How many times have you heard business partners complain about the cost and complexity of B2B onboarding? You wish you could offer them a better solution, but your hands are tied. That is, until now.
API can ease B2B onboarding for partners. Read on to learn what APIs are, how they work, and how you can utilize them to simplify the B2B onboarding process for partners.
What Are APIs?
API stands for “application programming interface.” APIs allow applications to consume data. The best way to conceptualize them is to think of them as electrical outlets.
An electrical outlet allows you to consume electricity by plugging in a device. When you plug a device into an outlet, there’s a standard flow of electricity into it. The same holds true of an API; when it connects an application to a data source, the information flow is standardized.
How Do APIs Work?
Similes aside, how do APIs work? APIs allow an application to communicate with a remote data source through a series of calls. Web services (a collection of technological standards and protocols) manage these back-and-forth calls.
APIs run silently in the background, so users do not even realize they are there. They enable apps to consume the information they need so that users get the results they want.
B2B Onboarding and APIs: A Great Combination
Now that APIs’ definition and functionality are clear, consider how they can help with the B2B onboarding process.
Many firms still use EDIs to exchange information between trading partners. Yet, APIs are becoming a popular way to transmit data, too, for a few reasons.
For a start, APIs support real-time information as well as mobile and IoT data. Even more significantly, APIs present a lower-cost option than EDI systems. It is easier and faster to integrate them into data sources, which makes them cheaper because developers do not have to spend as long creating them. APIs also enable the automation of EDI transfers and integration, on their own or as part of a hybrid integration platform.
Here is an example of how APIs can work. Suppose that Jamison Ball Bearings has ordered a shipment of raw materials from a supplier. The supplier uses an EDI system but has implemented B2B integration APIs to ease the partner onboarding process.
“APIs support real-time information as well as mobile and IoT data.”
Jamison does not use an EDI system, though it does use APIs. Thanks to APIs, Jamison employees can run a query about where a shipment is in the supply chain so they can plan production accordingly. Jamison appreciates how B2B integration APIs allow it to get the information it needs to run efficiently.
APIs make the partner onboarding process smoother and simpler due to their lower cost and ease of integration. They have a significant role to play in the B2B integration environment because they enable real-time data as well as mobile and IoT information transfer. To learn more about how APIs can help you onboard partners and work with your EDI environment, get an EDI Assessment. Absolutely free.