API; “a set of rules describing how one application can interact with another, and the mechanisms that allow such interaction to happen.” APIs are an ideal solution to a recurring concern in the technology sector, systems integration.
Business technologies are evolving rapidly. Over the years, organizations have accumulated multiple systems to support different aspects of their businesses. Now, these organizations face a series of challenges that revolve around an inability to integrate with these systems, which may use a wide variety of technologies and file formats.
The results of poorly linked systems and tools are measured in additional labour, fragmented data, and missed opportunities. However, there are solutions; APIs allow different systems to interact with each other, facilitating data flow and simplifying business processes. Here are the most important integration methods for modern systems:
Key Integration Methods
- Utilizes XML as a messaging format
- Functions effectively in distributed enterprise networks
- Easy internationalization and extensibility with XML namespaces
- Utilizes any programming model due to its independence
- Operational over various protocols (Ex: HTTP, JMS, SMTP, etc…)
- Increased security and protection of database integrity
- Utilizes smaller message formats; for example, JSON which results in high level browser capability
- Use of HTTP protocols for greater simplicity
- Does not require extensive processing
- High level of performance and scalability; Can be cached
- Uniform interface; ensuring applications interacting with the API do so in one a single way
- Advanced protocol for querying or updating data utilizing existing web protocols
- REST-based protocol for querying and data updates
- Built on standardized formats, for example: HTTP, JSON and XML
- Share data utilizing uniform file types to ensure seamless integration with downstream systems
- Query language is available in the URL
When companies attempt to adapt to integrations challenges, the primary struggle is discovering the optimal solution to maximize the variety of potential integration points. Users need an end-to end enterprise data management system that is able to oversee all of your data processes and ensure that they are under control. Furthermore, using methods such as APIs, direct database queries, JMS messaging or web adaptors all through one platform can be extremely beneficial. It would be ideal if the software that accommodates any data-centric system ranging from various downstream systems for front-office, mid-office and back-office. This includes BI, ETRM systems, ERP systems and much more. There is a plethora of benefits that can be obtained through the use of such a solution, such as energy consumption savings, quicker response time, a single work station and much more. The rewards to be reaped through such a solution are truly limitless.