Do You Know the Power of API’s?

You know how important it is to use programs in your business. You use QuickBooks, Microsoft Office and dozens of other software programs, including hosted applications such as PayPal, Eventbright (great event ticket sales tool) and more. You use these programs, as is and things are pretty much – just fine.
However, what I’ve found possibly even more powerful than the programs themselves are “application programming interfaces” or API’s which programmers can use to get more out of each program.
API’s enable programmers to interface with programs and enable them to interface with other programs. For example, maybe you have purchased a program that helps you keep track of the time your employees spend on projects. What if you want, however, the data in this program extended to another application? Maybe you want the time tracking program to receive data from or provide data to some other program. An API is what you can use to ensure the two or more programs can communicate.
Google is a great example of a company that programmers are leveraging through the use of API’s. For example, programmers can take Google Earth and integrate it with their own applications. Quite powerful.
There are hundreds of powerful services such as eBay, and Flickr which enable you to leverage the billions of dollars these companies have spent building their services for your own small business.
RSS, a cousin to APIs, is the language that web sites use to communicate with each other. For example, maybe you have a blog all about the most up to date information on wheat. You can use RSS to share this information with other web sites.
Creating these connections between programs on your own can be difficult or near impossible, but working with a programmer (I’ve found great ones on Elance) can be a low cost way to help you connect and customize programs – boosting productivity for your company.
This reminds me of an announcement made by Cabinet NG recently.

Cabinet NG , which makes automated document management and workflow solution for small enterprise businesses, announced the availability of its CNG-API, a Windows-based development framework for integrating the company’s flagship CNG-SAFE document management system with industry specific business applications.
The CNG-API allows resellers, OEMs, and software programmers to utilize the power of open connectivity to create firm-wide interoperable paperless workflows.
“Integration is the key to streamlining business processes, enabling end users to efficiently perform tasks from a single interface. Our CNG-API includes all the programming codes and tools needed to create the custom integration meeting users’ unique needs,” said Andrew Bailey, President of Cabinet NG.