You are starting to hear the term more frequently – API. But what exactly is an API?
API, short for Application Programming Interface, is an intermediary that allows two separate applications to communicate with each other. It is a bridge that allows data to pass from one system to another. With an API, you can allow two different systems with two entirely different technology platforms to exchange information.
Users don’t see the API – they simply see the web interface. Some values of an API allows for organizations to decrease development, increase functionality, provide additional features, and simplify an experience for users.
API’s are commonly used by many applications, including some you may be using today.
Benefits of APIs
Let’s review some business challenges and how an API provides real business value.
Do you use multiple systems to complete a business workflow?
Let’s take a look at the Sales Cycle and how an API can allow different systems to connect to each other, offering a sales agent an improved experience.
A basic CRM feature manages customer data and provides the functionality to update and notate customer activities and update the general status of the buying process.
A feature that would enhance a sales user’s experience would be to bring telephony features to a CRM. This would enable a direct calling function which allows calls to originate directly from the CRM. A simple click on the phone number within a CRM versus dialing on a phone pad is a time saver. However, most CRM’s don’t come out of the box with telephony: IVR or CTI functionality. Other features may include the ability to record phone calls directly on the CRM’s customer history log, which helps manage your team’s service quality, as well as support future training endeavors.
Two applications like a CRM and telephony application can be connected together through an API. This type of integration provides great value.
Many businesses have the need to provide customers with limited data through a portal that aligns with their users’ typical needs. A business can create a custom web portal that has limited CRM access which will allow their customers to view relevant data. Through this custom portal, customers can see specific information and interact with limited transactions. This web portal pulls the relevant data from the CRM through an API.
Common examples include: medical patient portals, subscription management portals, membership portals, etc.
Many CRM’s today, like Salesforce, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, and Hubspot, offer an API that encourages interconnectivity with other software, allowing a business to expand upon out of the box functionality.
Historically, building a powerful software that allows a business to run like a well-oiled machine required complex custom software, taking time and money to build from scratch. Today, bridging functionalities of different systems through an API has allowed businesses small and large to power up their operations. With over 15,000 publicly available APIs, options are vast to allow you to streamline your operations.
While this all sounds like a walk in the park, API uses and implementations can have varying levels of difficulty. Before jumping the gun and connecting various systems to your live software, be sure to get a deeper understanding of what it takes to build an API. Many considerations should be taken before implementing an API integration initiative and talking to a professional CRM consultant is highly advised.
If you have any questions or inquiries related to CRMs or CRM integrations, we’re happy to help. Feel free to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org