has fueled the use of APIs even further. Today, we use many devices that need to communicate with each other. This would be a very difficult task if it was not for APIs.
Before discussing the reasons why businesses need an API integration platform, it is important to understand what APIs are and how they work. This way, you will easily understand the reasons discussed in this article.
Why is an API Integration Platform Important for Businesses?
Due to the growth of API usage, businesses have several options that dictate how to create and integrate APIs. However, the API integration platform stands out from the rest due to its scalability and speed. Furthermore, the API integration platform is ideal for businesses due to:
The Need to Connect Business Solutions
The finance department in a business, for instance, performs many tasks, ranging from taxes, billing, accounts payable to insurance payouts among others. Even though you are likely to find a tool that purports to support all these tasks, chances are that such a tool will not meet the requirements of a finance department, and if it attempts to meet them, then it will be extremely expensive.
To counter this, businesses are developing their own solutions, not just for the finance department, but for the entire business. They are doing this by assembling different solutions handling specific tasks and then connecting them by the use of an API integration platform. This way, they connect the best applications that meet all their requirements while at the same time saving a lot of resources.
The Need to Build New APIs Fast and Easily
Initially, businesses that needed an API were forced to choose between building one for themselves from scratch or using one that was already available. These two scenarios presented businesses with a lot of challenges.
For instance, a readily available API could come with limited use and functionality while building one from scratch would consume a lot of time and resources.
However, with an API integration platform, businesses can explore another option. They can use iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) to build APIs with a click of a few buttons. This uses an integration that already exists. Apart from saving money and time, this technique allows businesses to get an API with all the functionalities that they need.
In addition, businesses have adopted the use of federated systems whose primary goal is to build within a short period of time and reuse resources when building new applications. Initially, they (businesses) would take a lot of time when creating new solutions for their operations. However, this has so far changed with federated systems. Furthermore, businesses are able to reuse resources such as code instead of building applications from scratch. This helps them to come up with new applications faster.
The Need to Build New Applications Easily
Did you know that Instagram had about thirteen employees in 2012 and WhatsApp had only fifty-five of them in 2014 when they were bought by Facebook in the respective years? Would you explain how these companies were able to build such amazing and seamless applications with such a limited workforce? Well, the secret was the use of APIs.
The most popular applications we use today are composed of previous technologies integrated together by the use of APIs. Similarly, businesses can use the same technique to build new applications. The API integration platform allows businesses to simply and quickly connect different technologies to come up with modern applications that meet their requirements.
APIs have taken over the innovation and digitization of business applications. They have created avenues through which businesses are able to understand what their customers need, how they need their services offered, predict future changes in customer needs and application failures and streamline business operations. This has left them (businesses) with no option but to adopt the use of APIs and in turn the API integration platform.