With an increase in the use of social media, mobile devices, and cloud services, companies need the best way to work with and provide data and information in a way that is efficient and relevant. More and more businesses are realizing that the best way to do this through API’s. We already see API’s in regards to popular, well-known companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter. An API (application-programming interface) is a software-to-software interface. It allows software applications to securely communicate with other software applications over the internet.
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When a software company grants others access to its API, developers have the opportunity to create a product or application from that service. With API’s, software developers don’t have to waste time creating and building one application or program that does everything as they can outsource certain functions to remote software that will do the work instead.
Because API’s are not a user interface, the user doesn’t see the actual communication happening between software applications. They only see one interface the entire time they are using a specific software or website. When a consumer is making an online purchase (clothing for example), while they only see one interface such as the website the entire time, their information is being sent by an API to a remote application to be verified and is bounced back to the website once approved. API’s grant software the ability to communicate and transmit information securely over the internet with the use of remote applications.
Traditionally, partnerships, product development and integration can get pretty expensive for businesses. In the past, businesses ran their own software that was built to specifically to only run on their own systems. All this technology stayed within the confines of the business itself. The amount of time and expenses for businesses to operate like this as well as have the need to employ knowledgeable personnel and train them to write software programs, manage servers, and supply IT support proves to be costly.
API’s allow a lot more freedom and potential when it comes to business capabilities. Now businesses can partner with other companies that provide software and services (such as a website that manages web conferences) whereas before they would have to invest in creating and providing that necessary software and technology themselves. For an employee who wants to set up a web conference, they have the ability to create it in their email calendar and can select the recipients that they want to join.
When those recipients receive that web conference invitation, they will have all the information about the web conference included and can connect by clicking the provided link prompting them to join the web conference. Different software and applications work together to provide a seamless, efficient experience for the user.
For a business to be able to invest in such services and software means less expense in regard to both time and money for the company to develop the technology and software to handle all of those individual capabilities itself. Hiring new employees and managing employee information can go a long way as well with API’s. API’s give departments such as Human Resources the ability to do more tasks with less work. Upon entering new employees in the company system, they are now rolled into email lists that will provide them with necessary usernames, passwords and other information that a new employee needs access too. All of this leads to a more cost-effective, efficient way of running a business.
On the other end, for companies that are supplying the API’s, they are actually creating and building brand recognition and customer loyalty for their own business. API’s bring an increased number of customers, shows innovation within the business by evolving with technology, and builds revenue. API’s are cost-efficient when it comes to scaling business and it also utilizes the creativity and resources of other software and other partners.
If you are a business thinking about providing an API, invest in support for developers looking to use the API and make sure that existing and potential customers won’t become victims of any imitation software developers looking to mislead and take advantage of their information through attempts at hacking or viruses. Release an API that you can guarantee is functional enough for developers to work with and is efficient to use.
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About the Author:
Kevin Hart is avid writer of help desk tips. He especially likes working with gmsliveexpert.com, which is an
outsourced help desk provider for managed service providers.