What is API Integration and How Can it Help Your Business?

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API integration uses application programming interfaces to share data and improve the functionality of apps. API integration tools can also assist digital transformation, which streamlines business processes, creates more opportunities for automation, and brings more flexibility to IT ecosystems. Whether you manage an ecommerce site that needs API connections for your CRM (customer relationship management) platform or you run social media marketing campaigns based on data-driven insights, API integration can help you succeed.

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What Is API Integration Used to Accomplish?

APIs can play an integral role in your integration strategy. The approach that you take depends on your intended goals. This section covers some common ways organizations use API integration to their benefit.

Improve Integrations Between Software Applications

Today’s organizations tend to use a lot of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications. On average, organizations worldwide say they used about 110 apps in 2021. That’s up from 80 apps in 2020 and just 16 apps in 2017.

Unfortunately, you can’t expect all of your SaaS applications and custom applications to work in unison. Software developers use a broad range of languages and strategies to create useful apps. As your employees start to use more applications, you create more opportunities for communications to break down between those apps, especially without proper API integration.

API integration can improve communications between all of your apps. Perhaps you use Salesforce as your CRM, but your business intelligence (BI) tool doesn’t have a built-in integration for Salesforce. In this case, you could use APIs to create connectors between your software, making it easier and less time-consuming to move data between them.

Connect Your Data Sources

You might collect data from numerous sources, including your Amazon store, social media profiles, IoT devices, and emails. Many of these datasets will have different formats. That makes it harder to see meaningful insights.

APIs can act as connections that make data transfers much easier. Have your data flow from their original sources, through APIs, and into a common repository. From this perspective, what is API integration other than an easy, affordable way to combine databases?

Reach More Users With Public APIs

Businesses and consumers have access to several operating systems. Worldwide, about 40% of devices run Android, 31.5% use Windows, and a little over 17% use iOS. Of course, software developers and other tech professionals often choose to use operating systems that offer more control, such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint. The growing diversity of operating systems (and internet browsers) can make it difficult for businesses to connect with potential customers. If your web services were created for Chrome, they might not work well on Firefox.

Public web APIs give people access to your web services, data, and marketplaces regardless of which operating systems and browsers they prefer. Instead of committing to one system, you can take an agnostic approach that welcomes everyone.

What Is API Integration Management?

APIs only work well as an integration strategy when you manage them properly. When you ask, "what is API integration?", you have to cover API integration management, too. Luckily, several API integration management platforms can make the process straightforward and flexible.

A successful API integration management platform needs to give you control over features like:

  • Private API keys that restrict access to authorized users.
  • Endpoints that let you expose data and services to users.
  • Endpoints that connect diverse datasets.
  • API lifecycle management that changes with evolving needs.
  • API limits that prevent excessive traffic and downtime.
  • Analytics that give organizations insight into how people and software use their APIs.

Benefits of API Integration

If you’re asking, “what is API integration?” you might not fully understand the benefits of connecting your databases, web services, applications, and other digital assets. Many organizations pursue digital transformation via API integration so they can benefit from:

  • Gathering customer data they can use to improve services from Marketo, Salesforce, and similar platforms.
  • Avoiding the higher cost of custom integration.
  • Sharing data with partners so they can retrieve information without asking for it.
  • Incorporating new tools into existing tech ecosystems.
  • Improving collaboration between team members, partners, and consumers.
  • Encouraging partners to use data and services in innovative ways that attract more customers.
  • Adding new features to existing web services and apps without creating errors.
  • Flexibility that can conform to diverse operating systems, coding languages, and networks.
  • Big data collection that fuels ERP (enterprise resource planning) and business intelligence platforms.

Organizations will find unique ways to take advantage of API integration. For example, a healthcare group probably won’t use API integration in precisely the same way as an ecommerce store. Regardless, APIs can help any business that wants to streamline workflows, control access to data, and connect diverse digital tools to improve services.

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How DreamFactory Can Help

DreamFactory gives you an easy way to create, publish, and manage REST APIs without putting your security at risk. You don’t have to build in-house custom integrations manually. Instead, you can rely on DreamFactory to do the hard work for you.

See how much easier it becomes to connect data sources, applications, and other digital assets when you choose DreamFactory as your API integration platform. If you still have questions about what is API integration and how it can benefit you, one of our representatives can help. Experience DreamFactory for free by starting your trial today!

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