Whether businesses like it or not, APIs have come to stay. They have become an integral part of the survival of businesses today. No enterprise can stand as an island. The constant need for connection between businesses is where APIs come in. Due to this reason, the success of the ‘digital economy’ largely rests on the use of API strategies.
APIs help facilitates the smooth running of activities between different businesses online. For example, a Freelance platform can’t survive in the business world if it is not sharing part of its data. Payment platforms like Escrow and other online payment services are connected to freelancing sites via APIs. This connection involves the sharing of data. Imagine freelance sites refusing to share data. It will only cause unnecessary stress while costing them the trust of users at the same time. This example is one of the various ways to use APIs.
Employing API strategies in business has always proven to be effective, though there are ways to choose the best API strategies and come up with the best results. This article will explore the following:
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So, What Are API Strategies?
One thing that is characteristic of an improvement in the digital capabilities of a business is the ease with which they share data. Most companies have long had a problem of building an all-in solution that allows them to share data and collaborate smoothly, internally and externally. However, APIs have come to solve that problem. Over the past decade, the use of APIs has become one of the pillars of digital transformation. Imagine if you wanted to book a plane ticket and you had to go to the airport to ask for prices rather than just log-on to your favorite travel app? You think you’ll ever use that airline again? Me neither. APIs have transformed the way we use data, making it easier to eliminate intra- and inter-organizational data silos.
Developing API strategies is a building block necessary to help with improving everything about your digital presence. The improvement of your digital experience includes the creation of new products, ramping up the user interface, and the improvement of customer experiences. A good API also facilitates smooth connection with partners whilst allowing the seamless sharing of data externally.
In a situation where developers are encouraged to innovate and experiment, APIs are helpful. They help developers within and outside your organization to come up with innovations. As a business owner looking to fully digitalize your brand presence, building API strategies to help facilitate internal and external collaboration is a must. API strategies are an important component that helps to transform your business in the digital space. These strategies are important for the proper integration of your business into the digital marketplace.
How To Select the Best API Strategy
All APIs are built equal but some are more equal than others. When it comes to implementing an API strategy into your plans, it is not enough to just pick one and go. You have to develop a strategy that will take into consideration your business goals, your strengths and your weaknesses. There are a vast number of APIs for a vast number of purposes and you cannot make use of them all. So you have to choose an API strategy that gives you just the right amount of boost without turning into a technical headache for you. Here are a few tips to consider:
Identify a goal
By considering the business objectives, you can work your way through identifying a goal. It all gets easy from there. Business goals differ based on the services delivered. Once the goal has been defined, an API program can be built.
Afterwards, your business can go on to decide the nature of data to be shared and with whom it will be shared to achieve the set business goal. Once your business goals are clearly set, it is only smart to connect with the needed partners to make your business model bring results.
For ease, start with small goals that are easily attainable. As growth occurs, you can set other goals and adjust the preferences of your data based on the goals.
Know your digital environment
The structure of your company’s data stands as a major influencer of how you deploy APIs and also how data is shared with the developer community outside your business. Your IT team is needed to work with the business team in the area of deployment and maintenance of APIs within your organization’s data structure.
When implementing APIs, a lot of factors are meant to be considered. For example, the location of the data you are willing to share with partner networks is to be considered. Data can reside anywhere. It may be a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software or a cloud data warehouse. Where data is hosted is also important. Another factor to be considered is the type of security or policies that will be put in place when giving outsiders or stakeholders access to data from your applications. All these are important questions to be asked when dealing with choosing an API strategy.
The marriage of your IT and business teams will aid the smooth navigation of users through the company’s data structure. It also helps you reach your business goals through APIs.
Start With small API projects
As a business looking to roll out APIs, you can experiment with small APIs before deciding to publish a bigger one for everyone to use. In fact, the bigger API project you publish in the end is an accumulation of the success of the small-scale APIs that has been experimented with in the past.
Low-stakes API projects can be tested and worked on by internal developers; a form of beta testing before granting access to others outside the company. Importantly, API documentation should be made so that external developers will be able to make the most out of it when it is published to the public.
After the beta testing where the necessary things have been tested which includes security tests and the alignment with the objectives for which it was designed in the first place, it can then be rolled out to other partners in the marketplace and the wider developer network. Even though it is now a public API, it has passed the necessary tests.
However, before it is made for external consumption, you can make the release a gradual one. Within the business, you can start by introducing the API to departments, one at a time, to fully measure its success and its value to the business as a whole.
Track your success
A successful API means different things to different businesses. For some, it is the number of developers or API calls. A successful API should affect not just developers, but your business too. The success of an API should include the amount of revenue generated; both direct and indirect, ROIs, and other important revenue metrics.
Success can also be tracked by your API’s uptime and error. It is equally important. Developer metrics such as community engagement and documentation engagement are valid pointers as to how successful an API strategy has been.
Why Should You Build an API-Centric Business Plan?
Good API strategies are highly beneficial to your business. The development of these strategies involves paying attention to your business’s objectives. It is important to invest in a good API strategy for businesses because it affects most of your business operations. It affects the technology choices within the marketplace. It also influences decisions that make the actualization of your business goals possible. If you have little idea about how to go about the entire process, you can start by studying the success of other businesses and use that information to influence your future actions.
- Seamless data integration: Imagine if you had a tool that could help you source for and collect data, then integrate it directly into the next software where the data is needed? That is like having a dog that takes your kids to school in the morning and guards your compound at night, quite handy! With a web scraping API like Scraping Robot offers, this is something you can do with ease. APIs make it easy to build a centralized data management system that is accessible to everyone for every point. Instead of each department developing its own database, using APIs allow you to give access to a central database where everyone can see and work with the same datasets.
- Less work, more money: This goes without saying. Using APIs means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you are building a new product or service. You don’t even have to source your own data. You can focus solely on creating a good product and use APIs to collaborate with other organizations for data streams and connectedness.
- Helps with digital transformation: If you are investing in an API strategy, then you have every right to call yourself a digitally active business. APIs help you streamline manual activities like data collation and entry. If you no longer have to manually collate and enter data into your systems, then you have crossed a major hurdle in your race towards becoming digitally enabled.
- More efficient collaborations: Take, for example, you have an eCommerce business. A website on SquareSpace, goods from Amazon, and a payment processor based in Europe. And you’ve not even left your room. Or perhaps you are implementing a new payroll system that implements elements of a CRM with a payment processor. Essentially, you are using software from other businesses to make your business run smoother. Now, imagine if your eCommerce store could automatically pull prices and details of goods from Amazon, without having to manually update it? Or if you could just link your employee database directly to your new payroll management system, upload the list of employees directly? That will make everything more efficient, wouldn’t it? With the right API strategies, you can do all these and even more.
Building API-First Strategies With Scraping Robot
At Scraping Robot, we have developed an API that offers you immense possibilities. Coupled with our web scraping service and prebuilt modules, you can scrape data from any website on the internet and then send it directly into any piece of software you want with minimal manual input from you.
You can scrape search engine data, company profiles, business information, social media data, product data and so much more with our scraping API. Essentially you could obtain real-time data updates from any platform you want and connect these updates to your software using our API. With proxies for our partner company, Blazing SEO, we offer you a very fast and efficient service that helps you get from point A to point B in your data journey in the shortest possible time.
To get started, check out our API page here. The pre-built modules are designed to collect vital points of data from diverse sources, and if there’s any kind of data collection that you need specifically designed for your next project, contact us to make it happen.
Developing API strategies for your business has gone beyond being an option. It is necessary for the survival of your business. Connectedness is the name of the digital game now and APIs are the cheat code. Get started with our scraping API today and build a better digital future for your business.