In many ways, APIs or application programming interfaces are already being used in some way by everyone around the world. However, its capabilities are constantly evolving to be able to do more—and many businesses are failing to see just how advantageous making the most out of API technology can be. But what exactly is an API?
API functions like a boundary between two software programs to allow a certain service or function to be carried out. Aside from allowing these separate programs to connect and communicate by exchanging data, the API also controls the kind of information that is exchanged and the functions carried out between the two programs. This way, API allows a seamless and secure connection, ensuring that nothing incriminating or unnecessary is leaked out.
While API does have its obvious applications in areas like IT and communication, API can be the central tool that will help reorient your entire business towards a more digital and efficient transition. There are a lot of advantages to prioritizing API when it comes to how you do business, and some of them might be unexpected for you. While this list is far from comprehensive, here are some big advantageous that might help you come to a decision:
Optimize all the data that your company gathers
There is no doubt that your company likely has a lot of data gathered from your daily business operations. In this day and age, data is an invaluable resource but many companies still do not take advantage of everything that they have stored. You can actually use APIs to help you organize all your data so you can analyze it better. With the help of an API design platform like Stoplight, you can develop an API that is tailor-made to your company’s needs.
Without the right tools, only a small fraction of the data gathered is subject to scrutiny while the rest is disregarded. By connecting your company systems with the data, an API can seamlessly connect all the information that your company gathers to the objectives that you set. You and your team can then use the findings to create reports and analytics that can be shared internally with everyone. APIs can also make sharing information much easier if your company prefers to have an open data platform. Letting your employees freely access, use, and distribute data keeps everyone on the same page, which is always important for any company.
While it can be tedious to do this, being able to see all your company data presented in a digestible manner can help you and your team gain a better understanding of how the company works. It becomes easier to predict buying patterns, understand your target audience better, track your resources and customer engagement, and more.
Build and restructure your internal systems with flexibility
As time goes on, every business will need to get an upgrade in varying degrees. You might notice that a certain program or application no longer works for a particular operation or a new project that your business is taking on. This could be because it is outdated or phased out. It can be difficult to determine how to bridge the technology gap in the existing infrastructure and the new technology that needs to be integrated. This is one of the biggest challenges of digitization initiatives for a lot of businesses—but APIs can help ease things along.
Placing APIs in the heart of your company systems allows you to take advantage of your existing systems and simply merge it with the functions of newer technology. This connectivity between systems allowed by API means that you don’t have to start from scratch. The notion of needing to completely overhaul your company’s infrastructure is far from true. You can skip that arduous and expensive process with the use of APIs.
With an API-centric internal system, you can freely change and restructure it in a flexible and ongoing way. This makes it easier to accommodate newer technologies and future upgrades and opens your business up to new opportunities and markets too!
Keep your company assets secure
Now with the increased connectivity that API provides, it is easy to assume that a data leak or security breach is a huge threat. However, remember that security threats and risks don’t come from the API connecting to these networks. It actually comes from issues with coding, validation, and authentication. There are all kinds of API functions that can be programmed and designed to be as stringent as you’d like based on your company’s needs.
With security requirements and limits being coded into the API, you can easily control access and make sure that your API system is designed up to the standards of legal compliance. With measures like requiring permission or credentials, your sensitive information is kept protected and auditing your API is also easier to do. There are also different types of API (public, private, and internal) that also offer options on how much access users have to your company data and systems.
Leveraging API to conduct your various business operations is a timely and necessary response to the sign of the times. An API-centric approach will improve and strengthen the internal structure and systems of your company so you can continue to work efficiently from inside out.