ERP interfaces can, in theory, be accessed directly by software applications. Many teams looking for quick solutions to integrate with ERPs choose to wire their applications directly to the ERP. The primary advantage of doing this is the initial time to write a single application. But the next project comes along, and IT writes more and more of this custom code, which turns into a spaghetti-shaped mess. Each custom code integration becomes a black box, where teams are unable to reuse what was developed. Over time, the system becomes increasingly coupled, brittle, and opaque. As new digital channels emerge and more devices are needed, custom code becomes increasingly complex, and this approach doesn’t scale.
With an application programming interface (API) approach, every asset, application, or system becomes a managed, modern API that is discoverable through self-service while maintaining security policies. APIs allow you to mediate ERP customizations and logic while orchestrating across multiple systems, simplifying your integrations between connected applications while creating a scalable, plug-and-play infrastructure. Further, this approach provides consistent, managed, and secure access to each system.
The heart of this methodology is seamless coordination between IT, sales, marketing, and other lines of business. Once APIs have been built, multiple business lines and stakeholders can discover, collaborate, and leverage these integration assets, reducing the burden on central IT while standardizing integration best practices. This API reusability is a significant benefit, allowing new integrations to leverage previous work, thereby accelerating development.
A proven strategy to unlock additional insights includes:
- Create building blocks: Leverage APIs to externalize data and functionality from core systems like partner information into discrete, consumable services.
- Orchestrate processes: Enable cross-functional access to these processes and combine them into new workflows that help every team understand how customer behaviors and intent affect sales.
- Expose assets as a service: Increase scale and create new business opportunities by leveraging a shared library of assets to drive the consumption and productization of those applications.