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Nov 10 2022 | by Mahammad Nasir

How APIs Have Become Much More Crucial in the Enterprise Tech Ecosystem
What are APIs? 

One way of identifying them is to say that APIs or Application Programming Interfaces are modules of code that are inserted into applications being developed to complete certain functionality. These modules of code are pre-written by other companies and vendors and can be easily embedded in custom software applications. These embedded APIs enable the application being written to communicate with other applications or with elements of code that deliver certain specific functionality. They often use server-side or cloud-based functionality to gather information and deliver the same to client-side endpoints. APIs also add functionality that involves various individual and discrete software programs to facilitate communication. 

APIs can be viewed as building blocks used by enterprises developing customized applications for their business needs and services. These building blocks are offered by cloud-based vendors to enterprise developers to fasten the pace of development and enable the digital transformation of their workflow quickly. This rapid development of functionality and connectivity using APIs decreases development time and testing effort, thus resulting in quality expansion and growth. Functionality does not have to be written from scratch; APIs can just be called from within the development framework, thus completing application functionality quickly. 

API Vendors 

With the advent of digital transformation, enterprises are looking for rapid application techniques for quick deployment solutions. Cloud-based vendors are offering APIs for several functionalities and solutions that can be embedded into custom software with relative ease and within short periods. 

Types of APIs 

Enterprises have varied choices of API that can be used depending on the source, functionality, cloud-based services to be used as well as backend service provider options. Open APIs are public domain API - i.e., free or subscription-based. Partner APIs are those that are restricted to only those enterprises that are in some kind of contract with the API vendors. Lastly, internal APIs are those developed by the enterprise IT team itself. 

Benefits of Using API by Enterprises 
Added Functionality 

APIs allow for functionality to be added to a given enterprise application. With digital transformation and its demands, API vendors and partners are developing full-grown services as functionality. Enterprise applications can now literally add completely new services by just using 3rd party API.  

Besides, it is not only functionality that is being added but entire service offering modules that the enterprise application can be upgraded with vendor-developed API. This drastically cuts down development time for feature upgrades. Testing time is also reduced considerably as APIs developed by reputed and certified vendors are pre-tested. 

Data Consistency 

With API inclusion in enterprise development, SSOT (Single Source of Truth) gets introduced into the enterprise architecture automatically. Databases get normalized across enterprises leading to higher performance and maintainability of applications. Consistency of data is achieved, and this single source of truth can be extended easily for newer applications that are to be built. Multiple structures of the same database are done away with. 

Communication with Legacy Applications 

Legacy applications are still a permanent fixture in most enterprises. Legacy and digital transformation are still to go hand in hand for the foreseeable future. Enterprise APIs are making it easier to connect and communicate with legacy applications, thus making it possible for newer applications to be developed along with the functionality of the legacy application. This bridge-building cuts down costs significantly in the process of legacy inclusion and migration within the enterprise. 

Governance & Compliance 

Governance of functionality and code bases become easier with APIs. API vendors of reputed partners ensure that governance and compliance protocols are adhered to within the development framework. Hence, when APIs are embedded into enterprise code, basic governance standards are already being met within the enterprise application architecture. 

Collaboration 

With enterprise API, business-to-business (B2B) collaboration becomes simpler. 3rd party APIs can connect enterprises of different companies to offer comprehensive solutions to their customers. APIs allow enterprises to share applications and data seamlessly and securely. 

The introduction of APIs into enterprise architecture gives on-premise software teams the feel and experience of using cloud base services and functionality. This experience further enhances the development strategy and focus toward implementing cloud migration of existing on-premise solutions.

Common Enterprise Applications Where APIs are Used 

Most cloud-based vendors offer extensive functionality and software as a service via APIs. All web-based enterprise applications migrating to the cloud will inherently have APIs embedded in the application. 

Financial institutions like banks use external API for account onboarding, analytics, account checking and authentication, credit card processing, billing, payment processing, and loyalty schemes. 

Retailers use API for tracking consignments, human resources, customer services, inventory distribution, invoicing, marketing, and compliance adherence. 

Streaming services use sophisticated API to read data in real-time and distribute content via the web to consumers. 

APIs are used in e-commerce platforms such that portal functionality like catalog content, order management, pricing, and customer data can communicate and connect seamlessly. 

APIs are Now an Integral Part of Enterprise Application Development 

With the technological sophistication of APIs, the interconnectivity, and the services offered, enterprise application development has begun to rely extensively on these building blocks for rapid development.  

Partnering with  application development service experts  with adequate experience with enterprise APIs can be a much-needed value addition to your enterprise's efforts toward complete digital transformation.  Click here  to learn more.   

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