The introduction of APIs on the web has made it simpler for developers to build web apps without building every aspect of the application by themselves.
For instance, if you want your application to use weather data, you can use an API from any weather monitoring system out there. Business applications rely on several APIs to do their tasks. These APIs have to communicate and share data through an API integration platform. In other words, it ensures the effective and seamless operation of business applications.
What is an API Integration Platform?
The term API stands for Application Programming Interface, and it refers to an interface that facilitates two or more software applications to exchange data. Most business applications have to communicate with multiple APIs to import relevant data required to execute various tasks. Harmonizing information from numerous APIs requires using an API integration platform.
Integrating each API individually into your business applications usually takes a lot of time and money. For example, if you want your application to import data from multiple CART platforms such as Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and open cart, your developers would need to use individual APIs for each platform. In addition to the initial effort to import data, it also requires your team to oversee maintenance for each API. As the scale of your operation increases, keeping tabs on all APIs can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process for your data engineering.
In such a scenario, you can use a CART API integration platform such as API2CART. This API integration platform communicates with API from over 40 eCommerce platforms. So, by using just one system, your web app can communicate and exchange data with over 40 platforms.
What is the API Integration Process?
An API integration process involves connecting two applications via their APIs. While connecting APIs from different platforms, you need to answer specific questions if you want a smooth process. For example, one question you need to answer can be to determine if connecting the APIs and the exact procedure you will have to go through to achieve that. It involves taking a couple of steps.
Below are some steps you can take during the API integration process:
Step #1: Do your research
The first thing you need to do before getting started with the process is to research the apps and their APIs. The data you will gather will help you determine whether it is possible to connect these APIs and what it takes to do so.
Step #2: Data flow planning
You will need to determine how the APIs will exchange data as they communicate. Some of the questions you need to answer at this stage include:
- whether there is authentication required to access data from a given API,
- the data volume to be exchanged;
- and whether there are discrepancies between the data on the APIs to be integrated.
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Step #3: Data Map
A data map is simply the visual representation of your data flow planning.
Step #4: Development
With a data map, your database roles can start developing/integrating the APIs.
Step #5: Testing
Testing ensures that the integration is working as intended. So, this step is very crucial and you should not miss it in the API integration process.
Please Note: There might be specific scenarios unique to your business context that might involve more steps than those listed above.
Why Do You Need API Integration Platforms? 7 Reasons
1. Seamless Communication Between Cloud Apps
If you want your business application to seamlessly communicate with cloud apps, you need an API integration platform. Businesses today use hundreds of cloud apps in their operations, and manually syncing data between all these applications would consume much time. However, with an API integration platform, APIs from all these apps can seamlessly exchange data to feed your business apps with harmonized data whenever required.
2. Ease and Speed Up the Building of New APIs
Without an API integration platform, the two options for connecting multiple apps are building your API from scratch or using the already created ones. Both options have issues; first, building an API from scratch takes time and money. The second option of using an existing API may also cause limitations in functionality.
An API integration platform can solve this challenge. These platforms drive to become dynamic web apps, while building new APIs faster. With these platforms, developers do not have to write all the code for their APIs from scratch.
3. Integrate Legacy Apps
Businesses have applications that they have been using for decades. The challenge with these apps is that they are not usually compatible with built-in APIs. This limits how much they can do. However, with API integration platforms, new custom APIs can be built (easily and faster) to enable communication between these legacy apps and multiple services on the cloud.
4. Reduce Revenue Loss Due to Integration Issues
A 2021 study by Cleo indicated that over 66% of the surveyed businesses lost over $500,000 due to poor integration of apps. These losses are mainly a result of delays in the communication of the different apps in the business ecosystem. In an era where data is king, any delays or failures in data transmission will lead to revenue loss.
To avoid this, businesses need to use API integration platforms to enable seamless communication between the various applications in the business ecosystem.
5. Enable Creating New Apps Faster
How do small teams build and scale applications that communicate with hundreds of other apps to process data easily? With API integration platforms.
Most new startups use API integration platforms to create powerful and powerful applications that exchange data with multiple services to execute the tasks they are built for. So, if you want to ship new applications much faster, you need an API integration platform to harmonize data from several other apps and services on the internet.
6. Boosts Team Productivity
Without an API integration platform, your team will spend hours manually integrating data from different APIs. However, automating connectivity between applications and various data sources using API integration platforms will save your team much time. They’ll be able to focus on other core tasks and improve their productivity levels.
7. Enhance Scalability
Scalability is essential for your software. Scaling your software means scaling up what your business web apps can accomplish, which often requires enabling communication with multiple services on the cloud. In such cases, developers need to create various APIs to allow seamless communication between your business apps and other applications and services on the cloud.
With an API integration platform, it is easier and faster to create new APIs. It also provides an interface that enables all the different APIs to feed your business apps with the data they need. This makes it much easier to scale up your business operations without necessarily increasing the costs.
Best API integration platforms
Now that we have covered why every business operating in this era needs an API integration platform, let’s look at some of the best API integration platforms available today:
- Improvado: This is an API integration tool built by marketers for marketers. This platform integrates with over 200 platforms to help you bring all the marketing data in one place.
- IBM API Connect: This platform enables developers to create and manage their API ecosystems across multiple clouds.
- Oracle API platform: This platform offers a design-first approach for creating APIs, enabling everyone to get on the same page faster.
- Microsoft Azure API Management: This API integration platform can manage and publish APIs to both internal and external customers.
- Apigee API Management Platform: This is Google’s API integration platform, and it offers all the features you would expect to find at any standard API integration platform.
How To Improve Your Business Through API Integration
- Determine the best use cases for API integration
If you are running a business with multiple departments such as marketing, sales, and IT, you need to determine which one needs API integration the most. Your choice will depend on the type of apps you use to manage data and execute tasks in each of these departments.
If a particular application requires integrating with many other apps on the cloud to work, start with that first. You can later bring more applications on board until all apps used by the various departments are covered.
- Build an API team
You must have skilled data developers to deal with all issues related to API integration. If you are running a small business, your developer needs to ensure from the beginning itself that all the APIs your apps are using communicate seamlessly. This becomes even more critical for bigger enterprises that might need a dedicated team to take care of all API-related issues.
- Choose the right API integration platform
Several API integration platforms exist, but not everyone is ideal for your business. You need to take time and research each of them to determine which one suits your business. Your choice of which platform to choose will largely depend on the business applications you are using to determine the integration platform that suits them.
- Use the 3M approach (Monitor, Measure, Modify)
After choosing the right platform, you need to constantly determine its effectiveness and impact on your business operations. That is why you need to continually monitor it, measure its performance and then make modifications where necessary.
API integration is crucial to any business using apps that rely on several other cloud apps and services to operate. Using API integration platforms will save your business time and money lost due to application integrations issues. For the best results, companies need to choose an API integration platform that suits the apps they are using and those they intend to build in the future.
And yes, we know, choosing and managing an API integration platform seems easier than it really is. If you don’t have any experience related to APIs, you don’t need to waste time trying to learn more. You can hire a qualified data expert ready to guide and help you through the whole process. Contact us, and we can get you in touch with a skilled remote developer in no time!