Pedro Pinto
Pedro is Head of Global Sales Engineering at Huddle, the enterprise collaboration company that helps organizations across the globe to...
Read Full Bio >>

Pedro Pinto | June 15, 2017 |


A Primer on API Integration

A Primer on API Integration What you need to know as you consider communications APIs, and beyond

What you need to know as you consider communications APIs, and beyond

No doubt you've heard about the rise of communication APIs as the leading way to enable business transformations for a digital future. As you consider whether APIs have a place in your environment, here's what you need to know about the integration process.

A successful platform is essentially a software base that users leverage to work with other software and content. Microsoft Windows and its various iterations is probably the largest example of a successful platform. However, what happens when two different systems have to interact? A great example of this is how Apple made it possible for the iPhone to connect with a Windows-based PC. Apple was clever to create an early-on instance of iTunes for Windows, which became its platform within other platforms. This became the successful terminal through which Apple allows iPhone users to manage their iPhones, music, and other digital content.

Getting Set Up
Not all platforms can speak to one another immediately. To enable programs to "talk" to one another, engineers established a process and programming method called the application program interface, or API. APIs allow technical sources the ability to "hook" two or more platforms together based on a few foundational programming methodologies.

To work with APIs, most programmers must have an understanding of the rules behind HTTP and the local programming languages involved in the software. Understanding the practices and methodologies of representational state transfer, or REST, also helps programmers build better connections between systems. In order to access the systems, most APIs leverage OAuth, an open standard for authorization.

In order to make full use of the power of API services provided by various platform systems, enterprise organizations and service providers should understand the following elements: platform as a priority; strategic objectives built on tactical execution; the goals of APIs; and how to work with HTTP, OAuth, and RESTful services.

Platform as Priority
As the cost of servers, memory, and disk space fell in the past decade due to digital transformation, a new market opened for the management of data services. Software as a service, or SaaS, became a new way for the IT industry to serve businesses of all sizes -- reducing the cost of operating IT services and increasing scalability. Taking advantage of the SaaS model, many companies began migrating data from on-premises solutions to cloud services.

As a result, Amazon, Apple, Box, Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft, among many others, rushed to provide online content management. Each has taken a different route, but strategically they all have the same general goal: be the customer's primary source for content management. With that, you need to understand APIs in terms of overall strategy and tactical execution of that strategy:

  • Strategic Objectives -- With the myriad of options out there to connect to and be connected with, cloud/platform content management providers must be specific in their use cases in order to optimize the value of API features. Once they identify requirements, enterprises can then review the ability of a platform to connect with their existing business systems.

  • Tactical Execution -- No strategy can be effective without defined tactics. This is where programmers and technical resources shine, bringing about value from leveraging the API. Most APIs have source code, notes, wiki pages, examples, and other pieces of information programmers and developers need to read before executing on the strategic objectives.

Goal of the API
The goal of an API is to allow systems to talk to one another and execute content-sharing based on business needs. If the business cannot define a way forward for its needs, or cannot envision a purpose for the connections between various systems, APIs may end up being a waste of time. API configuration is not difficult to maintain, but is tedious to change or modify. Therefore, making many changes to the system can be a massive problem and so makes the question of an API part of a larger business decision.

As more users live hybrid lives, that is, using multiple platforms, APIs will continue to grow in importance and value. However, being able to maintain and understand how these systems connect -- or ought to connect -- takes serious effort with various costs involved. Working with APIs and meshing them with business management needs takes technical depth. Many businesses do not seem to understand the true value of APIs. Understanding how to best leverage them for the business needs requires serious planning and discussion.

Once connections have been made with one system via APIs, severing connections with that platform becomes increasingly difficult -- so having a clear plan and end goal is paramount.

APIs can be powerful connecting tools between businesses, business applications, and the platforms used to access data. Many of the big platforms on the market today provide some level of API integration. In order to leverage an API, business must identify specific requirements around their needs and tactically execute them. Otherwise, APIs become cumbersome to build and maintain.


September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.