API Development & Integration
There is nothing more frustrating and tedious than data entry. Especially when that data is on the computer already, but needs to be moved between systems or applications. Some print off the data and copy it from paper, while others switch between screens and copy and paste the data; either way, its time consuming and inevitably will result in a mistype or pasting something into the wrong field.
What happened to the dream of the paperless office where data entry only ever needs to be done once?
The answer to ridding yourself of data-entry tasks is leveraging an API.
What is an API?
An API (or Application Programming Interface) is a means to allow two different software applications (or hardware) to talk to each other. Over half of all traffic on the internet is made up of API traffic as computer software around the world all talk to each other and share information.
APIs have the power to completely revolutionise your business by dramatically reducing, if not eliminating, the need to process data manually.
Before you had to sit there and type the records in manually (or pay someone else to do it), now by leveraging the power of an API, it appears like magic.
Some software systems are happy to talk to another system right out of the box, but there are plenty of others which are not, and for those systems that are shy and don't want to talk, there is middleware to bridge the gap.
As the name suggests, middleware sits between two different software systems and talks to both. When data needs to pass from one to the other, the middleware will take it from one, do any conversions that may be required, and pass it to the other.
There are thousands of API services available on the internet today, from payment gateways, news and weather, postal lookups, mapping, markets/finance and so much more. If you need to quickly access and process some third-party data, then the chances are there is a service that provides an API which would allow you to get that data in and processed super-quick.
Data is power, and if you have data that you sell to others, providing an API for others to connect to means letting your customers benefit from levering processing data in super-quick time.
Platinum Wave Campers build and sell VW campervans in Solihull, and advertise vehicles for sale on Autotrader UK. A far number of leads come through Autotrader, but unfortuantly they arrived via email and had to be manually entered into the third-party CRM system. They wanted to find a way to integrate Autotrader so that leads would get put in automatically. We build a middleware application that sits between Autotrader and the CRM, which calls Autotrader, periodically checks for new leads and pushes them into the CRM.