When companies buy small business software, they may be looking at features and functions, but quite often forget to ask about API access for users.
What’s an API?
API stands for application programming interface. An API acts almost like an extension cord would use in your house. It can be used to connect two different programs together – or even build a customized extension to the application.
The API provides standard building blocks that other software developers can use to connect to customizable components of a program, ensuring that calls securely access the right bundle of resources.
How might API access be used?
An API is often used to send information from one program into another. For example, you might take an eCommerce order from your website. The API call would then automatically send that contact and order data into your customer relationship management system to fulfill the order. The benefit of having an API is that the programmers who developed the software don’t have to understand the other software’s structure, and they don’t risk accidentally compromising the code of the other product.
Using Integration Tools
Software programs with API can sometimes allow you to use low-cost integration tools like Zapier to connect different applications and automate standard workflows without having to create custom code. Of course, if you need specialized automation, that’s something that our software development team can help with.
What if my software doesn’t have an API?
If you buy software that doesn’t provide API access, customizing it to meet your needs is going to be more difficult, more expensive, and maybe even impossible. Programmers don’t want other programmers touching their source code because it threatens the stability of the system.
Most modern small business software will come with API access. The fact that a software program today does not allow API access should be a red flag. If you are evaluating different small business software packages, and would like our professional IT opinion on the selecting the right package, please contact us for help.