I recently went online to buy a speakerphone for use with our company conference calls. In less than 5 minutes, I was able to browse a variety of options, get price and shipping quotes and enter my order. The speakerphone arrived at my door later that same day. Without the instant communication between companies provided by real time APIs, that speed would have been unthinkable. Every industry today is being transformed by real time APIs that enable that kind of online processing.
Yet, I run across companies on a regular basis that are still using batch processing for operations that could be significantly improved if they were done in real time. Companies often share information across applications or with their business partners by sending whole files of data via FTP or EDI interfaces. There can be delays of minutes, hours or even days before the data is available to the receiver.
We recently worked with a distribution company that listed its inventory on Amazon. They had hundreds of thousands of items that they bought from a variety of manufacturers and then resold. There were pricing changes to those items every day. The problem was, they were sending a weekly batch price update to Amazon so oftentimes the prices listed were out of date which led to mispriced orders and a complex reconciliation process. They contacted Eradani about moving to Amazon’s real time APIs. Using the real time APIs, when they update the price in their internal system it can be immediately reflected on the Amazon site. This not only eliminates mispriced orders and the manual order reconciliation process, it also gives them the ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions or offers made by their competitors.
A transportation company we work with had to wait until the end of day to receive batch transmissions from their customers identifying what shipments they had ready for pickup and delivery. That meant they could not schedule their trucks until they received the customer’s information. Now, they provide a real time API that allows customers to update pickup information as soon as orders become ready to ship. That gives the shipping company several extra hours to plan and to deploy their fleet. It also means that they can get products to their customers’ customers more quickly.
Real time updates also ensure that company executives know the exact state of their business at any moment in time. They can spot potential issues in the supply chain and take remedial action early. They can be first to see nascent opportunities and they can respond rapidly to emerging competitive threats.
The exploding availability of APIs is making real time communication and data sharing between business partners and customers a reality. Companies are eliminating manual processes, increasing business agility and improving customer satisfaction by creating and using APIs. The day is not far off when companies that rely on slow batch processing will find themselves left out of today’s increasingly interconnected business environment.
Implementing real-time APIs requires high speed connections, error handling and API monitoring to ensure that users of the API are getting the response they need in a timely fashion. Because real time APIs are making updates to critical systems, companies must also ensure that their APIs are highly secure.
At Eradani, our experts work with companies every day to help them take advantage of APIs to provide and consume real time information. If you would like to explore ways real time APIs might help your organization, contact us at www.eradani.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to work with you!