Benefits of APIs for Business Communications
January 25, 2023
API services are everywhere. You might be using one right now and not even know it. You’re missing out if your business isn’t taking advantage of APIs.
If you, like the Bragona Technologies team, are an API enthusiast, you may appreciate API services’ power, flexibility, and sheer ubiquity. You might not know it, but every app, social media platform, and website is continuously interacting with one another via APIs. The Internet has become a system of programmed robots, automatically sending and receiving data via API connections.
Google Maps directions, Uber calls, and TikTok video comments are all instances of data transmission via an application programming interface, or API. Let’s take a look at how businesses produce, handle, and use information, some for good and others for harm.
What is an API?
An API is an application programming interface that allows systems to communicate with each other. One plan “calls” another using a specific API endpoint. Think of an endpoint as the URL of a Web site. When you visit the URL, it returns data from that site. The API does exactly that, but in a structured way that is programmatically parsed and consumed by the other system. Even recurring services automatically use endpoints to synchronize data between applications, servers, and databases without user interaction.
APIs are the building blocks used by developers to create apps. Functions such as payment processing, banking information, and medical records are accessed through secure API services. Today’s robust digital solutions can easily communicate with ten or more different API endpoints at any given time. All of these links give little chunks of data or functionality that are part of a larger platform. However, management can become an overwhelming task in an enterprise environment with dozens of such accesses. To handle the digital needs of a firm that relies on APIs to run IoT devices, phone applications, and more, an experienced development partner is required. So why should any business delve into the complex API service process? Because APIs are the secret to unlocking a lot of data and services.
Grow your business with enterprise API connections
Mobile and digital technologies have changed the way business is done. Consumers expect their phones to be able to do anything from anywhere. Smart companies are recognizing this need and participating in the digital transformation by connecting to a global network of API data and cloud services. The covid pandemic has forced companies to expand digital services to stay competitive in the new online economy. APIs allow companies to offer these services faster, applying a digital strategy to generate new revenue and opportunities. Opportunities such as delivery services, e-commerce transactions, geolocation services, and more are available to any company that is open to an API-centric approach.
This “open” thinking increases speed and provides a better customer experience. But how does a company start using these magical API services? The first step is to work with an experienced development team to create the right connections.
Creating or integrating APIs involves firewalls, URL routes, networks, databases, and more. One of the biggest challenges is security. We’ve all seen reports in the news about breaches and data leaks. Lazy integration and poor implementation are often the cause of these leaks.
Companies have a hard time overcoming the negative judgment that comes with such a negative impact. To combat this, it’s best to start by securing APIs, so you don’t become a target for hackers. If your company is going to create or consume API data, ensure that your implementation provides a secure connection and data transfer. Ask the development team about authentication and authorization methods. Make sure you ask the security question from the beginning.
After answering the security question, the next step is to determine which API connections will meet your company’s needs. Here are some of the ones you may need:
- Send orders/invoices to a warehouse
- Resize and optimize images
- Offer billing and commerce services
- Offer location-based services
- Display news or weather data
- Provide artificial intelligence and/or machine learning for your data
- Scan images and convert them to metadata
These are just a few possibilities when it comes to API services. There is a fantastic array of options and customizations. Your development partner can help you make connections and integrate services. Each API has its own structure and data to match your application. You can expect some custom development at this stage of the process. Consuming data from a third party can be challenging, so most of the work will be focused on supporting this part of the integration.
If this all sounds too technical, don’t worry, Bragona Technologies is here to help your business. If you’re looking for an experienced API partner to help with development or integration, you’ve come to the right place.