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It seems like yesterday we were playing “Pong” on green-screen Macintosh computers. Technology has evolved over the past 40 years, and now is equally as vital to business as it is for entertainment. Much of that has to do with coding or development. We’ve gone from basic web pages to responsive websites and apps with wide-ranging uses.

But one is the loneliest number. Old school development used one large codebase, so legacy technology systems rarely have their data exposed via an application programming interface (API). APIs modernize and enhance existing infrastructure and new architecture by exposing data, enabling digital business transformation, and making it easier to leverage the information to build new apps and integrate with other digital tools.

Discover the ins and outs of APIs and how collaborative technology enables business agility when technology and customer expectations can change on a dime.

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APIs and microservices

APIs are leading the way in digital business transformation. They are software-to-software interfaces that allow different applications to “talk” and work together, regardless of their operating system or programming language (e.g., Java, Javascript, Python). APIs collect data from mobile applications, websites, internal systems, and partner systems to deliver the information users need.

  • Example: You’re on vacation and need to find the nearest Target location to pick up some essentials you forgot to pack. You go to the retailer’s website and type in your hotel’s zip code. The site does an API call to pull the store’s brick-and-mortar location database and spits out locations within a 25-mile radius.

Real-world examples of APIs

We use APIs every day without even knowing it. Consider a few instances in which API data is used in daily life:

  • Google Maps is integrated into restaurant delivery apps to show where your driver is in relation to the restaurant and your home.
  • YouTube videos are embedded on an employer’s “culture” page to showcase the benefits of working for the company without having to leave its website.

APIs enable business agility

Modern companies need to respond to market changes. Agile companies embrace digital business transformation and innovate by leveraging emerging opportunities and tech. APIs enable business agility in a few key ways:

Creating a shared interface

A shared strategy makes it easier to access information and execute actions. This allows teams to move faster and more efficiently. As a result, an organization could build user facing applications that access the API, tools that generate insights, or update existing products treating the API as the source of truth. If your organization has several products, a shared API makes it possible to develop them using the same authentication protocols and maintain data integrity across all of them.

Decoupling the frontend UI from the backend data

Let’s say you have two teams: one focused on the frontend user experience and another focused on the backend and making the best use of your data. As a result, you can make faster decisions so long as the API contract is agreed upon. Each team can make decisions within their realm without consulting the larger group, speeding up processes.

Customer expectations

“… sales organizations must be able to sell to customers everywhere the customer expects to engage, interact and transact with suppliers.” — Cristina Gomez, Managing Vice President for the Gartner Sales Practice

It’s not far-fetched to assume that most customers want companies to be technologically nimble. In fact, they expect it. According to Gartner’s Future of Sales, 80 percent of B2B sales interactions will be digital by 2025, and APIs will factor in heavily.

B2B integration 

Remember the old days of car buying, when an associate would pop up at every turn, overwhelming you so you couldn’t think? Consumers don’t even like sales anymore—in person or online. A whopping 33 percent of buyers want a seller-free sales experience—escalating to 44 percent for millennials. B2B integration enables this, automating communication with customers, suppliers, and business partners through public APIs.

Improving experience

New and old technologies don’t always cooperate. If your technologies constantly butt heads, the user experience suffers. You need to stay on top of your tech to meet expectations. And although user research can help, technology improvements go further.

In today’s tech-forward age, customers expect things to work. True digital business transformation means leveraging APIs to deliver more, including:

  • Apps that talk to each other.
  • Seamless data transitions.

Technology isn’t just essential for tech companies—data and apps are the future for all companies. Of course, the reasons and ease of transition vary widely. For example, industries like healthcare must abide by regulations, retail organizations need help contending with disruptions, and pre-technology companies must entirely reevaluate their operations.

A new solution to API agility: Labs Cloud

API technology may sound all well and good, but you may not necessarily know how to get started with it. Labs Cloud by Detroit Labs allows organizations to connect their new architecture or existing infrastructure to modern frontend technologies. With Labs Cloud, your organization can build business agility with APIs by:

  • Rapidly implementing modern frontend technologies through the Labs Cloud toolset.
  • Starting a new backend or frontend with a few out-of-the-box APIs to get new projects up and running faster

Long-term planning

A toolset such as Labs Cloud is cost-effective because it helps you future-proof your tech stack. You can’t just shut off older software systems that are still being used—it would disrupt your operations and cost a pretty penny to fully modernize. But Labs Cloud supports your digital business transformation, as old and new systems bidirectionally speak to each other for uninterrupted use.

  • Example: An R&D department for a delivery vehicle company has a small timeline and budget to prove that their automated technologies work. By leveraging Labs Cloud, they can get key features such as drop-in authentication and user management APIs working quickly across the frontend and backend, moving on to devote resources to cutting-edge technologies.

Think about it like the resources in your kitchen talking to one another. Wouldn’t it be great if when you are cooking dinner, your microwave and oven talked to each other so that your food was done at the same time? With Labs Cloud and APIs, other parts of the business can still function even if they weren’t designed to talk to each other.

Foster digital business transformation and agility with APIs

Technology changes every day, and businesses need to keep up. APIs allow software applications to “talk” to one another, regardless of how different they may be, ensuring your tech stack doesn’t become obsolete overnight. You already use them in everyday life—use them for your business too!

APIs have the power to propel your business forward and keep up with customers’ digital transformation expectations. Get in touch with our experts to discover how you could deploy API technology, and subscribe to the Detroit Labs blog for more insights.

Person working at laptop to build an app