Exploration is the engine that drives innovation. Innovation drives economic growth.
– Edith Widder
In this era of digitization, it is essential for businesses to get with the times to increase their revenue margins and amplify operations. Integrating technology into businesses has become necessary for survival and sustenance. One such imperative aspect businesses cannot overlook is API, an Application program interface. APIs act like a bridge, connecting one program with another allowing an exchange of information between programs. But how can these APIs benefit a business?
Here is an overview of APIs and why they are a must-have for a business.
API in Business: Engines Under the Hood!
Application programming interfaces (APIs) are engines under the hood that run the show for businesses. Let us consider this instance: when we visit a restaurant, we place our order to the waiter. The waiter conveys the food we want to relish to the chef in the restaurant’s kitchen. After the food is prepared, the waiter serves the same to us.
Here, the waiter is the critical link between the restaurant’s kitchen and the guests. Similarly, APIs are like messengers, taking requests from users and conveying the requirement to the system or programs, telling them what needs to be done, and returning the response or output to the end user.
APIs are the right resource to fuel innovation in the world of business. With APIs, businesses can avoid spending unnecessary time and effort reinventing the wheel and instead use readymade solutions to develop products. Some high-end technologies, like machine learning algorithms, and image recognition software are extremely resource-intensive to create. However, APIs allow even small applications to access these technologies and pave the way for innovation.
As an IT solution, API enables independent software to communicate or exchange data or services and connect several applications together.
Different Types of API
APIs are used immensely in web services. Some of the common types of API include:
- Partner APIs facilitate business-to-business activities. They can be used by businesses to selectively share their data with outside firms by connecting internal systems with external parties.
- Internal APIs are used within an enterprise or B2B firm to connect systems and data within the business, like the use of an API to connect a company’s payroll and HR systems.
- Composite APIs combine two or more APIs to create interdependent operations. They are usually used to improve the performance and speed of individual APIs.
API Protocols and Architectures
API requires rules and structures to govern its operation. There are three popular formats or architectures with unique features that are employed to create APIs:
- Representational State Transfer – REST architecture separates the front and back ends of the API, facilitating the exchange of information; it provides flexibility in development and implementation. As it stores no data between requests, REST supports caching and can also operate through API gateways and load balancers.
- Remote Procedural Call – RPC architecture creates simple means to send multiple parameters and receive results. RPC invokes executable actions or processes by employing two different languages, JSON and XML, for coding.
- Simple Object access Protocol – SOAP architecture creates web APIs, usually with XML. As it supports a wide range of internet communication protocols found across the internet, such as HTTP, SMTP, and TCP/IP, it allows developers to create APIs in varied ways and add to features and functionality.
API in Businesses Are the Root of Everything Good
APIs have become immensely important as they positively impact every realm of businesses. Every business vying to reach the pinnacle of success should have an API strategy as it expedites their enterprise’s growth, modernizes their venture, creates numerous avenues for revenue generation, and allows them to provide better digital experiences for their customers. These aspects are evident from API driving 35% of the organization’s revenue.
According to Data Bridge Market Research insights, the global application programming interfaces (API) market is valued at USD 3.77 billion and is poised to reach USD 32.79 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 31.05%. The numbers indicate that APIs are here to stay and will transform the landscape of global businesses by bolstering the innovation capabilities of enterprises. Here are the top 10 ways APIs are changing the B2B businesses for the good and why they should have an API strategy for their venture.
1. Allows Businesses to Take the Digital Route
APIs allow businesses to digitize and innovate across their services or products, empowering them to transform their endeavor and keep up with their competitors digitally. Businesses can incorporate APIs into their operations to simplify and accelerate their go-to-market strategies, bringing agility and speed to their functionalities. API allows businesses to pursue new digital channels for opportunities to increase revenue growth.
2. Empowers Businesses to Create Superior Digital Experiences
APIs empower businesses to create solutions across any channel, allowing them to develop more engaging user experiences. Employing APIs will enable businesses to embrace the delivery of services such as personalization, data collection, and integration.
3. Accelerates the Development of New Applications
APIs can be reused or combined for different use cases, as they enable a uniform and well-documented interaction with systems and applications. It allows developers to test various system components independently and enables the creation of new products or features without any time lag.
4. Brings Standardization and Reusability to Business Operations
The standard code components provided by API, when combined with written documentation, create an exchange point for a wide array of information and make data easily accessible to users. Along with standardization, APIs also bring reusability. APIs allow internal communication between systems and can be offered to users as a single point of information.
5. Creates Avenues for Business Expansion and Revenue Generation
APIs help businesses improve their operational ability by allowing them to benefit from several third-party programs and applications integrated into their systems. It empowers businesses to explore different opportunities and markets, assisting them in creating multiple avenues for revenue generation.
6. Promotes Flexible Management of Processes
Application programming interfaces promote the decoupling of systems, allowing businesses to easily access and use the information-processing elements as separate units, making flexible management of processes possible in operations.
7. Bestows Excellent Integration Capabilities
Programming interfaces have exceptional integration capabilities that enable the mutual exchange and processing of information across systems, tools, and departments. By syncing data from various sources, API allows businesses and users to communicate vital information between platforms and streamline several processes. It plays a crucial role in business operations when the continuity of processes is driven by data input or information updates. By facilitating better integration and automation, API eliminates the need for manual transfer and information management, making processes error-free.
8. Bridges the Data Gap in Businesses
Businesses can leverage APIs to bridge the existing data gaps and obtain precise information for large-scale prospecting. APIs provide access to data and data management functions, enabling a secure flow of information on request-response-communication and allowing businesses to make appropriate data-driven decision-making. Additionally, APIs also provide businesses the right avenue to procure the required data, and enrich their existing information, paving the way for hassle-free prospecting.
9. Supports Businesses in Improving Customer’s Journey
APIs can effectively enhance the quality of customer interactions. By enabling effective communication and data sharing between software systems, API bestows businesses the ability to design customized experiences for their clients. APIs help businesses improve their customer’s journey by furnishing real-time data and automating functions.
10. Enables Unmatched Scalability of Business Operations
The usage intensity of API connections can be easily increased or decreased, providing the perfect platform for businesses to scale their operation capabilities. For instance, even when the user’s traffic increases in a system, the interface remains the same, but the computing power increases, helping businesses scale their operations whenever required.
API Use Cases in Various Industries
If we think we are far away from APIs, then we are wrong! APIs have become part and parcel of our daily lives. As our lives have become the epicenter of digital transformation, we use hundreds of APIs every day. Enterprises across industries are under constant pressure to obtain, provide, and handle real-time information to satisfy customers’ needs. APIs are helping them build unique capabilities to maximize their venture’s potential and gain a competitive edge over their business rivals.
As invisible bridges, API connects data and functionalities. APIs have immense potential in the healthcare industry owing to the massive amount of data it harbors and the speed of innovation the healthcare sector is witnessing. APIs are revolutionizing every aspect of the healthcare field and benefiting users and healthcare providers. The exchange of information between a user and a healthcare provider is vital for remote care, telemedicine, and appointment scheduling. APIs come in handy in these scenarios and provide solutions that enhance remote access functionalities.
GluVue, a real-time clinical support tool, uses APIs to collate data from glucose monitors. By importing the data into the user’s EHR, it facilitates continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels, helping efficiently manage diabetes. MyHealthfinder Content API is used extensively by recommendation engines in the healthcare sector to give personalized healthcare tips based on age, sex, and habits.
The E-commerce industry is extensively using APIs to improve the functionality of businesses and customer experiences. Catalog API enables businesses to create, edit, and manage product catalogs effectively. It allows businesses to update thousands of products in just a jiffy and supports the display and management of inventory.
Data APIs have emerged as indispensable tools for email marketing, allowing B2B businesses to enhance sales with minimal effort. Besides enabling email nudges for every specific scenario like onboarding, order confirmation, and more, the versatility of data APIs bestows businesses to deliver vital information securely and efficiently.
The Stumbling Block of API
APIs provide multiple advantages to businesses, helping them explore new growth opportunities and enhance their innovation capabilities. However, as APIs act as a gateway, they are vulnerable targets to hackers, i.e., once it’s compromised, and all other systems in sync with it are exposed to the threat.
Emerging Trends in API
As enterprises survive and sustain in competitive business ecosystems, their resources are getting stretched, and revenue margins are decreasing. APIs will significantly emancipate businesses from these hassles or mitigate the issues by connecting services, applications, and clouds and setting up smooth processes to achieve operational excellence.
Some of the future trends in API include:
The advent of conversational APIs
Several chat or voice apps will embrace APIs to create conversational APIs so that voice expression can be enabled across interfaces and platforms.
Micro-service APIs will gain momentum
Micro-service APIs will become the focus of IT departments. It will empower businesses to create stable and agile internal applications and gateways for discovery.
In conclusion, APIs are necessary for businesses across verticals and industries. With constantly evolving capabilities, API will be the perfect arsenal to empower businesses to provide better user experience. It will allow businesses to take the route toward digitization. APIs will let enterprises forge new partnerships, confidently enter unknown market territories, enhance internal operations, and achieve success. By incorporating API strategies into their ventures, businesses can keep up with the latest market trends and gain a competitive edge.