We use APIs all the time (even if we don’t always realise it). API stands for Application Programming Interface and in simple terms, an API is a set of requirements that determine how one application can talk to another.
To take that definition a step further, those requirements are a set of functions and procedures that allow the creation of applications, which can access the features and information held in another application, which could be anything from an operating system to a third party service or another application.
A few examples of everyday APIs most of us will use are found on social media such as when LinkedIn allows you to find your Outlook email contacts or in CRMs where for example you can integrate your CRM with your email marketing platform to automatically update your email marketing lists with your new business contacts.
For developers, the benefits of APIs are that they allow a limited window in to the code of an application or program so code can be shared. The emphasis here is on the word “limited”. By limited we mean that developers can access the elements they need to leverage an application’s useful actions and data, without being given access to the entire code base.
This has multiple advantages. For the owner of the application whose API is being used, it allows them to share some of the code but keep the rest a secret, effectively protecting their intellectual property. For the developer wanting to make use of that application’s actions and data it restricts the outside program’s access to a limited set of features, essentially helping them access what they need more efficiently.
For business owners, the benefits of APIs are that they help solve business problems.
And that’s where our client AMOS comes in. AMOS stands for Automove Online Solutions
and they’re one of our most recent clients. After initially working with AMOS to deliver their brand new web system to handle their vehicle movement jobs, we have now expanded on that original piece of work (which you can learn more about here
), with a bespoke API to help them save time and money.
Here’s how that API works.
AMOS work with customers and suppliers. Customers load jobs into the vehicle movement system and then suppliers can claim those jobs and report on that status of that job through the same system, effectively communicating with the customer.
So where does the API come in?
AMOS realised that the majority of their customers and suppliers already had their own internal systems for logging jobs, and as such, they were having to duplicate those jobs in AMOS’s web system, and that’s not a very efficient way to work.
So with the help of the API, customers and suppliers (with a little help from their development teams) can now ‘hook’ into the AMOS API so that when a job is added into their internal system of choice, it is then also automatically added into AMOS’s vehicle movement system in real time.
Moreover any job status changes, or new documents uploaded to a particular job, such as proof of delivery, are also automatically updated.
Spam is also handled effectively as limits on the number of API requests over a specified time frame, can be implemented to shut down spammy usage. Furthermore, as all API requests are logged, AMOS also have a record of all the API activity so it can be reviewed and assessed if necessary.
So what are the business benefits?
Well, there are actually quite a few. It has saved both customers and suppliers lots of time and effort by no longer having to duplicate jobs in two systems, instead automating the process seamlessly. It also reduces the opportunity for human error to cause discrepancies between jobs uploaded in the customer and suppliers’ internal systems and the AMOS system.
And for AMOS themselves, this new API has removed the need to have an in-house member of staff managing the system and performing tedious admin tasks to root out any errors, ultimately increasing their business efficiency. And in saving their customers and suppliers time and money, it has also improved their customer satisfaction and customer retention.
Do you think an API could have benefits for your business? If so, speak to our team of digital experts today and if you’re really interested, why not do some further reading on APIs.