The application programming interface is a series of programming protocols necessary for creating and integrating software applications. These rules explain how the various components within a software program communicate with one another. Only then can two or more distinct software products transmit data between each other. An application programming interface is generally found in-between the software applications and a particular web server. It acts as an intermediary layer to facilitate the smooth exchange of data between the systems and works as follows:
- A client software application sends an API call to the web server to retrieve information.
- The API’s uniform resource identifier processes the request from the software application,
- The API then sends the software application’s request to the web server,
- The API receives a valid response from the web server with the necessary information,
- Finally, the API sends the response containing the relevant information to the requesting application.
What is API integration?
API integration refers to the process of connecting two distinct software applications using application programming interfaces. This allows the applications to communicate with one another and share data without any human intervention. It enables companies to automate and integrate their business software systems to ensure seamless data transmission between them.
These generally include enterprise resource planning software, Web-based SaaS platforms, and other specific custom-made software applications. These systems must co-exist and run simultaneously to maintain data integrity. Only then can the companies conduct their commercial operations smoothly. Companies can achieve API integration depending on their specific needs by adopting any one of the following techniques:
- Custom integration involving the implementation of a strategy that an experienced software developer devises for combining their various APIs, and
- Connector applications are containing relevant APIs, which make the integration of two distinct software platforms possible.
What to consider when devising a suitable integration strategy?
Companies need to consider the following steps when formulating a suitable API integration strategy for their businesses:
- Determine what they intend to accomplish by implementing the strategy and set the relevant benchmarks,
- Have a thorough understanding of their business’ current IT environment and conduct an audit if necessary,
- Determine the business processes they want to connect and automate using the integration strategy,
- Ensure all their managers and key employers understand the necessity of implementing the integration strategy,
- Conduct a test run to assess the effectiveness of the integration strategy they are going to implement, and
- Determine how the integration strategy will create new APIs and adapt to emerging software technologies.
Implementing a suitable API integration strategy enables companies to take their business activities to the next level. It allows them to connect all the different business software platforms within their IT infrastructure. This ensures the smooth transmission and sharing of data between the various systems. The integration strategy even hastens the automation of different business processes necessary for streamlining internal operations.
Moreover, the companies can achieve this objective without having to spend huge sums of money. This enables them to provide better service and create innovative products to suit their customers’ demands. It takes them one step closer to gaining a competitive edge in the market over their peers with success.