API integration is critical to businesses operating in the digital economy. Customer expectations have changed, and enterprises are constantly in need of improving their customer journeys while at the same time exploring ways to reduce operational redundancies and expand their revenue streams.

By integrating their ecosystem of APIs, enterprises are more easily able to break down data silos and allow all stakeholders to access critical data information. Doing so helps to streamline business processes while empowering the enterprise to respond effectively to specific customer problems.

Continue reading to learn more about API integration and how it can benefit enterprises in the modern digital economy.

What is API integration?

API integration is the use of application programming interface (API) to connect two or more applications, systems or IoT devices without constant human oversight. API integration enables one system to share data with a different application. Whether applications are internal to the enterprise or used between businesses and consumers, API integration is the engine that allows users to derive real value from them.

At its core, API integration allows different systems to exchange critical data in real time, giving the API consumer an efficient, cost-effective experience, while ensuring that the data shared between applications is current and accurate.

What is required for API integration?

The right API management platform requires a number of functional and non-functional components to facilitate integration with other APIs, according to Akana. Functional requirements relate to the specific features and objectives of the API itself — that is, what it’s designed to do. While these functions can vary considerably between different APIs, some examples include:

 

Transmit ad banners to Google or other search engines

 

Allow new businesses to connect to the host enterprise

 

Be used in a mobile application

Non-functional requirements, by contrast, include those qualities that aren’t directly related to the API’s operability but nonetheless are required to ensure the smooth operation of the API. These might include:

 

Security

 

Scalability

 

Reliability

 

Performance

 

Usability

How API integration works

APIs work by providing other systems and applications with the information they need to complete a command. When a user places a command on their device or application, the application communicates that information to another system — like a web server — via the API, instructing the other system how to complete a task. The server then retrieves the necessary data and communicates that information back to the application or device via the same API.

The above picture is a general overview of what API integration is and how it works. There are, however, numerous different types of APIs, each with their own functions and purposes. Here are some of the most common (along with a few popular API protocols):

Open APIs

Internal APIs

Partner APIs

REST APIs

JSON-RPC and XML-RPC APIs

SOAP APIs

Why enterprises need API integration

The rapid development of technology and the emergence of the digital economy have caused industries to change drastically. Enterprises are able to collect more data about their customers, partners and internal systems than ever before. Oftentimes, however, that data gets locked away in silos where it’s virtually inaccessible to different stakeholders within the business.

Not only does the prevalence of data silos cause systems and processes to slow down and function inefficiently, it also means enterprises are unable to properly leverage that data to create an optimal customer experience for clients.

API integration enables enterprises to overcome these challenges. It helps break down silos, facilitating the integration of data across the enterprise so they’re deriving the maximum value from all stored information.

The COVID-19 pandemic radically changed consumer habits. Digital capabilities are no longer a luxury like they were before the outbreak of the virus — customers now expect to interact with businesses digitally, and they expect a quality service that is tailored to their specific needs. API integration ensures that enterprises can meet those new expectations and deploy their data in a way that is most useful for customers.

Here are some of the specific business benefits of API integration:

 

Automation

API integration enables enterprises to automate numerous different platforms and applications, facilitating omnichannel, self-service experiences, allowing users to easily and seamlessly transition between different programs. This can help cut down on the time users spend manually clicking in and out of different applications.

Boost innovation

APIs help enterprises stay ahead of the competition by powering innovation. They use APIs to develop and deploy new technologies while expending fewer resources, boosting their output while keeping costs down. One report from Cloud Elements found that 51% of enterprises experienced “increased innovation” when leveraging APIs.

 
 

New streams of revenue

Depending on the types of APIs being created, APIs can help enterprises locate additional sources of revenue. By understanding the needs of their customers, they can develop APIs that integrate with their current systems and help them solve specific problems, using that to monetize their API.

Simplify the business

API integration helps enterprises break down stringent data silos, streamline their systems and processes, and help key data information flow across the business. All of this makes their entire operation more efficient and allows them to cut out excessive redundancies.

 

Transforming your business with the right partner

API integration is no longer a luxury for enterprises in the digital economy — it’s now a necessary part of diversifying revenue streams and staying competitive. But it isn’t an easy (or straightforward) process, and it’s important to have the right team of experts on your side to ensure that integration delivers for your enterprise.

Torry Harris Integration Solutions is at the forefront of data integration. As one of the most trusted solutions providers for leading enterprises across the world, our mission is to help stakeholders across industries leverage the power of digital access through integration.

Contact us today to get started.

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