If your internal systems are having trouble communicating with each other or external systems, you need application programming interfaces, or APIs, to help bring them together. An API keeps the lines of communication open between cloud-based software applications and on-premise systems or other online applications so that data can be stored and shared in real-time. APIs not only integrate your systems, they create a simpler and faster way to do business. In short, APIs are the best friends your e-business will ever have.
As more B2B organizations utilize cloud-based and mobile applications, they’re finding that APIs are essential to keeping their systems connected. A company may have dozens or even hundreds of APIs within their organization, which is why an API management toolset is needed to automate and control the connections between the APIs and the applications that use them. Research firm Forrester says organizations see the value API management tools deliver, especially when it comes to the customer experience. As a result, Forrester predicts that by 2020 U.S. businesses will spend a whopping $660 million on API management solutions to help deliver increased customer value.
APIs not only keep your business connected, they also:
- Integrate enterprise and legacy systems with a cloud-based platform
- Sync your applications to create more interoperability, thus decreasing the chance of errors while increasing your company’s efficiency
- Allow users to tweet or post to social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn without leaving the site they’re on
- Simplify much of the complexity of software development so new software can be built in weeks instead of months or years
Unilog’s cloud-based eCommerce platform, CIMM2, features a built-in API toolset that allows integration with ERPs and other back-end systems, including third-party applications. Using a large stack of web services, the CIMM2 API toolset enables any number of applications to query it and use the responses. Here are just a few of the applications with which CIMM2 has APIs enabled:
- PIM APIs for Amazon Business, Affiliated Distributors, IDEA and Rockwell Automation applications
- Shopping cart APIs for SAP, Amazon Business, Ariba and Coupa
- ERP APIs for Oracle, Epicor, SAP and DDI System
- Search APIs for Google Analytics and Piwik
- CMS APIs for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Salesforce
CIMM2’s application layer changes as your technology changes, so you can maintain a tight integration with all your business applications – now and in the future. For those businesses that use a custom ERP system without already established APIs for CIMM2, Unilog has developed a Cross Platform (CP) Broker module that wraps web services around queries or reports on that particular ERP. Considered “middleware,” CP Broker provides an interface for communication between a company’s database and its online store.
Today’s e-businesses must stay connected if they want to succeed online, and a solid API toolset provides the crucial connectivity needed between internal systems and third-party applications. Consider APIs as your cloud computing companions that keep your systems talking and business processes flowing.