Buildings being linked by an API integration platform

What are the reasons you need an API integration platform in the age of API-first development? First and foremost, an API integration platform can reduce a months-long development process down to a matter of days — and in some cases, down to a matter of minutes. Nevertheless, reducing time and labor isn’t the only benefit of an API integration platform.

Did you know you can generate a full-featured, documented, and secure REST API in minutes using DreamFactory? Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how! Our guided tour will show you how to create an API using an example MySQL database provided to you as part of the trial!

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In this guide, we’ll help you understand the seven key advantages that a modern API integration platform can provide. But first, if you’re not clear on what we mean by “API” and “API integration,” you might want to read our brief guide on the topic

Here are the seven reasons you need an API integration platform:

(1) Integrate Cloud-Based Apps, Web Services, and SaaS Platforms

According to the 2020 Annual SaaS Trends Report from Blissfully, businesses are integrating massive numbers of cloud-based SaaS platforms into their IT infrastructures. For example, cloud-based SaaS products increased by 50% in 2019 (compared to 2018 figures). Moreover, the average enterprise with 1,000+ employees was using 288 apps in 2019. There’s also a high app turnover of about 30% per year. 

What does all this mean? Companies are scrambling to connect, disconnect, and manage connections for all of the SaaS and cloud-based apps they are juggling. The faster and more cost-effectively they can do this, the better.

The ESB (enterprise service bus) is the traditional way of connecting enterprise applications. However, ESBs are designed for in-house connectivity within the bounds of firewalls. They are not suited for connecting cloud- and web-based SaaS platforms. Considering that so many enterprise apps now exist beyond the firewall in the cloud, an API Integration platform like DreamFactory, which you can host in the cloud or on-prem, is more suitable for managing modern API connections. 

(2) Automatically Generate New APIs Without Coding

The latest API integration platforms like DreamFactory offer time and money-saving API generation tools. These tools automate the process of creating new, fully-documented REST APIs that feature interactive Swagger documentation. Previously, IT staff and developers were limited to either using pre-existing APIs or hand-coding new APIs when connecting two systems.

Both of these API strategies present serious setbacks. For example, hand-coded APIs are not always the best because they might not provide the capabilities, security, RBAC, and API key management that your use-case requires. Furthermore, hand-coding a new API can take weeks to complete, and outsourcing the process is exorbitantly expensive (costing between $25,000 to $35,000 per API). If you take care of it in-house, it puts extra burdens on IT staff.

DreamFactory eliminates both of these cumbersome options. The platform allows you to automatically generate a REST API for virtually any database in a matter of minutes. In fact, all you have to do is point, click, fill out a few fields, and you’re done! This feature saves time while allowing developers to quickly customize APIs for nuanced IT and app development scenarios. 

Here’s how one user describes DreamFactory’s API generation feature:

“DreamFactory REST API in seconds? Yeah, that’s true!! Live documentation of REST API’s is a pain for developers. DreamFactory solved this using Swagger-UI. This is the most interesting and lovable thing done by DreamFactory.” –Nagarjuna Y.

(3) Integrate Legacy Systems

According to Arm Treasure Data, “47 percent of marketers stated that their information is siloed and difficult to access.” In fact, most legacy organizations have a wealth of data that’s locked up in old database systems. These organizations can’t access or interact with their siloed data because it’s not connected to their current apps and IT infrastructures. Nevertheless, all of this data could be valuable for business intelligence purposes if made available.

An API integration platform solves the problem of siloed legacy data. With a platform like DreamFactory, you can auto-generate an API for the legacy database. Then, you can access and integrate the data into newer systems and BI tools. 

An API integration platform is also valuable for integrating older systems into a newer app presentation, and for integrating on-premises apps into modern cloud-based infrastructures. After using DreamFactory to create an API for the older system, you can use DreamFactory to connect the older system and its data into a newer framework. In this way, an API integration solution plays a pivotal role in legacy system modernization

With the DreamFactory platform and the DreamFactory team on your side, DreamFactory can carry out the following legacy system modernization strategies on your behalf: encapsulation, rehosting, replatform migrations with auto-scaling, code refactoring, rearchitecting, and app rebuilding/redesigning. 

(4) Lightning Speed API-First Application Development

During the last decade, the efficiency of API-first application development — and API integration tools — paved the way for the unbelievable success of corporations like Airbnb, Netflix, Amazon, Uber, and more. Through API-first development, a small team of developers can achieve what used to require an army of developers to achieve — and they can do it in record time. With an API integration platform, developers can rapidly code the most essential aspects of a new application project. Then, they can finalize the app by instantly connecting pre-built features, tools, and services. 

Thus, the API-first strategy of building applications is faster and more efficient. Moreover, an API-connected architecture is more efficient to scale and more flexible to change and upgrade. Not only can small teams rapidly build innovative, global applications, but app developers can use APIs to expose their products and services to the widest audience. 

(5) Manage and Secure all API Connections Through a Single Gateway

An API integration platform reduces the headache of managing and organizing all of your APIs. By putting all of the APIs that your organization uses (or has built) in a single gateway, it’s easier to manage, secure, and implement those APIs in different projects. It’s also easier to know what kind of tools and services are available for your projects by browsing the API integration platform’s portfolio of APIs. Thus, API integration platforms reduce the complexity of API maintenance and oversight.

Finally, API integration platforms help you implement a single API security policy. By automating integrations with OAuth and other authorization strategies, you can apply a system-wide security policy that protects all requests that pass through the API platform. 

(6) Achieve Greater Agility to Respond to Changing Technology

In the modern business landscape, new tech advancements appear every other month. From new artificial intelligence strategies for business intelligence and automation to new 5G IoT technologies, the world of enterprise technology is constantly in-flux. When businesses have the agility to rapidly integrate these technologies into their existing products and systems, they are more competitive. 

Systems built with an API integration platform offer this kind of agility. For one, the API connectors found in an API integration platform are plug-and-play by nature, making integrations quick and easy. Moreover, the ability of an API integration platform to put so many apps, technologies, and services at your fingertips empowers businesses to rapidly respond to changing tech demands.

(7) Boost Productivity with Microapps

An API integration platform can support the deployment of an advanced microapp strategy that boosts productivity across your organization. How do microapps boost productivity? Microapps are tiny processes that allow you to complete a task within a larger, more complex enterprise app without actually entering the enterprise app itself.

Here’s why that’s valuable: Most employees interact with half a dozen enterprise apps each day, but they only use about 15% of the core features of these apps. To make matters worse, enterprise apps are overly complex and inefficient to use. Employees have to log into them and hunt through dropdown menus to find the information or function they need. A task that should take 30 seconds could take over five minutes to achieve. For these reasons, employees and decision-makers often delay simple but very important tasks for hours or days. 

Microapps usually present themselves as interactive pop-up notifications that appear in employee workspace notification feeds. The notification might provide some brief information about a task and several buttons to respond, such as: “Approve” or “Reject.” By clicking a response, the task is done in a matter of seconds. In this respect, microapps bring tasks and information directly to you. This bypasses the need to context-switch and hunt through other app environments. Best of all, it can dramatically streamline workflows across your organization. 

With DreamFactory’s ability to integrate with Citrix Workspace, you can use the Citrix Workspace microapp builder. This is a point-and-click interface for developing custom microapps for different enterprise systems without writing any code. 

Did you know you can generate a full-featured, documented, and secure REST API in minutes using DreamFactory? Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how! Our guided tour will show you how to create an API using an example MySQL database provided to you as part of the trial!

Start Your API Integration Now

DreamFactory: A Powerful Enterprise API Integration Platform 

After reading this guide, you may have noticed that API integration platforms are like Swiss army knives for developers. They include a range of plug-and-play APIs and other tools that allow you to quickly integrate new services and features into your app and IT infrastructure projects. They also manage the actual API integrations — including the call and request interactions — between the systems you’re connecting. 

With specific regard to the DreamFactory API integration platform, here are some of its most compelling, Swiss army-like features:  

By bringing powerful API Integrations down to earth, DreamFactory makes app development and IT systems integration tasks dramatically faster and more affordable to achieve. If you’d like to experience how quickly and easily you can establish API integrations with DreamFactory, contact our team and start your free hosted trial of DreamFactory now!

Related reading:

Top 5 API Integration Platforms for 2021