Application programming interfaces, or APIs, are the way software talks to other software so by definition, they’re a technology that connects systems.
Many enterprise leaders think of them primarily in these terms. For example, 57 percent of respondents to Google’s Enterprise Digital Maturity Assessment Tool, Apigee Compass, characterize APIs as systems integration technology.
But APIs are much more. They’re interfaces that enable developers to repeatedly leverage data, functions, and applications to build new products and services. They’re how a business expresses itself via software, and they enable that business to rapidly expand into new contexts or adapt to meet changing user needs and preferences.
Take ridesharing apps. They exist partly because they can leverage existing capabilities made available via others’ APIs. When people order a car, a ridesharing app leverages services such as Google Maps APIs for navigation. In turn, those ridesharing companies express their businesses as APIs. This lets developers build ridesharing into new experiences, such as allowing an end user to order a ride via a voice assistant. When the user pays for a ride with a given digital payments platform, an API enables that transaction too.
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