What are API Integrations and Why are They Beneficial?

Businesses need connected data – we all know this. We also know that integrated solutions give those businesses the power to pull from larger, more diverse data sets as they build automation strategies, analyze metrics, and look for ways to build cost efficiencies. 

To connect modern cloud architectures with stability, security, and agility, API integration is the ideal technique. In this post, we’ll define API integration, discuss its benefits, and explain how API integration helps businesses build better automated processes. 

What is API Integration?

First of all, let’s define what an API is. API stands for Application Programming Interface. The purpose of an API is to facilitate connectivity and communication between two or more software applications. APIs act as intermediaries between apps so data can be retrieved and shared. 

This type of integration creates seamless connectivity by allowing two or more solutions to exchange data via their APIs. For example, an eCommerce site may use API integration to connect its online store to its shopping cart. The APIs access the servers and databases with information on inventory, customer data, and products to update the order management system that processes the shopping and shipping of those orders. 

APIs can also be used to integrate business solutions like marketing automation and CRM so marketing teams can build segmented lists and reports from shared data. No matter what the use case for the integration, APIs relay information between systems automatically, making it possible to automate seamlessly and share data without manual intervention. 

There are several ways to achieve an API integration. The route you choose depends on what you’re trying to achieve. 

1. Custom integrations are written by software developers with deep knowledge of API documentation. These types of API integrations are the most expensive and time consuming. 

2. Connector applications deploy API integration between two standard or popular solutions like Salesforce and HubSpot, for example, using connectors. The connectors are tailored to the APIs of these specific solutions for fast connections.

3. API integration platforms are SaaS (software as a service) applications meant for joining other SaaS applications and systems together. You can build custom integration apps and make requests to various public and private APIs and databases at the same time using the platform’s tools, which gives them the most flexibility of the three options. 

StarfishETL is an iPaaS (integration platform as a service) that offers custom integration options, connector applications, and serves as an API integration platform for stacking multiple APIs from different sources, making it an “all-in-one” solution for business automation and integration.

What are the Benefits of API Integrations?

Integration challenges can slow down digital transformation initiatives and tie up IT teams trying to digitize services for customers. As IT environments become more complex and digital demands expand, the importance of reliable integration technology becomes even more crucial.  

API integrations reduce the need for custom scripting and manual processes that take up IT resources. They help build more efficient data connections that businesses can rely on. Some of the benefits of API integration include:

  • Broader scalability that grows as businesses expand their applications and connections
  • Automatic hand-off of information between applications that reduces errors and manual work
  • End-to-end visibility of systems and their processes for more robust analytics 
  • The ability to transfer complex and large volumes of data 
  • Improved system stability and unified CX across applications

How do API Integrations Support Automated Processes?

Outdated automation strategies that rely on application-specific tools (like native job schedulers), custom scripts, or in-house applications overcomplicate the IT environment and can be a hinderance on automation processes. With the help of API integration, businesses can automate processes more efficiently, with better-performing connections and greater functionality.

APIs can be used in conjunction with custom scripts, direct connections, and universal connectors to build reusable cross-platform workflows that are easy to adapt and adjust when necessary. After they’re built, they can be reclaimed for other automation efforts to cut down on development time and IT costs. 

API integration can even enable connections to outdated legacy systems to extend their usability and helps businesses save money by not having to invest in an immediate replacement. With the friction-less process automation provided by API integration, businesses can automate to improve transparency, integrate new systems more easily, secure data across platforms, and stabilize the overall software ecosystem as they implement their automation strategies for the long-term. 

An iPaaS solution is the ultimate in API integration tools. For more information on how StarfishETL’s iPaaS can help you integrate and automate, reach out to our team at sales@starfishetl.com.

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