Offering API Tools: Versatility for Modern Software Solutions

April 11, 2013
min read time
Sam Aparicio
Sam Aparicio
Co-founder & CEO, Ring.io
Offering API Tools: Versatility for Modern Software Solutions

Even those who have only the most casual brushes with IT hear about some of the big tech trends in today’s markets: from boardrooms to water coolers, “big data” is a common phrase, and there’s a lot of talk, even in consumer-facing advertisements, about “the cloud.” So we know that businesses are “moving online” and “getting digital,” but how?

A lot of the modernization of the contemporary office is being driven in some very specific ways. One of these is the integration of additional developer tools into legacy software offerings that used to be “static” in that they were sold out of the box with no interactivity. In today’s world, where every mobile device is a potential powerhouse of wireless data transfer, these kinds of static applications no longer compete well. That’s part of what’s behind the rush to “the cloud;” whether it’s remote data storage, remote access to key analytics, or just an easy way to move information around, enterprise tech is embracing the idea of cloud network destinations in a big way.

APIs and Developer Tools

Another thing that’s really central to the “modding” of various kinds of software is the idea that makers allow outside developers to tweak or customize products through the use of an Application Programming Interface or API. Using built-in libraries and other code, an API allows for software products to “talk to” each other, so that a formerly isolated program can now take data in from other sources, or release it to another destination.

Case in point: right now, the new Microsoft Office 2013 suite is getting a lot of attention, based on the fact that Microsoft has innovated this very familiar office productivity set to include a new JavaScript-based API that will allow for the kinds of interactivity that enterprise users crave. Microsoft guides explain just how this resource allows for porting data into spreadsheets, emails or other “objects,” for example, embedding visual items like maps into dynamic documents for those on the go.

How Do APIs Work for CRM?

In Customer Relationship Management or CRM solutions, an API resource can make it easier to manipulate key pieces of information in various ways. Items like individual contacts, notes, and groups can be “ported” into or out of CRM just as they would in other kinds of applications. The particular appeal for CRM is that businesses rely on “captured” data from a variety of sources. Being able to immediately add that into a CRM tool can have a big effect on productivity and the agility of a business team.

To get the best kinds of CRM, look for fully supported systems with API tools that follow the REST protocol, a W3C backed standard for these helpful toolbox items that developers can use to “blend” data from one platform to another. Talk to vendors about how they can assist with the implementation of a CRM set, and how your own IT people could further set up an API-supported product.

Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer covering technology and business solutions at Techopedia, Business Finance Store and Ringio, focusing on emerging trends in IT services.


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