An application programming interface, or API, is a software solution that allows computers and their applications and software to communicate with each other over networks. As we know it, the internet is made possible because APIs enable your device to send a request to the server, which then responds to your request with relevant information that you can understand (in graphic form rather than in code). API gateways are used constantly in everyday life, and they’re handy for organizations that need to integrate their software systems to provide better service and drive productivity.
API management is the process of monitoring and maintaining these gateways to make sure they’re operating as intended and driving business goals. The uses for API management tools are practically endless, but here are just five examples of how APIs and API management are used in modern settings.
1. Custom Software Development
One of the greatest advantages of having your own API management platform is that it gives you a great deal of freedom in creating your own software for your organization. When you developers are all using the same APIs and know how they work, they can create software solutions with those APIs in mind using your own developer portal. It also makes it easy to transition to integrated software since all of your solutions will already know how to communicate from the start. This lets you bypass the traditional extract, transform, load (ETL) process that holds many large organizations back.
2. Data Analytics
Data is one of the most valuable resources available to modern organizations, but you need quick monetization to make it work. Integrations with an API management solution make it easy to collect your master data (data shared between applications) in one source and analyze in real-time. Data analytics can provide actionable insights into customer behavior, supply chain management, cybersecurity, and other realms that can help you improve business processes and stay ahead of the competition. With API analytics, you’ll have all the information you need to start making better decisions.
Whether you’re running a traditional business, non-profit organization, or a higher education facility, one of your greatest human resources challenges is onboarding new employees or students. With API integration, you can automate this process, store relevant information in a single database, and send out required materials and access credentials.
For example, a business school offering degree programs for a Master of Business Administration (MBA masters) could automatically collect applications from candidates and analyze them for information like GMAT scores to find the most promising leads. Of those, the admissions committee can begin the interviewing process for MBA candidates who most fit what the school is looking for. Once candidates are accepted into an MBA program, each one can automatically be given a student ID and password and begin their journey toward their MBA.
Speaking of onboarding new employees, security and access control is crucial for any modern enterprise. With API security, you can ensure that only authorized employees can access sensitive information by setting up access controls for each of your integrated applications. This form of security is ensured with API keys, which are unique identifiers for recognized users that act akin to a unique user ID and password combination. When used along with other security measures, APIs help ensure your important, confidential data stays that way.
5. Customer Service
With a software as a service (SaaS) integrated CRM system, you’ll be able to provide a better customer experience than ever before. A reliable CRM system automatically stores customer data and retrieves it for your support agents so that they can provide a personalized experience for each customer. They’ll also be able to support customers across digital channels, in addition to traditional voice calls, for maximum customer convenience. You can even share the data collected in this process with your sales and marketing teams, so you can come up with special offers for loyal customers or determine how to replicate successful strategies from your highest-selling products.
No matter your industry or business strategy, you already rely on APIs. By taking control of API development and API management, you’ll be putting your business in a stronger position to decide your own future and stand out from the competition.