APIs or application programming interfaces are the lifeblood of most successful digital companies. APIs power the seamless mobile experiences of smartphone users, connect companies on the web, and enable modern business models, occupying the driver seat in the digital transformation of the business world.
Photo from Forbes
Many established enterprises correctly view APIs as their ticket to the race, but it’s not just the digital giants that can reap the benefits of this technology. Implementing APIs can be especially useful for small and midsize businesses that are struggling to reach digital audiences in highly saturated and tightly controlled networks and markets.
Small businesses with limited knowledge of APIs are likely to fall short of meeting the digital’s world fast-growing needs and, as a result, risk not realizing their full potential. To understand how they can achieve the opposite effect, let’s look at why every small business needs to learn about APIs.
They Are the Currency of the Data-Driven World
APIs are tools that allow two or more applications to communicate with each other. You can picture an API as a cable connecting your computer to the printer. Without the ability to pull the words (or data) from the computer, the printer cannot display them on a piece of paper.
Let’s imagine a small business that wants to refine its services based on its customer demographic. Or better yet – a small company that wants to tap into new markets.
By entering IP address data into an IP API, it can easily extract geolocation data to learn where its visitors – or customers – are situated. In that very same way, different APIs can store and pull data that is crucial for decision-making processes across your company.
They Can Integrate Your Internal Systems
The era of paperback recordkeeping and manual input is coming to an end, but so should the countless hours of work that you can save with just a few pieces of technology. APIs can integrate your platforms, so you don’t have to enter, check, or request information – they will automatically sync it with your other systems.
To illustrate how this works, let’s consider an API that connects your social media platforms with your internal communication programs. If the API receives notice of action – a message to your Twitter account or a request on your website – it will automatically send your social media team a notification on Slack, for example.
The same method can apply to payments in accounting, the pipeline of your sales team, or spreadsheets for the supply chain. Virtually any department that struggles with delays or gaps in information can benefit from an API that integrates the web applications they use.
They Can Produce Automated Reports
More often than not, creating those weekly, monthly, or quarterly reports does not fall in the exciting task territory. Assembling the data, creating infographics, and building a PowerPoint presentation to share with management can take some time and energy – which can luckily now fall into the hands of APIs.
Reporting APIs allow you to extract information and create reports in moments. Although this may not seem so significant at first glance, it can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
The value for small businesses – and why they need to understand APIs – is that this automation not only clears up time for other tasks but it creates constant visibility. That is especially important when you have a smaller team – or need to speed up the growth process.
Businesses Can Adapt Faster
The need for implementing technology in organizations is only reflective of the fact that technological advancement is actively changing the world of consumers and businesses. To keep running the course, you need to identify opportunities and adapt just as quickly, and APIs can be just the tool you need.
With the ability to connect and use programs that you either own or have access to – APIs can go beyond addressing a specific issue. They can serve as building blocks that allow you to respond more efficiently to any need – with a faster time to market and at a decreased cost.
Photo from CEO Review
To undergo digital transformation in the technology-driven world of today, small businesses should know what APIs are and how to use them.
APIs are considered the currency of the data-driven world. They not only let you store and access a wealth of data, but they can also integrate your internal systems, produce automated reports, and help businesses adapt faster to the ever-changing climate of the digital era.
If small businesses want to increase their chances of penetrating highly saturated markets and growing in the age of evolving customer demands, they should start by investing in APIs that can power that transformation.