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API Integration – What Is API Integration?

What Is API Integration?

Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow us to run operations smoothly; however, APIs need to be optimized to work together on a broader scale.  API integration becomes an essential asset as it allows organizations to automate their operations.

What Is API Integration?

API integration allows individual APIs to communicate with each other.  It is the process where singular APIs share data and can communicate without needing any manual input from humans.  This is a necessary communication process between APIs that connect web tools and applications. 

For example, order management systems need an integrated approach to process and execute the incoming orders in the delivery space.  The system needs to access various data types, including customer information, product information, and inventory information.  All this data needs to be simultaneously communicated within the system.  This can be made possible through API integration. 

Another example of API integration is online stores where payment gateways are required.  So whenever someone orders something online, many APIs are constantly at work and relaying information to each other. 

From selecting items to when someone makes the payment using their card, APIs need to send sensitive information to other applications to process the transaction.  Further, this information needs to be verified before the transaction can be successful.  So, the payment gateway inherently requires the integration of various applications to run correctly.

What Are API Integrations?

The API integration can be carried out using several techniques.  But the choice of approach depends on each business and the type and scope of integration that the business aims for. 

Custom Integrations require hand-written scripts created by a software developer specializing in the specific APIs you are trying to integrate.  These scripts allow developers to target very specific APIs, which is valuable, but this process can be tedious and is losing popularity due to the emergence of other more simplified methods. 

Connector applications are stand-alone applications that serve to integrate two software platforms.  These applications are readily available on the market and target a range of APIs. 

API integration management platforms are mostly SaaS applications designed to develop API integrations.  These applications help join together other SaaS applications and systems.

Why Do We Need API Integration?

The ease provided by API integration when it comes to cutting out the need for human interruption is precious.  When applications can communicate and share data, the resulting connections allow organizations to ensure automation, make data sharing more seamless, and integrate all the necessary applications in a streamlined manner. 

API integration allows a drastic reduction in error because of the reduced human input. In addition, automated systems have built-in backup mechanisms to constantly check for errors using integrated APIs. 

Scalability is also a major benefit of API integration.  Integration of various APIs allows businesses to take advantage of already made platforms.  In addition, this system connectivity will enable businesses to benefit and increase exposure mutually. 

Monitoring data becomes easier with API integration as the streamlined system makes it possible to apply filters and improve search queries.  Making reports also becomes more efficient for businesses valuations.

How to Use API Integration?

Using API integration follows three simple steps:

1. Identifying Points for Integration

The process of API integration starts from a thorough evaluation of the goals and processes of the business.  This evaluation involves going through all the individual and connected operations within the business and identifying points that are lacking or have some issues when it comes to efficiency or even general productivity. 

Once these points have been identified, a plan needs to be established about the possible integration of software.  For example, how many types of software need to be integrated, and what problems would they solve?  It is important to rely on software analysts and system administrators to know the systems inside out during the planning process. 

2. Development of an Integrated System

Once the goals have been identified and a plan confirmed, the development process can begin.  First, the developers tasked with the operation build another custom application that interacts with dedicated software platform APIs to establish the newly identified functionalities. 

3. Testing and Launch 

After developing the integrated mechanism, a test needs to be performed that checks whether the intended integration has been successful and if the systems work as they were designed to.  Any bug fixes need to be performed at this stage—before the official rollout of the integration.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution and automation taking over our industries, it is impossible to ignore the importance of API integration in the digital world. 

API integration is necessary to keep up with the rapid growth of cloud-based applications and services.  The process allows organizations to create a connected network for smooth and uninterrupted data sharing.  This cuts back on manual labor and resources in the long run. 

Organizations also benefit greatly from the flexibility provided by this ecosystem, as it allows them to improve their productivity levels and delivery systems.  In addition, embedding content from different sites is also made accessible through this integration process, which only serves to expand businesses in the modern world of cloud computing.

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