We all Need Open APIs for Cloud Technology Success
How many APIs currently assist you in day-to-day business processes? Can you name one? Would it surprise you to know that they are an integral part of many of your organization’s everyday activities? As software in the cloud continues to grow, and organizations demand best in breed technology, APIs are becoming ever more relevant to daily business functions and pivotal to an organization’s success.
APIs, or application programming interfaces, are all about connections. When two disparate software technologies share data an API makes that happen. They provide a way to integrate data from one source to another without manual (human) labor, and at their heart, APIs reduce roadblocks that affect client functionality and productivity.
Let’s consider organization X. They recently purchased a solution that requires customer data, such as name, address, and phone number, to be fully functional. This information already exists and is regularly updated in another solution. When organization X has APIs implemented, the data can be entered into one “master” application, with the “supporting” programs pulling that information into their databases using those APIs. When customer information needs to be updated, there is no need for organization X to spend time in multiple systems; APIs will update each system automatically.
If organization X chose not to use an API (or if their vendor had a closed API policy), they would need to manually enter the necessary data into each of the various applications. Not only could this create duplication and relevancy issues, but organization X would have to allocate work-hours to each of the manual steps involved in gathering the data from disparate systems and updating each one. Organization X now has to divert from revenue-generating (and customer-focused) tasks and may run the risk of losing sight-lines on key metrics due to busy work.
How do you prevent finding yourself in Organization X’s situation?
When you are considering a new technology spend, add APIs to your list of questions. As you are researching each solution, ask the vendor whom they have APIs and partnerships with, as well as what their API policy is. Don’t settle for, “Oh yes, we support your existing technology stack.” Ask for specifics; what is their policy on developing new APIs, how often are APIs updated, who has to communicate with them if an API breaks? Your technology solutions may not always be the same; if a new best in breed solution comes along, your existing technology stack must communicate with it.
The data in your systems belongs to you. You should be able to use it freely, not feel as though your choices are limited to a select number of vendors because one of your systems has a closed API policy. The next time that you are reviewing your technology stack (or researching potential new technology solutions) ask about their API policy and for a list of their current APIs. Only when you as the consumer demands access to use your data in any manner that you wish will more vendors support open API.
We are proud to have XCMapi chosen as one of Accounting Today's Top New Products of 2020.