What Are API Integrations? 5 Ways They Help Businesses Thrive
What’s an API integration?
Businesses face complex technological demands, many of which they can satisfy with API integration. These integrations enable companies to leapfrog the competition by automating tasks, integrating with current industry applications, and enhancing product innovation.
Application programming interface (API) refers to very specialized pieces of computer code. This code enables two different applications, programs, or databases to talk to each other and share operations.
API integrations become essential when you consider the explosion of cloud-based apps and tools that businesses rely on today. The average employee actively uses 36 cloud services on the job to enhance his or her efficiency. But there’s a point when simply managing these applications and toggling between them becomes a job by itself. APIs allow these workers to enjoy the benefits of multiple cloud-based apps while streamlining their management. That’s why there are more than 16,500 APIs in existence right now, with more on the way.
Chances are you’ve already seen APIs at work, or even used one yourself. Here are a few examples:
- Software platforms. Providers like Salesforce, NetSuite, Workfront, and others offer APIs that integrate their platforms with other essential applications.
- Social media share icons. If you’ve ever clicked a social media share icon, then you’re seeing an API in action. You can effortlessly move from one application to the next without having to manually switch programs.
- Map apps. Mapping applications often share data with other apps like Yelp and Uber to provide complementary location-based services.
Advantages offered by API integrations.
That’s why—as an enterprise, startup, or in between—you don’t want to miss out on the benefits of a strategic integration, such as:
#1. Automating tasks
Manual efforts, like clicking between different application, never seem to take up much time, but they add up. Integrations automate these manual tasks to create a smooth, effortless transition between linked applications. Take Jive’s integrations for example. Jive integrates its cloud-based business phone system with various customer relationship management (CRM) applications like Salesforce, Curve Dental, Zoho, and Redtail. When a customer calls a business using this integration, the employee receiving the call sees a pop-up on his or her screen displaying that customer’s information. This saves the recipient from several task delays, such as finding out who the caller is, looking them up in the database, and pulling up their information. With the integration, you can answer with the caller’s name and information already in hand, saving you and your customer time.
#2. Remaining relevant
With every industry evolving at breakneck speed, it’s important to remain at the top of your customer’s minds. That means integrating with the apps they’ve come to know and trust. APIs can provide you with essential cross functionality with current and up-and-coming apps that are vital to your customers. The association with popular and trusted apps can also add valuable credibility to your brand.
#3. Creating new products
API integrations have the potential to yield entirely new products that can become a core offering. In the digital marketplace, creating new functionality between apps can create services that never existing before. As mentioned earlier, the strategic integrations that combined map apps with service-request interfaces helped produce the driver-on-demand services like Uber and Lyft. Similar combinations can lead to new product spaces which no one has explored. For example, Jive is exploring the space shared by industry-specific CRMs like Redtail and Curve Dental, and business phone systems.
Streamline processes by using integrated business tools.
With API integrations, you can leverage applications’ data and functionality into innovative new products and access to wider audiences. Many smaller businesses build products with open APIs to encourage quick adoption and growth. Enterprises see productivity gains when their employees spend less time switching between applications and more time with customers. Consequently, API integrations enable you company to piece your vital applications together into a platform customized to your critical needs.
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