If you examine the different software systems that make up your business, you might never have considered whether the developers of those products published open APIs. And it may seem completely irrelevant. However, deploying systems from companies with open APIs makes your software suite more flexible and increases the power of your data analytics.
What Are Open APIs?
Open APIs are communication channels that software developers make available to other developers for free. APIs provide an interface for one application to send and receive data from another application. Typically, they allow software engineers to access and use the functionality of another developer’s code.
For example, Google Maps has created and released an open API for its map application. If another software company wants to develop an application with a mapping function, it can use the open API to access Google Maps and use that instead of building their own.
Open APIs enrich the software world by allowing developers to re-use good functionality. They help standardize software systems, user interfaces, and data formats. And they help businesses deploy applications faster because they don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.
Some industries have also published open API frameworks so software products targeted at that market can standardize, increasing compatibility between systems. The Restaurant Technology Network, for example, released an open API framework in 2021.
Why You Get More Value from Analytics Based on More Data
Data analytics is a type of machine learning. Computers use algorithms to process information and extract trends and patterns. It works like most other forms of artificial intelligence in that you get more accurate and complete conclusions with better input. So, the more data you can include in the analysis, the better.
You likely have several systems collecting information across your business, including checklist apps, registers, order systems, billing systems, payments, and inventory management. When you don’t have a way to communicate and share data, analytics can only evaluate one piece of your operations at a time, and you won’t produce a comprehensive evaluation of your business.
Open APIs Support Broad Data Collection
With open APIs, data analytics applications can compile information from different products and analyze them together. For example, if there’s a Bluetooth temperature monitor on food storage equipment, and it can share data with your audit app through an open API, you can analyze that information and get a picture of employee and machinery performance together.
Using this combined data, you may learn that current maintenance procedures miss critical steps for keeping equipment in good working order. Then you can update those procedures or retrain employees on maintenance to fix the issue. With more comprehensive input made possible by open APIs, the analytics software will calculate trends you can act on to increase efficiency and protect margin.
Why It’s Important to Partner with Companies Who Publish Open APIs
Vendors with an API-driven strategy tend to provide software that integrates well with other systems. Instead of having siloes of data from applications that don’t communicate with each other, technology integrated over open APIs allows you to collect business data from multiple sources, compile it together, and run analytics on the whole set. As a result, your integrated applications generate a clearer picture of how stores are doing and where they can improve.
For example, you might need an application for daily task checklists and another for employee scheduling. If the vendors you select publish open APIs, you can integrate the two systems. They’ll share data and run combined analytics. Analytics can correlate employee performance with the number of employees scheduled at specific times. And that insight will inform leaner, more efficient staffing over the long run.
Open APIs also help vendors deliver higher quality software at lower prices. Because software engineers can use APIs to access tested and reliable functionality from another application, they focus on optimizing their unique features without diverting resources toward rewriting existing code.
And companies with open APIs are more likely to thrive over the long term, so you can rely on them as your company grows. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies with effective interfaces compete better in the marketplace. The most popular applications also benefit from extensive user feedback, which enhances the product. And the API-driven strategy encourages more integrations with other applications, which, in turn, promotes better compatibility and higher value for your analytics.
Open APIs Improve Your Adaptability
Applications with open APIs are easy to integrate, so you have more options when implementing new technology. For instance, when COVID-19 hit, many restaurants needed food delivery, online ordering, and curbside pickup. Owners with POS and ordering systems with open APIs would have had an easier time finding online or delivery management systems that integrate with existing applications so they could respond faster to emergencies and protect their businesses.
If there’s anything you can predict about the marketplace, it’s that you’ll have to adapt to some new challenge in the future. Selecting technology with open APIs helps prepare you now for whatever you’ll face then.
MeazureUp’s Open API Strategy Boosts the Value of Your Data Analytics
MeazureUp understands the growing importance of data analytics for modern businesses. And to support our users, we’ve published an open API for other developers to access free of charge. These efforts make it easy to integrate our DailyChex and AuditApp with your other business solutions and take advantage of the insights they generate with data analytics.
MeazureUp partners with 7shifts and Givex, which combine functionality to offer comprehensive management tools. The data collected together from all areas of your business will feed analytics that highlights key success metrics and uncover new opportunities for revenue and growth.
Learn more about how our customers use MeazureUp here and give it a try for your business.