As the buzz around digital transformation grows louder, many organizations with legacy systems are taking the first steps in that direction. Reuse of technology assets and interoperability are two important aspects of the transformation process. In this article, we examine the role of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in digital transformation. An API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools to build software and applications. It has a set of functions that allows developers to access certain features or data of an application, platform or OS. For example, Facebook’s API allows third-party mobile developers limited access to users’ profiles, to identify them while signing up. APIs facilitate collaboration between systems and enable apps to interact – this can enhance the user experience. Industry experts say that APIs are now a vital part of product development and business strategy in B2B companies. API integration facilitates better collaboration with the customer, and also allows the company to provide a wide range of services to their end-users. This will also help increase transparency and speed of transactions. Microservices is another domain where APIs are a good match. A Web API is an application programming interface on the Web accessed via the http protocol. Web APIs can be built using different technologies such as .NET or Java, and help integrate capabilities of two or more applications. From a developer’s perspective, Web APIs are efficient and provide better authentication, offer better security and performance, and enable smooth integration with other systems. This is particularly useful while developing mobile applications. APIs also help with customizations and allow developers to offer additional services, such as online payments, to their site visitors. A Deloitte Insights’ Tech Trends 2018 report, published towards the end of last year, highlighted the need to design platforms “around the principles of interoperability and modularity” that many global tech giants have adopted. In this context, the report said, APIs “are one of the key building blocks supporting interoperability and design modularity”. APIs can help achieve business agility, unlock new value in existing assets, and expedite the process of delivering new ideas to the market. It also “allows for easier consumption and reuse across new web, mobile, and IoT experiences,” it said.
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