API integration(API = interface) is currently the tool of choice when it comes to efficient, future-proof software. The entire field is subsumed under the umbrella term API management and continues to grow. However, the scene likes to throw around a multitude of terms that make it difficult for laypeople to keep up with or even understand all the possibilities.
API integration is actually only one piece of the puzzle that we will try to solve for you in this blog post. We explain what an API is, what its integration is, how it works and who implements it.
APIs, or interfaces, are provided by programmes and applications. However, these do not simply fall from the sky, but rather such an interface was already provided for and programmed during the development of the applications.
APIs act as a kind of interpreter. This is because numerous applications speak completely different languages and understand each other only poorly. If an API is programmed during development, other applications that do not speak the same language but also have an API can dock onto it. The APIs then mediate, so to speak, between the two applications and allow a (data) exchange. If this is implemented successfully, we speak of API integration. And that is precisely the primary goal of such APIs:
They make it possible to connect different programmes and applications and have them talk to each other.
The main advantage is clearly efficiency. If API integration enables applications to exchange data with each other independently, this task no longer has to be done by humans.
After the successful phone call, you create the new customer with the relevant data in your CRM system, for example Hubspot. Shortly afterwards, the customer sends you the order by email and asks for the invoice to be sent to her. So you open your accounting software, for example Lexoffice, and enter exactly the same data that you entered 10 minutes earlier in the CRM system into the accounting system again.
Of course, once a day is probably still acceptable. But this (unnecessary) effort can turn out to be quite time-consuming in the long run. Fortunately, both Hubspot and Lexoffice have an API. Through successful API integration, both applications are connected and the client's data needed for invoicing is automatically transferred from Hubspot to Lexoffice. This saves you having to manually transfer the data.
This example is still very simplified and only includes two apps with one API each. But on the one hand, there are different forms of such APIs and on the other hand, the connection of applications is rarely limited to just two apps. If a large number of applications are used within a company and all of them are to be integrated with each other (i.e. be able to talk to each other), there is quickly a lot of chaos. At the latest then, professional API management becomes necessary.
Therefore, it is advisable to seek professional help for the API integration, either in-house or externally. Because for a successful and long-term API integration, programming skills are usually necessary. This is exactly where we support our customers. Our focus is clearly on cloud applications. Why?
Cloud applications offer decisive advantages, especially for SMEs and start-ups: they are mostly cheaper, enormously scalable and flexibly adaptable to changing requirements. Optimally, a company uses cloud applications exclusively, so API integration is much easier.
It is possible for us to marry almost all cloud applications with each other and thus make it possible to increase efficiency in the company by saving costs on time-consuming, recurring tasks. Of course, this service also includes informing and advising on appropriate cloud applications. It is by no means necessary that our customers only use cloud applications with suitable APIs from the very beginning.
As a professional service provider for API integration, we have repeatedly been able to connect applications in the past where even we were previously sceptical about whether this would succeed. But fortunately, more and more programmes and applications provide an API that can then be "docked" to.
If you would like to find out whether your processes and apps are suitable for being linked via API integration, please arrange a free, no-obligation consultation appointment today or send us a message with your request. We'll be happy to help you uncover potential, highlight opportunities and implement automation.
Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.
But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.
Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now
Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now
To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:
The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.
Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:
01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address.
02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.
What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.
But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.
We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.
Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.
However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.
As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.