What are APIs and how can they help turn your company into a community?

APIs help to connect websites, software, and smart devices. Here's a quick guide to how they work, and how they're playing a crucial role in connecting people at work.

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION | 10 MINUTE READ

APIs help to connect websites, software, and smart devices. Here's a quick guide to how they work, and how they're playing a crucial role in connecting people at work.

To explain the merits of APIs, let’s begin by considering how they assist our everyday lives. They let us compare flights and insurance, order a takeaway from our phone, and sign up to websites via social media.

Untangle work with Workplace

From informing everyone about the return to the office to adopting a hybrid way of working, Workplace makes work more simple.

But APIs are also making our lives easier at work. They mean we don’t have to log on to separate applications or switch screens every time we want to do something - creating a secure, more productive, and collaborative culture.

With only 14% of companies believing their internal processes for collaboration are working well, APIs can be a big part of the drive to get organizations better connected.

What is an API?

What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. They act as a messenger between two applications and allow them to talk to one another. An API tells a system what you want to do, responds back to you, and acts as the interface between you and an application.

APIs accumulate data from various sources, including other APIs, databases and devices, to connect people, businesses, and things.

When you use a PC or laptop, APIs are what make it possible to cut and paste snippets from websites into a document or spreadsheet. And every time you share or collaborate on a file or send an instant message, you’re using an API.

Better Together: Connecting people at work

Better Together: Connecting people at work

So why does that matter in the world of work? Put simply, we know that people will always want to use multiple tools to get work done. And we believe that these tools should be seamlessly interoperable no matter which platform you use.

We call this strategy Better Together. It's why we continue to invest in our Integrations Directory and work with other providers to develop new solutions. This way, IT leaders will get more out of their existing investments in software - and they can continue to help senior executives deliver digital transformation.

Here are three ways APIs can help make work better for everyone.

Making work more delightful

Making work more delightful

Modern businesses are continually grappling with the data they collect from their own people, suppliers, and customers.

With fewer applications on a desktop to switch between – and less training in how to use them all – you can continue to work in the familiar environment of your existing platform which means there’s less repetition entering data.

You can also automate routine and mundane processes using API-enabled integrations. In Workplace, for example, you can use bots to automate processes so people can get on with more important work.

Enabling effective collaboration

Enabling effective collaboration

Deadlines and morale both suffer when team members struggle to access the information they need to do their jobs efficiently. You can connect the various tools that people already use via Workplace for a truly collaborative experience.

With platforms like Workplace, you can share, store and edit documents securely in the cloud with packages like OneDrive and Quip, and you can manage entire projects with Jira.

Faster and smarter work

Faster and smarter work

APIs also allow people to access multiple applications securely. Telefonica recently integrated Workplace with Office 365 with single sign-on (SSO) to make it easier for employees to sign into Workplace using the same SSO credentials they use with other systems.

APIs also enable organizations to connect people like frontline workers who don't have a business email address. Workplace partner Azuronaut, for example, used newly created email-less API to create ‘Mesh’, the first fully automated, email-less account management tool for Workplace.

Turning companies into communities

Turning companies into communities

The potential of APIs to provide even more connected ways of working is significant. We'll continue to explore how we can enable them so that people can transform their companies into communities.

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