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beehexa what is api integration everything you should know

What is API Integration? Everything you should know

API, which stands for application programming interface, is an interface to interact with a programming application. It plays an important role in business growth by creating interaction between apps. This article explores the API integration term, which allows apps to communicate in real-time.

What is an API integration?

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API integration refers to the process of data connection and interaction between multiple applications through respective APIs. It is a fundamental aspect of digital transformation, enabling businesses to create interconnected ecosystems that leverage the strengths of various applications and services. As businesses continue to adopt a multitude of software solutions, effective API integration becomes essential for achieving operational efficiency and delivering a superior customer experience.

This solution enables businesses to automate processes, enhance data sharing across applications, and improve the customer experience by offering more comprehensive services. For example, integrating a POS with an eCommerce platform, such as Shopify Lightspeed POS integration, can automate the data workflow between two systems, allowing data management without manual entry.

Why do organizations need API integration?

what is API integration

Despite providing standardized document exchange for decades, EDI still needs to meet the dynamic and interactive demands of modern digital ecosystems. On the other hand, using APIs offers organizations the flexibility, quickness, and personalization needed to succeed in the current marketplace. 

Real-time data exchange, smooth communication between different systems, and the quick deployment of new services or the integration of innovations from outside parties are all made possible via APIs.

For example, a retailer could handle orders in real-time, modify inventory levels immediately across numerous platforms, and improve customer experiences with tailored interactions through API integration – tasks that would be difficult or impossible to execute with EDI alone. 

Comparison of API integration vs data integration

Both API integration and data integration are crucial for enhancing operational efficiency and decision-making by ensuring seamless connectivity and access to vital information across different systems and platforms. So, what is different? Let’s take a look at the following table:

FeatureAPI IntegrationData Integration
DefinitionThe process of linking applications via their APIs to enable them to communicate and share data.The process of combining data from different sources into a single, unified view.
Primary UseFacilitates real-time data sharing and communication between software applications.Focuses on merging data from various sources for analysis, reporting, and business intelligence.
Data HandlingManages real-time data exchange and processing between applications.Focuses on the consolidation, cleansing, and warehousing of data for analytical purposes.
SpeedSupports real-time or near real-time interactions and updates.Speed varies; it can be in real-time but often involves batch processing, which can delay data availability.
FlexibilityHighly flexible, allowing for custom integrations and real-time adjustments.Less flexible compared to API integration; changes require adjusting ETL processes or data models.
ComplexityCan be complex to set up initially but offers more straightforward maintenance and scaling.Complexity lies in the initial setup and ongoing management of data schemas, transformations, and integrations.
Use CasesReal-time syncing of customer data between CRM and marketing platforms, instant payment processing, and dynamic content delivery.We are consolidating sales data from multiple sources for quarterly reporting, and merging customer data from different systems for a single customer view.
Integration FocusApplication-centric, focusing on connecting software applications for operational efficiency.Data-centric, aiming to provide a comprehensive view of information for analysis and decision-making.

API integration types

API integration comes in various forms, each serving distinct purposes and offering unique advantages. Understanding these types can help organizations choose the most suitable approach for their specific needs.

Internal (or Private) APIs

Internal APIs are designed for use within an organization, facilitating seamless interaction between different departments and systems. Private APIs enhance productivity and innovation by enabling various departments to access and utilize the company’s digital assets securely and efficiently. 

For example, an internal API might connect a company’s HR system with its payroll software, automating the transfer of employee data and reducing manual errors.

Partner APIs

Partner APIs connect between business allies, allowing for secure data exchange and the integration of services between companies. They are essential for creating synergistic partnerships, where complementary services or products enhance the value proposition for customers of both parties. 

A common use case is in eCommerce, where a retailer might integrate with a shipping company’s API to offer real-time tracking information to its customers.

Composite APIs

Composite APIs combine multiple data or service APIs to create a sequence of tasks that run synchronously without human intervention. They are particularly useful for complex business processes that require data from several sources or involve multiple steps. 

For instance, a composite API might facilitate a transaction process that includes steps like inventory check, billing, and shipping, streamlining the workflow into a single, cohesive operation.

Public (or Open) APIs

Public APIs, also known as open APIs, are available to external developers, enabling third-party applications to access the services or data of an organization. These APIs can significantly extend a company’s reach, allowing for innovative uses of their data or services that can add value for end-users. 

Integrating the Google Maps API allows businesses to offer detailed maps, directions, and location services, enriching their apps with essential, real-time mapping features expected by today’s users.

How to implement API integration?

In this section, we will explore the methods for implementing API integration for non-tech users and expert reference. Each offers unique advantages to cater to various business needs.

Leverage of the integration feature in the app

Leverage of the integration feature in the app

Many modern software applications come with built-in integration capabilities, designed to connect seamlessly with other apps. Leveraging these pre-existing features is the most straightforward method to achieve API integration. This approach requires minimal technical knowledge and can often be accomplished through the application’s user interface. You can research how to use the integration features to connect your application. It’s an ideal solution for businesses looking to integrate popular applications quickly without the need for custom development.

Build the API integration tool

Build the API integration toolBuild the API integration tool

Building a custom API integration tool can help businesses meet special demands that are not found in any existing integration feature application. The implementer will develop a custom integration solution with high flexibility and functional levels based on organization requirements.

This option is suitable for integration technical experts who make sure to accurately meet the operational demands of the organization.

Use the third-party middleware integration platform

Use the third-party middleware integration platform

Third-party middleware integration platforms, for example, the HexaSync integration platform, offer a middle ground between leveraging built-in integrations and building custom solutions. These platforms provide integrated capabilities across multiple applications, systems, or platforms through APIs. It allows users to simplify the process significantly, even between legacy systems and modern SaaS applications.

By using a third-party platform, businesses can benefit from a variety of pre-built connectors, graphical interfaces for designing integration workflows, and support for managing and monitoring integrations. This approach is particularly beneficial for companies looking to integrate multiple systems without coding knowledge


API integration is vital for modern businesses, enabling seamless software connections that enhance efficiency and innovation. It’s key to staying competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape, ensuring streamlined operations and improved customer experiences. If you need to integrate multiple applications, please contact us.

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