Business leaders are under extreme pressure to implement digital changes in response to the current crisis rapidly. They’re searching for technologies that will set them on a course and deliver fast results, like over-hyped RPA or old fashion API-led integration. Do you need both so your company can have maximum impact?
It was time to dig deeper into Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Application Programming Interface (API). RPA is a technology that’s been around for some time now. But with the latest developments in API development, we can take this one step further to help identify the best ways of leveraging integration and automation potential. Read on to learn more information about API and RPA.
An Application Programming Interface (API) lets two programs talk with each other and provide an interface that allows one piece of software to request information from another process or perform some action on its behalf. Allowing developers access to any data needed without having direct control over either program being accessed via this type of connection.
API and RPA: Competitors or Partners
API and RPA are like two sides of the same coin – both technologies seek to reduce or eliminate human intervention from business processes that deal with information exchange. However, their approaches differ significantly in how they go about this goal. While one relies on human manual work (including inputting data), another employs machine learning techniques for automated processing.
RPA and BPA were both technologies created in the 90s to automate tasks that humans previously did. While RPS robots (or bots) mimic human actions, they interact with applications via their UI instead of doing something more complex. These bots carry out routine work performed by people within organizations using simple commands given from off-the-shelf software libraries.
The API is the key that opens up all of your digital plumbing for you. With it, any software system can be connected to other applications and enabled with direct communication capabilities without an arduous process.
There are many ways that technology can be used in a business to improve performance and efficiency. One popular solution, RPA or API, has been seen as a less technical option with faster results for those who don’t want to invest too much time in it compared to the coding process, which requires expertise from within your company.
On the other hand, with rare exceptions, IT departments favored API-led integration solutions.
The API concept is not new; it was born in the 70s, and some even date it back to 1940.
APIs are a way to connect different parts of an application and enable them to communicate with each other. APIs act as bridges that pass information from one side (the outside) securely into the system, then back out again so it can be used by any other part inside or outside your program, depending on how you want to use it.
Systems and applications have been a part of businesses for years, whether on-premise or cloud-based. The sheer amount of data stored within these systems is staggering; if processed correctly, they could become an invaluable tool in your company’s growth strategy.
The difficulty in copying data across different tools causes bottlenecks within the company’s systems.
By automating business processes with an API, companies can streamline their workflows and eliminate humans from the equation.
API-led integration benefits
Reliability: The interface to your system is like a bridge that doesn’t change with every new release. The API-based connections are incredibly robust, so you can rely on them for years without worrying about their stability changing or crumbling under pressure.
Unlock legacy systems: APIs provide an easy way to tap into the power of your old system and make it work like new ones again.
Scalability: Organizations often learn that a successful pilot or departmental software launch does not guarantee success at scale. Different applications and systems can consume API-based services designed with increased traffic. If these APIs deal successfully enough to handle significant increases of their kind, then there should be no problem.
Maintainability: The potential for a centralized approach to API design and development is an advantage that many platforms offer, as it can help manage APIs in one place from the start-to-finish.
Reusability: Well-designed and developed APIs can be used by different organizations for various processes, making future integration development much less time-consuming.
Market expansion: Using APIs has allowed companies to create new experiences and offer personalized services for their customers. This will enable access to vast amounts of information about users.
Better and richer data: APIs offer a unique opportunity to access and combine all types, sizes, or complexities in one system – legacy systems from years ago and modern-day ones built on top of your company’s needs today. This enriched information can be processed into rich analysis, giving you even more insights about what’s happening within business operations.
Flexibility: APIs can be used almost anywhere in IT. Any developing system or application should expose its services and data to the world through secure, controlled means.
Long-term strategic approach: When the only way to integrate is through an API, it can be challenging for some. The upfront costs and lack of use cases may prevent them from beginning their Integration journey with APIs in this instance. API-based solutions can be a great way to provide value for your company’s data while also achieving ROI. The best results come when an organization starts small and gradually rolls out the API-based approach with reusability and scalability principles in mind – applying them company-wide will get you returns.
Complexity: APIs must be designed according to well-established standards and with reuse in mind; otherwise, they might become difficult or nearly impossible for developers who use them on different platforms.
Serious investment into training: The investment into training to become an expert in API-led integration set up, development, and maintenance is not one you should take lightly. The highly qualified experts that are needed have demanding jobs with long hours, so they can continue providing excellent service for your company’s needs.
Partnership of API and RPA
The decision to use an API-led or robotic automation platform is not easy, and the process becomes more challenging as both options have their benefits.
This is why no single software tool can entirely offer the power, intelligence, and capabilities to replace human agents. The solution? A combination of machine learning algorithms and skilled professionals who understand how best to use them for your business needs!
The future of automation is now hyper-automation. As more and more technologies become available, there’s no sign of consolidation with just one approach in mind – API integration must also be considered alongside RPA or AI (Artificial Intelligence).
API and RPA collaboration
The boundaries between API-led integration and Robotic Automation are becoming increasingly blurred as these technologies begin to overlap.
Integration bots are the new generation of robots that use human-like UIs to make quick exchanges between systems with minimal APIs. They’re an excellent solution when you need automated information exchange but don’t have time or energy for programming.
Many service-based software tools consider UI their primary communication channel and therefore care little about providing API-based access. In this context, integration bots play the role of APIs by integrating with other technologies that give the developers more robust capabilities to build upon existing platforms or create new ones from scratch without depending on third-party libraries/frameworks.
The idea of citizen developers building bots sounds great in theory, but it’s not always so simple when you look closer. Firstly, coding can be complex because no-code software tools are usually minimal, and they don’t allow for more complex processes to happen without having an expert developer on hand.
Furthermore, to turn business users into citizen developers, considerable cultural changes and training must occur.
We’re not just about creating a personal robot but an industrial-grade one for organizational use. Many risks need addressing, such as security and data privacy concerns–not to mention access control.
Robotic automation has solved many of the world’s problems for decades. While there are many different types and styles, they all have one thing in common. Bots created by professionals rather than business users can handle very complex processes without fail while being developed much faster than traditional ones – sometimes at lower prices too. Moreover, these robots are more stable and robust if anything goes wrong.
Can RPA perform API calls?
Many API management platform providers have also realized the potential of using an automated integration between Robotic Automation and APIs. They partner with RPA vendors to offer connectors for easy, secure access, which makes it possible through this type of partnership agreement that you can automate tasks by having all your applications communicate seamlessly.
- Bots perform API calls. The most efficient way to work is with a back-end platform. This means that bots don’t require as many maintenance-related UI changes and are also cheaper.
- API calling bots. Robots are the perfect solution for those who have difficulty inputting data into legacy platforms. These bots can automate that process and pass information onto APIs, making them more accessible.
The importance of APIs is often overlooked in digital transformation. It’s time to change that because they are vital for success. The new trend toward consolidating API integration alongside Robotic Automation can help companies overcome these obstacles by moving away from traditional human involvement into automation instead.
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