To non-technical people, the term API can be intimidating. It pops up everywhere without a proper explanation of what it is, and why is it important. Despite seeming too complicated, APIs are easier to understand that what they seem to be.
In this article, you’ll understand what an API is, and why it’s an important thing to consider in business process automation.
What is an API?
The term API stands for Application Programming Interface. We can provide an in-depth explanation of how APIs work. However, if you’re not a developer, you don’t really need to get that deep into details.
In layman terms, APIs are pieces of software that allow different applications to communicate with each other. You can think of them as middlemen, who facilitate communications between different people to get things done.
Asides from communicating with other apps, APIs allow applications to access the features and data of different systems that people use to run their businesses. So, if you want to have properly-integrated digital solutions, working with APIs is a must.
Now that you know what an API is, it’s time to get to explain the relationship between APIs and business process automation. Knowing the relation between BPA and APIs will help you understand the value the working with APIs brings to automated business processes.
The Role of APIs in Business Process Automation
BPA is one of the best things that modern technology can do for a business. By automating different processes, businesses can become better, faster, and more efficient. The result is satisfied customers, better-performing staff and a higher profit margin.
No matter how good it is, there is no single system that has all the functionality required to perform all the desired business operations. The reason for that is quite simple, which is the fact that no two businesses are exactly the same.
Unless a system was designed specifically for your business, it’ll never have all the functionality you need. And that’s where APIs come into play. By facilitating the communication between different systems and custom-made extensions, APIs allow systems to do much more than they were designed for.
Traditional Versus API-Based Solutions
So, do all business automation processes involve an API? The answer is no. The traditional business automation process doesn’t involve API integration. And that’s why it’s not nearly as efficient as API-based solutions.
When you’re working with an API, all the parts of your business automation solution work together perfectly. Things like accessing data between different systems are so seamless that it seems like you’re working with a single system. Everything will just work the way you want.
On the other hand, when you’re not using an API, things start to get more complicated. Accessing specific data sets on different systems can become an issue. As a result, your different systems don’t end up “playing nicely” with each other, and nothing functions as it’s supposed to.
The bigger your system and the more complex it is, the more important is the role of API integrations. Without them, you won’t get the full potential of contemporary technology. Even if your system isn’t as complicated when you’re starting out, using this concept from the beginning will make upgrades easier whenever you need them.
How Exactly do APIs Make Business Process Automation Better?
APIs make BPA better in so many ways. Asides from adding different custom functionality that your business might need, API integration can help your business in the following ways:
- Better systems integration
- Improved systems stability
- Unified user experience across different systems
- Centralized management for all systems
- More stability
Process automation has become a must for any business that wants to remain competitive. If you don’t start implementing process automation now, your business will fall behind its competitors. As systems continue to become more sophisticated, API integration becomes more critical than ever for successful process automation.
Without APIs, your different systems will work in isolation, and will never function as a unified solution. Since the purpose of automation is to make your business better integrated and more efficient, APIs are a must to achieve this purpose.
In the next article, we’ll explain how AI is revolutionizing business process automation. Stay tuned!