The Big Picture: APIs

How do you know you are using the best software to run your practice? If you aren’t currently using any software, how do you choose a solution that will work for you?

Most of us choose software because it promises to be a solution to a problem we are having. Inherent within any vendor’s sales material is a guarantee to deliver you to the promised land (whatever that is?). The truth about software is that it usually gives us a path to a desired result. However, the software does not constitute the solution itself. In truth, your ability to understand the problems and channel your resources to achieve your desired goals is the promised land.

So what the heck does an API have to do with anything? To accomplish growth, we must evolve our systems and do things better. An API allows your software to grow with you by “talking” with other software and creating synergy.

To get technical, an application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact and APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. If the software vendors allow it, third-party software developers can also use Web APIs to create software solutions for end-users.

Every software has an API, but it is important that they have an accessible or “open” API to allow for those third-party integrations. This is how we are able to connect software together to solve problems. This type of flexibility can become a technology contingency plan you should consider as you evolve your business processes. It is important to note that just because a software has an open API doesn’t mean you have access to all the data.

What’s the big picture here?

Many of your major applications have already built custom integrations with other heavily utilized services to increase the ease of use. A great example of this would be that most of the popular Practice Management Software (PMS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems integrate with QuickBooks to make your billing process simpler.

We have used open APIs to allow for multiple software solutions in a centralized location to streamline sales, collections, and document procurement processes. What makes this such a big deal is that you can eliminate a significant amount of waste while improving quality. Bridging Clio with Salesforce to Quickbooks to Infusionsoft is a superhighway to your goals rather than the typical duct-taped solution many firms hobble together. Nobody wants to be forced to use 3 to 4 different applications simultaneously to complete one process. Automating these processes will allow you to break through to the next level in growing your business and achieve an advantage over the slower moving competition.

Like anything that is worthwhile, it isn’t necessarily easy to connect software but there are shortcuts. What is important to recognize is that small businesses are increasingly able to utilize solutions that only large companies could in the past. The leverage API’s can create is simply amazing.

Imagine a situation where all business information is synthesized into a dashboard to allow an owner to manage a company by the numbers. It would be a cockpit and the owner would be the pilot. With a quick glance at the dashboard, even while on vacation, the owner could satisfy their anxiety with a quick peak at the numbers.

These gateways allow for a lot more flexibility in creating solutions and integrated processes for all of our businesses.

Dusty Speedy

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