Why Should I Care About APIs?
The term, API, often gets raised when talking about making Global Mobility’s work easier and faster. Why is it important and how can it help Global Mobility teams to be more productive? Let’s start with the basics.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. To put it simply: an API is a predefined communication protocol between technology platforms. An API is hosted by one technology platform and has a list of predefined questions or requests that can be asked by another. The requesting platform sends a question to the API hosting platform using a question from its list; the API hosting platform determines the answer and then sends it back.
APIs can be:
Unidirectional (sending data one-way, no need for questions), or
Bidirectional (sending data both ways, asking questions and getting answers)
APIs can also be:
Synchronous (sending a question and getting a response right away), or
Asynchronous (sending a question and then checking back after a few
minutes to see if the answer is ready)
At AIRINC, we make use of APIs as much as we can in our data collection activities. APIs are more reliable than data scraping and faster than human research. We wish more data sources had APIs available, and we are continually looking for new data sources that offer APIs.
We also build software solutions with APIs as a requirement. Our software front-end is built on back-end APIs so that we can expose our data and calculators to client and partner systems. Our first API, for our cost estimation solution, was released in 2012 and has been continually in use since then. We want our data and calculations to be as easy as possible to consume by our clients and partners.
If your team is needing help automating tasks so that they can focus on more important work, APIs internally or with your external vendors should be something you are considering. And if you want to pick our collective brains here at AIRINC, we are happy to talk about what great things APIs can do to help.
Download the paper to read more about the role of integrated technology in Global Mobility.