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Before we dive into API integrations, first I will explain the definition and concept of APIs. Then later in the article, we will get into the benefits and some examples of practical use cases.

illustration of an api integration What are APIs?

Imagine not being able to know if your message was actually received by the sender or was even successfully sent, after sending a text from WhatsApp. Luckily, the experts at WhatsApp knew the benefits of APIs and how they could address real-life needs. The WhatsApp team then introduced the tick symbol. The tick denoted message delivery based on its various states and colours. That implementation in return made the experience of using WhatsApp a whole lot better. I know you would agree also.

Now the definition; Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allows two or more systems to communicate with each other. These interactions usually take place over the internet and enable independent systems to share updates, files and to execute other user and administrative tasks.

The use of APIs is pretty common amongst software companies and the products they create, for example keeping your files and settings in sync across your iMac, iPhone and iWatch.

In short, if a system is capable of remotely sharing information with a third party application or device without the need for end-to-end human inference it is utilizing APIs.

The rise of APIs

In a modern and automated world, companies are being pushed to solve more complex problems as both consumers and producers want better end-to-end experiences. Take a look at the Google Trends data below.

Google Trends graph for search term API Integrations

As seen in the chart, there has been a steady increase in the search term “api integration” over the past decade. To add, I firmly believe we should all benefit from this powerful technology, not only the leading enterprise, known names or Fortune 500s.

How to streamline your corporate goals with an API-driven strategy?

Now that you have a definition of what APIs are and how they work, let’s explore the integration side of things.

An API integration involves implementing a third-party service into an existing application to gain access to additional resources or capabilities. In gaining access to these additional system capabilities you will have more resources on hand to analyze, deliver and achieve your business goals.

A major benefit of API integrations is that they allow for communication between two applications, without the need to know their internal or private architecture. This allows for a quick setup, testing and bootstrapping of the application before you launch, move into production or full development of a product or service.

Furthermore, incorporating APIs into your corporate decision making ensures that they will be a key driver in your modern digital strategy which streamlines you for competitive advantages in your execution and the markets that you serve.

For example, your marketing arm may launch a lead generation campaign. From past campaigns, your marketing team knows that it’s tedious to manually download the contact form leads from the website and upload them to the company’s CRM. However, this task is very crucial as it enables the sales team to follow up and convert the leads to customers. An API integration between your website and CRM could automate this process, and your marketing team would rest assured knowing your sales team is fully equipped with valuable lead data. An integration of this nature will save your team valuable time, increase productivity and will return an instant ROI.

Business opportunities from utilizing API integrations

What are the business benefits & advantages of API integrations?

They are many short and long term benefits from API integrations. Let’s expound on three of those benefits and their advantages.

1. Lower development time and cost

This is the most evident benefit for a product development team or a freelance web developer but the planning is critical. The questions to ask yourself:

  • How much time will you save by integrating a service, rather than building the complete system?
  • Could your in-house team develop the solution at a lower cost and how does a longer development time impact the project?
  • Does your team require full access or further customization to the portion of the project to be integrated or are they satisfied with the offered service and the access privileges sufficient for the job?

If you have taken the route to integrate an API, you should enjoy some of the following benefits:

  • Better ROI
  • Lower risk of project failure
  • Go to market faster
  • Eliminate expensive or timely talent search

2. Increase business productivity

Whether you have an existing application or developing a new system offsetting the majority of the development and maintenance process as instant benefits. Your team gets to focus more on execution while the blunt of updating, debugging and upkeep is taken care of by a third-party provider. This approach will enable both you and your organization to:

  • Focus on business goals rather than allocating resources to managing complex end-to-end development cycles
  • More business data and capabilities
  • Add missing features to existing applications
  • Offset system maintenance
  • Make data-driven decisions

3. Position for scalability

Having an understanding of API integrations and how they can be leveraged means you are always ready to take on your next business development challenge. Or to simply onboard a large number of customers as your customer base grows, to help your company scale its operations. The benefits are listed:

  • Utilize external storage systems eg. AWS Buckets, Firebase Firestore
  • Implement existing services eg. Facebook login, OneSignal Push Notifications
  • Position for unique business or system requirements

Lastly, to recap here are our three main takeaways:

  1. An API allows communication between two and more applications.
  2. There has been a steady increase in API related searches according to Google Trends.
  3. There are practical ways both small and enterprise companies are making use of these methodologies to increase everyday product experiences.

Join me in part two, where we will explore more use cases of API integrations. The goal of this series is to get you familiar with this method of expanding your current systems and business capabilities.



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