What Are Real World Problems Being Solved by Integration and APIs?
There are a wide and deep group of use cases like consolidating dashboards, integrating data, and integrating with pipelines, and you can probably think of more.
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To gather insights on the state of integration, API design, and API management, we spoke with 19 executives who are familiar with integration and APIs and asked them, "What are some real-world problems being solved by integration with APIs?"
Here's what they told us:
- Integrate with CRMs to get click to call and screen pops. We integrate with the top five or six CRMs out of the box.
- The Sacramento Kings’ connected arena. 35 different applications and APIs – ticketing, ordering. The arena has the highest density of Wi-Fi of any arena in the country. Agrologic – agricultural IoT.
- Most different pieces of software come with dashboards that are afterthoughts. Using APIs allows you to consolidate into one system in Archer that provides visibility for the stakeholder. Get the data you want in real-time. Know what the current risk profile is and can create other tools to address the real-time risk profile.
- We had a large financial institution in the APAC region launch mobile banking in a new market. While there was great adoption, the scale went well beyond what was planned for. Realized the need to adopt a cloud-native design for apps. We help them do this dynamically scaling to meet their needs. Quickly adopt and live with the new design and the existing assets. Retrofit the integration technology to take the same approach how different services integrate by building lighter deployment of applications and run inside of a container to enable a multi-cloud approach. Important for regional deployments and flexibility.
- 1) We have a shipping client with containers they packed, loaded, and moved. They opened a digital business platform to other businesses building on top and leveraging their APIs to provision containers as needed. This opened the company to new business potential and a tremendous ROI on the cost of exposing their APIs. 2) Large data company moving bulk data. Opened, created, and published data. Built an API so other businesses could query their core data sets for business data. Monetized their data by leveraging APIs.
- A big problem in the learning/education space is the siloing of learner data in vendor products and services. This is a domain where we do a lot of our work. Data integration platforms let customers get more value out of the vendor products they already have deployed, and in many cases, can provide a framework for making future infrastructure decisions.
- Data quality integration module creating rules and analyzing data connected to the backend and the cloud. These don’t talk to the integration module so we bring the data to a central location so clients can use their SQL skills to validate data – query and compare. We also allow customers to send us their data and we inspect it and tell them what it looks like. This reduces the complexity of getting into an integrated data system.
- Aeronautics integration between components is seamless to ensure no malfunctions. We also enable Wi-Fi internet access on airlines – connectivity while traveling.
- As the most common network application in the ecosystem, NetSuite needs to connect with the rest of the ecosystem. Companies realize they can reuse stuff with APIs and microservices. Monolithic applications are broken into components and reused. A help desk provider and put customer information in JIRA. LA Metro has a lot of information in a lot of places – CRM, service cloud, card fulfillment, ERP. Tie all the systems via the card and the website so end users can add value to their card.
- No matter how hard teams try to create flawless code, things do occasionally go wrong. When a test fails or a monitoring tool spots a performance issue, APIs can shorten MTTR (mean time to resolution). Connected tools can now open a ticket automatically in JIRA, alert a HipChat room, and update a StatusPage. Each member of the team has their preferred tools that they use daily. But collaboration requires sharing the right information at the right time with the right people. This often slows the development process and increases errors when people can't be at their most productive. By integrating the tools that each member of the team uses, everyone can work where they are most comfortable and productive while sharing the critical details and removing the clutter.
- Integrate with the CI/CD pipelines. Use tools across the waterfront into continuous testing. May want to trigger auditing.
- Most web and mobile applications need to provide good, real-time location and navigation experiences to their users. It could be a cab-hailing app, a restaurant app, a resource locator app, a travel assistant app or an address chooser component; they all need to provide a great map with location and navigation capability. Now, instead of all these apps individually implementing their own map service, they could simply invoke a map application and use its API to pass on the user’s preferences and help them accomplish what they want. Such integration through APIs is straightforward. Another example of the use of API-based integration is task management apps integrating with time sheet and billing apps. A business using a task app to manage their tasks and to achieve some of them could be hiring the services of a freelancer. This freelancer could recommend the use of a timekeeper and billing app to calculate the time spent on doing the task and subsequently compute the charges and raise an invoice to the business. Now, if these two apps had good APIs, they could integrate seamlessly to effectively do the job both for the business and the freelancer. The task gets assigned to the freelancer, and as soon as she starts the task by changing its status in the task app, it invokes the API on the time tracker app to start the timer. Similarly, when she is finished doing the task and the task closure happens in the task app, it can invoke the API to stop the timer and subsequently compute the time spent and raise the invoice. In between, if the freelancer pauses the task, that could trigger an API to pause the timer in the time tracker app too.
- Seamlessly connecting data between different services like Survey Monkey and Eloqua. Process automation for insurance claims. File handling and managed file transfer.
- Quite a lot, actually. Because we provide a solution to bind many APIs together, our users can easily bypass existing limitations for products they use and extend functionalities: A missing backup function? No cross-post available? No automation possible? If you can think of a solution, you can implement it by integrating different APIs together. For example, let’s say you want your smart smoke detector to tweet when there’s a fire, but the device does not natively connect to Twitter on its own. You can use a Potion to tie the APIs together and make your smart device talk to Twitter, Facebook or any other platform.
- Healthcare is a notable industry to highlight here as dataflow (via APIs) has greatly improved patient care making it easier for doctors to get timely access to patient history and for patients to have more flexibility and choice in booking doctors’ visits and making payments. Around the world, government projects are using APIs to expose vast amounts of information – giving researchers access to masses of invaluable data and opening new opportunities for app developers.
- The key is automation. Removing the human element. can watch a movie with the touch of a button rather than connecting the DVR to the set-top box. Seamless – one remote with a “play” button. Complexity is prewired behind the scenes providing a simple interface for the user.
- A few examples: 1) Automate your call center with interactive guides. 2) Create orders in SAP when Salesforce opportunities close with support for data integration orchestration. 3) Provision new accounts in cloud and on-premises apps when adding a new hire in Workday with business process automation spanning multiple applications within and between applications.
- A number of apps have been built, two great examples are: 1) FND (Fake News Detector): This integration identifies and flags content from sources deemed misleading, unverified or false when users share it on the messaging platform. Uber app was built during a 24-hour offline hackathon. It helps users easily book an Uber. To-do app: With the To-do app, users can create and assign to-dos to anyone, including themselves. They can also set deadlines for their to-dos, and receive reminders of tasks due for the day, by chat and email. Polls app: The Poll app allows users to create polls, send them to their teammates, and track poll results in real time - activities that normally take much more effort and planning. Notes: The Notes app allows users to quickly make shareable rich notes while in a conversation with their teams. All users in a channel can collaborate by viewing or editing these notes. Google Drive integration: With deep integration with Google Drive, users can create new documents, manage permissions, and browse through files shared or their entire drive.
What other creative use cases have you observed with integration, API design, or API management?
Here’s who we talked to:
- Murali Palanisamy, E.V.P., Chief Product Officer, AppViewX
- Kevin Fealey, Director of Automation and Integration Services, Aspect Security
- Max Mancini, VP of Ecosystem, Atlassian
- Shawn Ryan, V.P. Product Marketing, Digital as a Service, Axway
- Parthiv Patel, Technical Marketing Manager, Built.io
- Chaitanya Gupta, CTO, Flock
- Anwesa Chatterjee, Director of Product Marketing, Informatica Cloud
- Simon Peel, CMO, Jitterbit
- Keoki Andrus, VP of Products and Steve Bunch, Product Manager APIs and Integrations, Jive
- Rajesh Ganesan, Director of Product Management, ManageEngine
- Brooks Crichlow, Vice President, Product Marketing, MongoDB
- Derek Smith, CEO, Naveego
- Guillaume Lo Re, Senior Software Engineer, Netvibes
- Vikas Anand, V.P. Product Management and Strategy – Integration, Oracle
- Keshav Vasudevan, Product Marketing Manager, SmartBear
- Kevin Bohan, Director of Product Marketing, TIBCO
- Pete Chestna, Director of Developer Engagement, Veracode
- Milt Reder, V.P. of Engineering, Yet Analytics
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