Much like the rest of the software market, APIs (application programming interfaces) have advanced substantially in recent years. What started as a way for developers to experiment with their software has now become crucial as APIs allow developers to enhance their systems to reach new markets and meet specific needs.
An article in VentureBeat details the rise in APIs and discusses how they are used today. Developing partner Byron Deeter, the article's author, describes APIs as "a specification ... for how two pieces of software talk to each other and exchange data." His assertion is that we will soon be living in an economy driven by the API, as it has already become driven by software applications designed to assist with both business and personal tasks.
Deeter asserts that both developers who use APIs on their own products and those who create APIs for others to use will ultimately be more successful than their competitors going forward.
"In today's world, having a strong API strategy isn't just good software practice; it's a powerful business practice," Deeter writes.
As a developer of ERP systems and other business software solutions, it's important to think about the future needs of your customers in an increasingly online environment. If your customers don't sell online, they will likely want to. Or, they may need a better system that allows them to better protect customer information or qualify for the lowest possible interchange rate, particularly if they are processing B2B payments.
If you can't provide this functionality, you will want to obtain an API that allows you to add it to your system. Failure to do so can put you at a competitive disadvantage, but providing the tools your customers need to process future transactions can help you maintain your viability in the future.