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The Benefit of ‘API First’ Software Platform

Jul 23, 2021 9:46:00 AM / by Taylor Faircloth

API firstChekhub’s API first SaaS design empowers your employees — request a demo or email us at contact@chekhub.com.

API-first design for your Software as a Service (SaaS) operations management platform makes it possible for you to run your enterprise seamlessly. API design works with developers to integrate SaaS products across multiple teams–human resources (HR), accounting, marketing, and customer service. 

An API-first SaaS approach extends the usefulness of the legacy software products and programs your operations management platform uses. API-first design benefits the employees, suppliers, and customers of your enterprise. Ready to learn more?

What Are APIs?

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are the customer-facing portion of software that connects different software solutions and allows your operations management platform to function seamlessly from the customer's perspective. In other words, APIs are interfaces that enable software programs developed by different companies to talk to each other. 

Practical uses of APIs are everywhere. They connect your e-commerce software—including payment information, inventory, cost calculations, shipping rates, reward program balance, etc.—with your customer relationship management software. This software includes contact information, email subscriptions, demographics, event participation, and more. 

One example you may encounter of APIs at work is when a website gives you the option of signing into or creating an account through Facebook. An API is what allows Facebook to communicate with the company’s software about your login credentials.

Your information remains securely stored with Facebook; however, the new website allows you to log in without storing that information.

Why Your Business Needs to Operate in the API Economy

The concept of an API economy represents the way API utilization can add value to your enterprise. By investing in an operations management platform, you’ve shown that you’re a savvy business operations manager who values efficiency, quality, accuracy, and adaptability. An API-first approach to SaaS technology mirrors those qualities. 

Department employees are experts in their fields and don’t know what information other departments need to access. API-first design can ensure various departments have the information they need. Additionally, it ensures that new information updates across multiple software programs efficiently. 

A Difference in Approach: API First vs. Integration First

As you research operations management platforms, you may hear about API first as an alternative to integration. One way to illustrate the difference in these approaches is to envision the process as akin to constructing a new bridge.

In an integration-first approach, two engineering companies build the opposite ends of a bridge. The companies each have their teams, knowledge, methods, materials, communication styles, and vision for the bridge—they build their respective ends with those parameters as an operational standard. 

Since the two ends will need to connect, the two companies constantly communicate back and forth. They wait on one another for responses and continually rework plans to take the other company’s priorities and business process into account. How can they keep the customer experience in mind when they have this challenge in the development process—even before the bridge opens to drive across? 

The bridge comes together eventually but takes longer than expected. This delay, in turn, postpones progress on the companies’ other projects. It also costs customers—or the bridge beneficiaries in this illustration—money and patience; therefore, Chekhub takes an API-first approach to our bridge-building example.

To continue the analogy, an API-first design approach builds the “bridge” first. Both engineering companies are part of that process from the beginning and are intimately involved in the project from conception to completion. As an operations manager, both you and the customers benefit from all the project contributors’ combined knowledge and resources throughout the process.

With the bridge design complete, the engineering companies collaborate to design the end portions that connect it to the roads on either side. This collaboration ensures a seamless process, early awareness of road bumps, and an agreed-upon solution to errors and conflict resolution.

More Than Just a One-Time Thing

Now the concept and design of the bridge remain the same, no matter its placement. What may need to change, however, is the connections on the ends.

API-first design is ready for this because the architects designed the bridge with a common vocabulary. An API-first approach uses the language that software developers use to produce applications, so everyone speaks the same language from the get-go. 

An API-first approach emphasizes the utilization of documentation—so developers have all the information they need to connect your bridge to their road. Because everyone works in tandem, each new bridge can open entirely at one time. This cohesiveness translates to a seamless and more cost-effective rollout equipped for any future required adaptations.

API First Design Approach

As the operations manager of your enterprise, you need to manage multiple projects or office sites, teams, budgets, vendors, and customers. Chekhub’s operations management platform with an API-first design means you can lay your master project blueprint over all your jobs and locations. This consistency allows you to fully integrate your entire workforce across multiple platforms that incorporate all departments of your enterprise. 

Why Does an API First Approach Matter for an Operations Management Platform?

An API first approach matters when selecting an operations management platform because it means your SaaS vendor can quickly adapt to necessary changes and requests from you as a customer. Consequently, you can respond promptly to your customers. 

API first matters because it tells you your app-based solution provider has an eye toward the future but doesn’t throw away what has worked in the past. Instead, Chekhub’s API-first design approach integrates all the services you need for your operations management platform in the way that best serves you. In turn, you can better serve your customers to grow your business’s reputation and bottom line. 

An API-first approach offers easy integration into legacy applications. Your business may have picked up on new technologies along the way and started using new software as it became available. If you want to integrate your software products to achieve clear communication, you need a platform with an API-first design.

With this approach, your developers don’t need to reinvent the wheel or replace the existing systems that serve your needs. Instead, this API-first design allows your team to create cohesive communication with third-party APIs and incorporate traditional SaaS solutions.  

API-first companies and their customers benefit from a seamless flow of information between software programs. The ability to quickly connect old and new software reduces implementation time for new products and services.

Benefits of API First to Your Business

  • API first reduces the cost and time involved in app production and update rollouts.
  • Changes to the API take place at the same time across all applications. 
  • API first increases your opportunity to use automation, which results in a reduced production timeline.
  • Developers don’t need to create new programs for each application, including mobile devices, desktops, laptop computers, or tablets. 

Benefits of API First to Your Customers

  • An API-first approach allows your team to identify flaws in design or programming before rollout to customers. 
  • Software developers don’t need to write new programs for each application. Instead, they create program interfaces to help existing software communicate with current and future applications.
  • With API first, everything coming from your enterprise looks the same to your customers. This view is an ideal alternative to your customer jumping from software to software with programs that all look different. In that case, your user may end up down a rabbit hole they can’t escape. 
  • The user-facing content appears consistent across all platforms. Users can access the same information on any device at any display size when API first is in play.

Integrating SaaS Products Across Business Units

The booming SaaS industry and launching new mobile apps by the minute make API first all the more important. The SaaS industry grows by billions of dollars each year. 

More and more companies you do business with, will be using different software solutions and require you to integrate seamlessly to increase communication and information flow. For example, you may need to automate invoices and “payment due” reminders. In addition, your operations management platform may need to work with healthcare providers and HR companies for updated policies and paycheck notices.

What Should I Ask to See if the Operations Management Platform I am Using or Considering has an API-First Approach?

Choosing the right platform for your operations management systems means asking the right questions. When looking at API-first companies, ask:

  • Is your API well-documented?
  • Is your API available online?
  • Who is your API’s audience?
  • What does API first mean to you?

Chekhub’s operations management platform is an API-first SaaS solution for your business. Find out how Chekhub can streamline your operations and increase productivity by scheduling a demo with us today!

Tags: Insights

Taylor Faircloth

Written by Taylor Faircloth

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