Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have played a silent, but critical role in the success of cloud computing. Vendors have been using APIs for years as a cornerstone in building today's complex IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS applications. As a result, APIs continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes connecting systems around the world, making our lives that much easier. While starting from the need for applications to be more flexible, most software vendors now release their APIs publicly. As a side benefit, this becomes a great sales strategy and a key product feature. Also, end-users benefit because it makes their software tools more productive. Another characteristic of APIs is that they always change to adapt to new business needs.
The value of APIs
APIs let applications talk to each other. Think of them as a set of rules allowing different vendors to share specific elements of their programs with others. These connections could be records in a database, or certain processes or routines. By using APIs, software developers can build secure "bridges" between systems that provide benefits for all vendors involved and their users. Whatever your need to streamline, there’s likely an API for the job. From managing resources to invoicing to integration, using APIs can help automate many aspects of a business. In fact, some companies, such as Zapier, specialize in building and selling APIs to connect different platforms together.
How using APIs helps your business
Most people use APIs regularly and don’t even know it. “HTTP” itself is a type of API that tells your browser how to handle a web page. If you have integrated services like maps on your page, you are using APIs. Connecting social media feeds to different systems is another great example. Of the many benefits APIs deliver, here are some of the most important:
Time and Agility
Using APIs saves valuable time allowing you to focus on other things. In fact, through automation, you avoid repetition and hours of manual work. Also, they help companies increase agility through clearly defined processes. A good example involves CRMs and marketing automation tools. Most of these platforms have built APIs for many related systems. If salesforce.com is your CRM, you can connect it to virtually every major email marketing system and pass account, contact and other information back and forth. This capability saves a tremendous amount of time and re-keying.
Control and Quality
Automation helps ensure quality, consistency, and scalability. With well-designed API integration, human error can be greatly reduced if not eliminated because tasks are repeated in the same manner every time. Unless there is a bug in the API code, it will remain that way. Therefore, by using APIs, you effectively have more control over quality and consistency.
Standardized APIs and interfaces provide connection and portability because they offer a link to other applications on the internet. The power of different vendors exchanging data was a dream in the early days of software. However, APIs have long since broken down those barriers. APIs are a key driver in the adoption of cloud. They have been called “the driving force behind most of the digital disruption in the consumer space. Surveys of IT professionals state that they will continue to be a long-term factor in competitive differentiation, mobility, and application interoperability. If customer experience, global expansion, omnichannel engagement, and regulatory compliance are issues faced by your business, then your company needs APIs.
How we leverage APIs in our business
In the IaaS and managed services space, you can’t build a business without APIs. When doing so, security and scalability must always be top of mind. Another key goal for us has been ease-of-use. If you ignore that, people will simply go elsewhere to find an easier way to do things. Cartika’s API solutions offer many ready-to-use tools for a variety of business and server management needs. Here are just a few examples:
- User authentication and permission setting
- A client area for our customers to manage their users, and for partners to manage their customers
- Invoicing and billing automation and notifications
- Managing and modifying domains
- Deploying, scaling and managing a full range of our IaaS services
Our APIs include snippets, so if you’re new to using APIs, it’s easy to copy and paste. We also include a helpful parameters guide, and we ensure all listed APIs are tested and effective.
The Bottom Line
We are all using APIs every day at work, on social media, during online banking and in many other applications. APIs are one of the unsung heroes of technology because we don’t see them and few non-technical people even know they exist. However, if you work with things like cloud services or any SaaS application, learning about the APIs available in the systems you use can have a big impact on improving your personal productivity and helping your business.