An application programming interface (API) is a type of software that allows multiple applications to communicate with each other over a network. Whenever you use your computer to connect to a server online, an API is being used to help the server interpret your request, and the server then retrieves the data so it can be displayed on your device in a way that you can understand. One example of this is when you’re using a graphical user interface instead of displaying code. Without API programs, the internet as we know it wouldn’t exist.
Of course, APIs aren’t just used over public networks like the internet. They also allow applications and software solutions to communicate and integrate with each other over private networks, such as those used in business. With the ever-increasing reliance on digital tools in all industries, proper API management is a necessary part of any organization’s digital transformation. Here are just a few of the most important reasons that any business needs an API platform.
Flexibility with Integrations
As already mentioned, having your own API makes it easy to integrate your digital solutions so that you can retrieve data from one centralized source. With an API gateway accepting all API service calls, it can set all the services required for that call in motion and deliver the best possible results. Using a platform like TIBCO API management saves you from having to rebuild systems and integrate them from scratch, which is an extremely time-consuming process that’s also prone to human error.
With all of your API information tracked in one place, you’ll be able to easily send relevant data (like coding constructs or API traffic metrics) to the appropriate teams, whether they’re internal or external developers. This makes it much simpler for software developers to build new software products that will work with your existing systems to provide a better experience for you, your employees, and your customers. You’ll also save on development costs, in addition to time, and being able to reliably track all of your API usage makes it easier to maintain security protocols.
Speaking of security protocols, with an API management platform, you’ll be able to easily identify and catalog all data types in your system, so you can wall off sensitive data, such as customer information. You can then create a system where only the approved personnel have access to this data, and they’ll have to identify themselves using API keys when they attempt access. An API key acts as a unique identifier, akin to a username and password, and authenticity can be assured automatically. It is recommended, however, to use these keys in conjunction with other protocols to ensure true security.
A business is nothing without customers, so offering an exceptional customer experience has to be one of your top priorities. With an API management solution, you’ll be able to pull useful features from one program and embed them in your others without having to build tools from scratch. This lets you quickly add tools to customer dashboards and other areas they’ll find useful.
An API portal also helps you provide better customer support by connecting once disparate systems. For example, if you’re running an online vehicle site that lets users search for “RV auctions near me,” APIs make it possible to track customer information and share it with relevant teams. You can identify the RV models that are most popular with customers by tracking bids and drive traffic towards them. You could also track the number of customers who visit your site and then leave without making bids. You may be able to identify points of frustration for potential RV customers and work to provide faster, more intuitive tools to convert more visitors into buyers.
Overall, API management is important for any digital business, so they can improve their solutions in the present and have a simple way to scale to growing needs in the future. Without APIs, you’ll be stuck building new systems from scratch and maintaining them manually, which just doesn’t work anymore in a fast-paced, digital world.