You’ve heard the term API before, you’ve undoubtedly interacted with one, but what exactly does it do?
Today, connectivity between technology is crucial for clean data and efficient processes. For instance, you wouldn’t hire an employee to count inventory by hand every time there is an online inquiry. Additionally, you wouldn’t start making/ordering new inventory until that employee notices that you are out of stock. APIs at their core push and pull crucial data between two systems, automating operations and maximizing efficiencies.
What is an API?
At its most basic level, an API lets one piece of software talk to another piece of software. APIs define the rules that programs must follow in order to interact with another programming language, software library, database, or other software tool. APIs make it possible to move information between programs, automating activities that were once done manually.
How does an API work?
There are two different ways APIs collect and share data; push and pull.
Push – The system you want to connect to has an API, allowing your software system to write programming code to connect to it and marry the two systems. Both systems can push data back and forth to ensure all data is up-to-date no matter which system you’re in. Most integrations listed on the 365 Cannabis product roadmap are set up to push data.
Pull – The program you want to use doesn’t have an API or your software system hasn’t integrated to that program yet. If this is the case, they can integrate to your system with read-only access to your data. This way, your system can expose data (item list, inventory, customer information) and display it elsewhere.
Regardless of the methodology, APIs clearly define exactly how a program will interact with the rest of the software world.
Why should I use an API?
Streamlined processes, and automation significantly maximize efficiencies for success and growth. APIs can reduce and eliminate manual data entry in areas of your operation. Because the APIs simply provide data, there are no limits on how your company can use and present that data. These programs can be automated to happen automatically or run on a schedule. API integrations can save businesses time, money, and sanity by reducing manual data entry/retrieval as well as human error.
Example of API Data Connectivity
Your company has a website that lists the products you sell and the inventory/stock levels. Since you have an API connecting the two systems, that webserver accesses the 365 Cannabis database (with the inventory data) and retrieves up-to-date inventory levels to be displayed on the website. Now, anyone that visits your website can see exactly what you have in stock and can request accordingly.
365 Cannabis integrates to some incredible, cannabis-specific platforms including Leafly, Weedmaps, Sprout, and Shopify. Learn more about our current APIs and checkout our product roadmap to see what new and exciting integrations are coming soon.