Zoho has been upgrading their API from version 1 to version 2 for individual products over the past year with the goal of moving the entire Zoho suite to their latest API version.  Amongst other things, this version of the API has improvements that make it easier for developers to work with and uses the more secure industry standard OAuth 2.0 protocol.

This got me thinking about companies not using the powerful potential these API’s have.  Zoho is of course not the only one working hard on their API.  Every major cloud software provider will have an API in one way or another and it is worth taking a look to check whether the software that you use has an API that can be used to better support your business processes.

In the situation we’re currently in, it becomes more and more important for your software applications to communicate with each other.  When implemented well this will save you time, money, resources and reduce human error.  So how does an API help you with all of these things?

Firstly – What are API’s?

API stands for application program interface and they have been around for a long time.  It is a way of exposing functionality (routines) from one software component to another using an agreed upon set of instructions (protocols).
Cloudtech API
Think about the simple copy and paste functionality.  This is actually a complex set of instructions for a computer where it has to take text from your screen, store it into a specific part in the memory which cannot be overwritten and needs to be made available again when you press paste.  Instead of every software component having to implement this type of functionality for themselves, Windows has made this available through an internal API – so the software component only has to tell it to copy and Windows will handle the rest.

With the rise of cloud software, software providers have started making their functionality available through similar API’s allowing anyone to access them, usually by using an authentication protocol to prove you are allowed to access the service.  Some examples would be Google Maps, Twitter or YouTube having embedded widgets on websites.

So – How does it apply to you?

Now that you know what an API is, how can you leverage it to improve your business processes?

Imagine you are using a CRM (Zoho CRM for instance) to handle your Sales process.  After closing a deal with your Client you need a contract to be signed for which you use a digital signature solution (Zoho Sign or DocuSign) and to share the contracts and other documents easily you use a cloud storage solution (Zoho WorkDrive, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.).  In your current ‘non-API’ process you close the sale, then have to generate the contract using mail merge, upload this so that you can send it through your digital signature solution and finally create a folder on your cloud storage and copy paste the signed contract in the folder.

This process is time consuming, repetitive, error prone and because of those factors – expensive.

Using API’s we have completely automated such processes for clients.  When you close your deal your CRM can automatically generate your contract and send it to your digital signature solution using it’s API.  When the contract comes back signed your digital signature solution can tell your storage solution to create a new folder and place the contract there using it’s API.  Lastly your storage solution can tell your CRM that a new folder has been created for a contract and attach it there so you will not lose track of your signed contracts.  Finally your CRM would send you an alert letting you know that it has finished.

All of that without any human intervention, done every time without fail.

When we’re working remotely it’s important to know that information is captured correctly and in the right place, shared with those who need it and done on time. Automating your business processes allows you to work smarter, better, cheaper and faster.

Have a look at your IT landscape and leverage the power of your API’s and of course Cloudtech would be more than happy to assist.

Please feel free to call me at any time on +353 87 7213 487.

Mark Scheffel ¦ Technical Director ¦ mark.scheffel@cloudtech.ie
www.cloudtech.ie