API integration tools can play a helpful part in scaling your business. In 2018, 61% of integration professionals and information technology (IT) executives maintained that API integration is a necessary business strategy.
API integration is not only a must-have for running day-to-day business operations, but it is also key to business growth as a whole.
Today, you will be introduced to seven API integration tools that can be great assets to your business. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is an API?
An application programming interface (API) is a set of protocols enabling different software applications to communicate with each other. In simple terms, APIs are the middlemen of software.
APIs are a back-end structure, so it’s not a tool that you’ll likely ever see in person — unless you’re a coder, of course.
But this is where the particularities of APIs lie. Due to APIs, the internal complexity of syncing systems together is packaged inside of a mere abstraction. Therefore, users don’t have to worry about what’s happening behind the scenes.
APIs work in a number of digital mediums, from integrating the apps you use every day to lining the interior infrastructure of businesses large and small.
When an API is working as it should, the connectivity that results is called an API integration. API integrations are more than just code.
Rather, modern APIs are more like consumer products empowering software interconnectivity. As such, you’re probably wondering where exactly APIs come into play for you.
In reality, you’re probably utilizing API integrations more often than you know. Here are a few familiar examples:
- Netflix: Netflix’s software relies on microservices, an approach to software development where every service or function is wrapped as an individual unit. These units interact with each other via APIs, coming together in the form of a single application such as Netflix.
- Google Flights: Using APIs, Google is able to pull information from various airline databases. Users receive this data on Google Flights, all in one place.
- Siri: Almost everything you do on Siri involves an API integration. For example, when you ask Siri for directions, Siri uses an API to plug you into your default navigational app. Similarly, when you ask a random trivia question, Siri takes advantage of an API to pull data from your default search engine (likely Google).
- Marketing automation tools: If you’re familiar with the business world, marketing platforms should be no stranger to the business processes you use each and every day. APIs integrate marketing automation tools so that you can set and deploy workflows from a single platform.
Whether APIs connect software applications, aid business processes, or enhance the customer experience, it should be clear that they are crucial pieces of nearly all digital services.
Check out Trio’s article, “7 Examples of APIs in Use Today” for a more in-depth look at various API examples.
Business users utilize API integration tools towards better data consolidation. After all, data is king. And it is the job of APIs to sync data, effectively and proactively.
This can be a virtue for any enterprise, no matter if your company builds public APIs for consumer use or uses APIs as an exclusive solution for your organization’s needs.
To that effect, API integration tools help internal teams build, manage, and publish APIs. You can also run testing, prepare documentation, as well as secure and monitor APIs via API integration tools.
Of course, the main advantage of such a solution is that these tools adopt the principle of rapid application development. Or in other words, they reduce development time and costs by prioritizing agile methodologies within their platforms.
In this way, using an API integration platform can bolster team productivity by alleviating the burden of manual API management.
Here are several of the most popular API integration tools that you should consider using for your business operations.
1. Dell Boomi
Dell Boomi is a cloud-based API solution and integration platform as a service (iPaaS) tool. Boomi features low-code development, meaning users can connect services and applications with little to no coding.
Other notable features of the tool include prebuilt APIs, drag-and-drop tooling, and activity monitoring. A basic package for Dell Boomi starts at $549 a month.
2. Apigee API Management
Apigee allows users to build API proxies. An API proxy is a bundle of XML configuration files and code that decouples the front-end and back-end of an API structure. Essentially, it is an API server that sits between an application and the back-end.
The end goal of an API proxy is to shield back-end changes from the front-end. As a result, the client-side can interact with a more presentable version of an API, while the server-side handles more complex formatting and data elements.
After building API proxies, Apigee permits you to do all the other standard undertakings you’d expect from an API integration tool. Pricing at Apigee is mostly customized.
3. IBM API Connect
IBM API Connect is a user-friendly enterprise solution for API creation and management. Analytics and built-in security name some of its most appealing features.
The platform is also equipped with a self-service developer portal that empowers developers to register, share, and deploy their APIs.
IBM offers a free trial, although their actual pricing is harder to pinpoint from their website alone.
Like other API integration tools, the MuleSoft AnyPoint Platform enables developers to design, build, and manage APIs speedily, using clicks or code.
To add, developers can also use MuleSoft to connect applications via custom build application networks on the platform. And MuleSoft’s API manager can facilitate integration governance and API lifecycle management.
There are three tiers for MuleSoft pricing: Gold, Platinum, and Titanium. Some firms are paying a quarter of a million dollars per year for MuleSoft services.
Akana provides end-to-end API management. In simple terms, this means you can access and manage the full API lifecycle within the Akana platform.
This is in addition to features such as a developer portal, traffic management, and vulnerability detection. Open-source support and a lifecycle manager are sure to come in handy too.
Outside of Akana’s free trial, you can purchase an Akana Business plan at $4000 a month. For their Akana Enterprise plan, you will have to initiate contact with the sales team for more accurate pricing.
6. Microsoft Azure API Management
You can manage all your APIs in one place with Microsoft Azure API Management. Get insights through API analytics and keep your APIs secure with token, key, and IP filtering functionalities.
To be clear, the creation of API gateways is actually the principal feature of Azure API management. API gateways are similar to API proxies but much more robust, operating as a security interface in and of itself.
They accept API calls and aggregate services to fulfill them, altogether acting as a vessel for you to render APIs.
Azure has an intricate range of monthly and hourly pricing with the cheapest plans starting at $48.04 per month and premium plans costing as much as $2,795.17 a month.
Zapier extends thousands of app integrations from an easy-to-use, visual interface. The primary motive of the platform is to entrust non-tech savvy users with the tools to automate workflows.
Naturally, the greatest limitation of this business model is the lack of customization. Therefore, Zapier can hardly fall under the category of a developer tool.
Still, Zapier is a premier solution for those who can make the most of it. You can start using Zapier for free and automate just 100 tasks. But as your use cases increase at a company level, rates reach as high as $3,599 monthly.
How To Improve Your Business Through API Integration
You now have an elementary comprehension of API integration and why it is a critical part of any business plan. API integration tools are similarly vital to API management and creation.
Each API integration tool has unique advantages. Figuring out which advantages can bring about the most growth for your business is step one.
Dell Boomi, for one, is well-suited for integrating cloud applications. MuleSoft is adept at painting an illustrious picture of the connections you’re making through API integration.
And technologies like Apigee and Azure narrow down their focus to API-adjacent infrastructures like API gateways and proxies.
At any rate, there are many options to choose from. If you find yourself in need of a custom solution, however, you came to the right place.
Trio specializes in building custom solutions, particularly where API integration is concerned.
Get in touch to learn more about what Trio can do for you!