researchHQ’s Key Takeaways:
- Application Programming Interface (API) integration refers to the connectivity between software applications that allows companies to automate business processes and enhance data-sharing and data-embedding between various applications and systems.
- An API integration platform allows companies to connect cloud apps as well as connect their best-of-breed solutions.
- API integration platforms can unlock value from existing and legacy data sources, while also helping companies easily compose new applications.
- API integration platforms may help make teams be more strategic whilst bolstering their productivity.
- With an API integration platform in place, companies can also ensure they can integrate new technologies such as machine learning as they grow and mature.
What is API Integration?
An Application Programming Interface (API) is an interface that facilitates communication and connectivity between two or more software applications.
API Integration refers to this seamless connectivity that allows organizations to automate business processes, and enhance the sharing and embedding of data between various applications and systems. For instance, an app like Tripadvisor aggregates data from various airlines and hotels by calling their APIs. Another example could be the syncing of leads between marketing automation systems such as Marketo with your CRM such as Salesforce so that Sales can work on them.
Today, APIs are a necessity of modern enterprise IT. It is less a matter of if APIs are needed, but rather how many are necessary and how they will be created and published. There are now at least 23,500 APIs in existence, and this may end up being only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
To that end, companies now have many options at their disposal when it comes to creating and deciding how to integrate APIs. But among all the choices, only one reigns supreme for its sheer speed and scalability: the API integration platform.
1. You need to connect cloud apps.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of cloud apps exist today. This technology has firmly permeated the enterprise. According to the 2019 Annual SaaS Trends Report, companies with 100-250 employees use 99 apps across their organization while companies with over 1000 employees use over 203 apps.
When it comes to connecting cloud apps, API integrations are now the standard. Most legacy integration technology, like enterprise service buses (ESBs) were designed in the on-premise era, and struggle to support modern API-connectivity beyond the firewall. The gravity of apps has shifted to the cloud, and it no longer makes sense to house the platform that connects all these clouds behind your firewall. Simply put, an API Integration platform born in the cloud is necessary to connect today’s modern cloud APIs.
2. You need to connect your best-of-breed solutions.
Think about the typical finance department at your average enterprise. Consider all the tasks that fall on these teams. Everything from accounts payable, billing, taxes, insurance payouts and more is under their purview. While there are some tools out there that claim to do everything an average finance department would need, that solution is likely both expensive and not very good at all of these tasks.
Instead, many departments—including 96 percent of account and finance teams—are building their own solutions, assembling their own platforms, by pulling together best-of-breed solutions that handle specific tasks and data sets. With an API integration platform, departments are able to easily connect the best apps and tools available. This way, they can replace all-encompassing, yet inadequate options with a sleek and highly effective stack.
3. You need to quickly and easily create new APIs.
Until recently, if you needed an API, you had two main options. You either used what was already available (i.e., what a SaaS vendor or another third party already made) or you built one from scratch. Both scenarios could be problematic. Assuming an API is available from an outside source, it could be limited in its functionality or use. Building one from scratch via code is far from ideal either, as that is typically a time-consuming and difficult task.
By definition, API integrations done via an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) platform can offer an easier option. With just the click of a few buttons, you can create an API from an existing integration, saving you time and money while also finally fully leveraging your existing technology investments.
4. You need to unlock the value from existing and legacy data sources.
At many companies, especially older ones, data that is more than a year or even a few months old just ends up on a database somewhere. It’s “collecting dust,” remaining relatively dormant. Part of the reason older data often remains underutilized is because it can be difficult to access and subsequently integrated into current systems.
API Integration Platform simplifying the communication and connectivity between disparate devices, systems and apps.
API integration tools or platforms can be hugely beneficial in this situation as well. With such a solution, an enterprise can create its own APIs just for internal uses. This enables a business to more easily extract data from older servers and databases as well as reuse business logic and workflows that are already working.