What are APIs and why should you care? An API, or application programming interface, allows one program to interact with another, either on the same computer or across multiple computers via the internet.
APIs help to enable software developers to create applications that can use the features of other programs. They are used in all sorts of modern technologies, from mobile phones to social media networks, so it’s crucial that your company has a strong understanding of their importance and potential benefits.
Here are 9 reasons why your company needs APIs.
1. Increases productivity
Imagine a team of developers working on different solutions for one problem. All of these solutions are created from scratch and can potentially involve days, weeks, or even months of development time. APIs can allow developers to quickly implement existing functionality instead of creating solutions from scratch.
This can significantly increase productivity. For example, if your organization has an ecommerce platform that supports recurring billing, you could use an API to easily integrate with accounting software like QuickBooks Online instead of developing one yourself.
Apps like QuickBooks Billing Sync have already been developed by Intuit—but they’re only available to businesses using their software; your business may not be able to afford a subscription fee or have a need for all Intuit’s features. So why reinvent the wheel?
2. Lower costs
For most developers, accessing the data they need for their applications can be a costly and complicated process. With APIs, developers can fetch functionalities they need to create applications from elsewhere. No longer will software development projects be held back by factors like pricing or access to data – in fact, it’s likely that new applications will emerge as a result of existing API technology.
While lower costs are important in every aspect of business, perhaps even more vital is the ability to share assets (like databases) with third parties; however, sharing can also prove beneficial for customers: in many cases, API-based apps tend to scale better than those built on homegrown platforms.
3. Improves connectivity and collaboration
Newer business models and enterprise requirements are pushing businesses to develop a new set of skills, from understanding consumer behavior to communication methods and self-service analytics. All these elements depend on an IT infrastructure that supports open connectivity for real-time interactions.
APIs help improve connectivity within your company by integrating applications together, which helps drive collaboration. To ensure your company provides value to its customers in today’s competitive environment, take advantage of apis for enterprise solutions that leverage data in real time across platforms.
4. Improved security
By enabling developers to create apps that interact with your company’s data, APIs reduce security risks. This is because if an app is breached, only that app has access to your data (versus every single customer-facing app).
For example, a stolen user password shouldn’t be as much of a concern because third-party apps don’t have access to customer data. In addition, organizations can enforce security requirements around authorization and authentication before allowing developers to build on their platform.
5. Encourages innovation
The number one reason why your company needs to start using APIs is that it will encourage innovation. By allowing third-party developers to design applications and content for your platform, you make it possible for employees at all levels of your organization to come up with new ways of doing things.
And these days, that’s exactly what everyone is looking for. With so many companies already on board with open API strategies, you’ll be in good company—and stand out as a forward-thinking enterprise—if you offer an API platform too.
6. Improved customer experience
A robust API strategy improves customer experience. Building more powerful, better-connected applications takes a lot of work. With an API, you can focus on building those killer applications—and leave the plumbing to someone else. That’s good news for your customers, who benefit from an improved app experience and faster deployment time (no backend integration required).
You also have more flexibility: If a particular app goes viral and becomes very successful, it might make sense to spin it off into its own business (or sell it to another company), since you don’t have to worry about tying up resources with backend development. All that adds up to improved customer experience for both internal and external customers.
7. Improves marketing
Companies use open APIs to develop their marketing efforts in many different ways. The primary benefit of an API is that it opens up your system to third-party developers, allowing them to create programs and applications that connect with your system. This makes it easier for you to supercharge your marketing efforts by reaching a wider audience through social media and blogging—more reach means more exposure and more marketing opportunities!
To take advantage of all those possibilities, companies need an API management platform (also known as API gateway) to manage their APIs. Not only does a management platform make integrating with third-party systems easier, but it also enables you to track usage statistics on each API and make money off these connections.
8. Collects data for intelligence analytics
One of the greatest benefits of an API is its ability to collect data from a number of sources and funnel it into analytics tools, thereby giving your company deep insight into how you’re operating, what’s working (and what isn’t), etc. In short, an API allows you to collect data from your sales and customer service departments and funnel it into big-data systems that allow for intelligence analytics. The end result?
Better understanding of your business overall—and better decision making. It’s also worth noting that some companies will use specific types of applications programming interfaces (APIs) as part of their product; by using existing APIs within your own enterprise, you can reduce costs while increasing functionality.
9. Better customer retention due to higher user engagement
Giving your customers an easy way to engage with your content means they’ll keep coming back for more. They can read up on company news, submit user-generated content, purchase products and access customer support.
By providing them a modern and engaging experience, you’re not only making their lives easier but you’re also helping them fall in love with your company. When they fall in love with you they are more likely to come back over and over again, increasing repeat business and customer retention rates. In other words: Better customer retention rates mean higher customer lifetime value—and that’s a beautiful thing.
APIs can give you a competitive advantage by giving other developers easier access to your tools, allowing them to create a seamless experience for your users. They can also help reduce bloat and redundancy—maybe one of your products has all of these individual tools (like a payment gateway, analytics package, and CRM) but all of those tools do basically the same thing!
An API will allow them to consolidate these services into something far more efficient. If you also need an API for your app, you should hire mobile app developers having rich expertise in creating high performing APIs.