Importance of api's in a saas architecture

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Software as a Service (SaaS) has the potential to transform the way information-technology (IT) departments relate to and even think about their role as providers of computing services to the rest of the enterprise. The emergence of SaaS as an effective software-delivery mechanism creates an opportunity for IT departments to change their focus from deploying and supporting applications to managing the services that those applications provide. A successful service-centric IT, in turn, directly produces more value for the business by providing services that draw from both internal and external sources and align closely with business goals.

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. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.

SaaS APIs (Application-level): These APIs are also referred to as Software-as-a-Service APIs. Their goal is to help connect the application-layer with the cloud and underlying IT infrastructure. So, CRM and ERP applications are examples of where application APIs can be used to create a cloud application extension for your environment.

1.Authentication, authorization and user management API

Managing users is one of the core API services that any SaaS must have. This service makes it possible to add and remove users, as well as control access to features and data. Users should be able to manage and reset their own passwords.Here, customer’s help desk employees need be able to act on behalf of the frustrated user. Users get password and account management tools as part of their user experience, leaving the SaaS vendor to focus on the business vertical.

2. Operational data store API

No enterprise application supporting an important business process exists in a vacuum. Operational data store integrates data into a structure that makes sense for your SaaS.

It is important to make it trivial for third-party or citizen developers to integrate with our SaaS platform.

The integration API should seamlessly fit into the ESB tool chain. Take a popular commercial ESB such as Mule or an open-source one like Apache ServiceMix and can make API workable with it.

3. Usage metrics collection and logging API

Usage metrics is crucial in determining how to support, extend and monetize the application. When users call us, we will need to know what led them to the bug. Knowing how they use your application’s user interface can help you make them even more productive. Key application metrics can help predict periods of increased usage.

For a customer looking for a SaaS platform for business vertical, we will need to customize and extend it. The API is what lets you do that.

For a SaaS vendor make sure your API covers the basic needs of customers. There is no need to overcomplicate it or reinvent the wheel. Relying on existing cloud services and integration practices helps control time to market.

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