Back in the day if you wanted to build an application from scratch for a client, it took a broad skill set and considerable investment. If it was too hard to do, you might have just punted or recommended a partner provider with a more applicable skill set. But thanks to today’s APIs, you can build apps with sophisticated functionality so much more easily.

Earlier this week, Plaid, a financial services API service, announced that you could build access to any US bank into an application. The application would then figure out the best way to authenticate between the application and the bank. Prior to this, you could only connect to certain larger US institutions with Plaid, due to certain technological limitations at the smaller ones.

This capability could simplify creating an app where you need to connect to a bank for payments. Many apps require this type of connection, and it allows you to add this level of advanced functionality to an application without a great deal of effort.

The countless examples of API’s usefulness

You can connect payments with Stripe or communications with Twilio. You could take advantage of Box’s storage technology or IBM Watson’s intelligence. With a few lines of code, you can build in this highly advanced functionality without the struggle and time it would take to build it yourself, assuming you had the time and the skills to do that.

I’ve been to hackathons and watched programmers build sophisticated applications in 24 hours with all kinds of built-in functionality, from mapping to auto texting and live streaming. All of this and more is possible to build in this short time period because of the power of APIs.

Power to the programmers

APIs simplify and speed up the complex application development process. This allows your MSP to help build applications faster and better with a much smaller team, compared to what you could ever do without these external services to help you.

This ability to build apps quickly can give you an edge as a service provider, allowing you to bring your service to a new level. Not only can you help manage the administrative side of the business, you could potentially act as an extension of the operations side, by providing tools to help your clients improve their customer experience.

This is all made possible by a world where APis provide access to a set of advanced services that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. With some programming chops and the ability to connect to external services through APIs, you can now help your clients build much more advanced tools.

Photo: Den Rise / Shutterstock

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Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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