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  • What is the Role of APIs in Business Intelligence (BI)

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    A heavy discount from a startup seemed a bolt from the blue a few years ago. You got extremely surprised, as it seemed totally unexpected from the one who had just made an entry in the domain. The idea-“how could one bear such a hefty loss by offering heavy discounts despite being not made any profit yet”- used to make round at the back of mind of competitors.


    But today, the scenario is different. Such offers from the startups are normal and completely expected. It is all because of the internet, where cloud and software/applications emerge in an active role. Besides, there is one thing that has called transformation online that is the exchange of information. 


    What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?



    Could you answer how will an organisation collect colossal-size data, let’s say the addresses or email ids of all CEOs in the hotel industry?  


    Unfortunately, there is no single data repository where every kind of data is stored. You have to dig through different related websites and applications, which could be in hundreds or thousands. This is where APIs could help.


    In short, an API is a software intermediary. It lets two software or applications communicate with each other. Even in the cloud, it enables various applications to talk to one another, exchange data and carry out the pass-through transactions seamlessly. Simply say, it is the conduit that connects data warehouses. Many small to big organisations capitalise on virtual reality driven business intelligence to save money in data processing. Certainly, the credit to supply data for deriving intelligence goes to the APIs.


    For example, TwitterTrips tap to the APIs of one’s Instagram and Twitter photos for showing them on the map. Their APIs support it to track those details with ease. 


    What is its role in developing business intelligence?


    To Set a Connection: As aforementioned, the data warehouses are a pool which APIs connect with one another over the internet. It enables an easy flow of information from one application to another.


    For example, the online classified web owner wants to integrate “Pick Up Drop Off” service. The business analyst could suggest logistics APIs as a source to pull out the requisite data. Here, the API of logistics platform should be approached to draw the information. It is where the connection, indeed, sets up in reality between the logistics and the classified website. The business analyst could churn through logistics details of individuals to configure inputs for the “Pick Up Drop Off” service. 


    To Manipulate Data: Manipulation is all about controlling what you intend to. The APIs, being a linking point, could play a manipulative role. While communicating internally within a system, they could interact with the services of external parties. The programmer executes the relevant code to define the way of manipulation, apart from handling basic errors. All this he does from the back of the stage while complying with the privacy and confidentiality directives. In essence, the programmer interferes with the relevant data only.   


    To Sail Across Challenges: However, APIs could not directly counter challenges. But, the intelligence driven through the extracted data can be turned into a weapon to end a business problem.


    Quikr operated CashNoCash app has displayed this fact. In November 2016, when India enforced demonetization, withdrawing cash from the ATMs was a can of worm. This application sailed the users across this challenge. Its APIs integrated with the crowdsourced data of banks. This is how, its API assisted users with the information -“if cash is available in the nearest ATM” and also “how long would they have to wait in the queue”.  


    To Verify Veracity of Users: The banks often verify the trustworthiness of users before sanctioning the loan. A decade ago, this verification was typically a mess. A lot of paper work was carried out in the background.


    But now, as the customer enters his debit card details, the embedded APIs –for example Aadhaar API in India- could unfold his CIBIL score. Thereafter, the bank does not require any other personal information about the loan seeker.  And, the best part is its jiffy processing. The verification could be done in the blink of an eye.


    To Develop Business Intelligence: This point sticks around making a profit. The organisations require a viable plan based on the real-time facts and figures.  Recently, McKinsey foresaw that it could make as much as $1 trillion from across the globe through redistribution of its revenues across linking organisations and technologies. The APIs driven data provided it with a significant data to prepare a competitive battleground for accomplishing this goal.  

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