What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface.  With APIs, any two pieces of software can share data and work together, and they can do it all in one location in a manner that is seamless, safe, and secure.  Without APIs, a software program is cut off from other software programs, working in a silo. The only way to get information from one system to another is through manual entry or using inefficient, unreliable, old-school file transfer protocols (FTPs).  

In almost every industry, the companies and the software providers they depend on speak different primary languages.  

This is especially true in the planning and advising industry, where people trained in finance and accounting find themselves having to compare, analyze, and evaluate sophisticated software systems that challenge their technical expertise.   

Software providers keep talking about API, and you’ve worn out Google trying to figure out what those three letters really mean.  

Let us interpret.  

But, first, some words of reassurance. You don’t need to worry yourself with the finer details of how an API works to realize its importance and application to the business world. In that sense, an API is like a car. What goes on underneath the hood might be a mystery to most of us, but we all understand that a car makes our lives a whole lot easier.   

They’re all about connecting  

API stands for Application Programming Interface.  

It’s probably best here to avoid the definition you’ll find in computer science textbooks and just speak in metaphors. An API is a bridge that connects a piece of software to the outside digital world, and vice versa.  

With APIs, any two pieces of software can share data and work together, and they can do it all in one location in a manner that is seamless, safe, and secure.  

Without APIs, a software program is cut off from other software programs, working in a silo. The only way to get information from one system to another is through manual entry or using inefficient, unreliable, old-school file transfer protocols (FTPs).  

You use APIs all the time and don’t even know it. They are ubiquitous in modern technology.  

If you have a running or hiking application on your smartphone, it is using a third-party software to map your activity. The primary application and mapping program are communicating via APIs. Otherwise, that app developer would have to reinvent a new mapping program.  

If you have ever paid via PayPal on an ecommerce website, that happened because of APIs.  

Apps like Trivago or Hotels.com will make several hundred API calls into database servers for all of the major hotel chains that they have contracts with, to deliver the most up-to-the-minute pricing for rooms. How do you think the app displays the map that has these participating hotels and their prices? APIs of course. 

With APIs you can make decisions quickly, create powerful cross-platform dashboards, eliminate data silos, develop unique end-client experiences, and more.  

An invitation to collaborate 

With APIs, trusted third-party developers can receive permission to access a piece of software and connect it to another one. APIs harness the power of open and accessible architecture to create almost endless opportunities for collaboration between software programs.  

With APIs, even a modest piece of software can become a powerhouse because it is so connected to other technologies.  

Typically, modern software programs have many APIs that together constitute the software’s API library. A single API allows two software programs to perform one very specific task, like sharing the name on an account. 

Therefore, the bigger a library, the more opportunity there is for connectivity and customization and the more powerful the software can become.  

What does this mean for the planning and advising industry? 

APIs revolutionized marketing and sales with the development of powerful customer relationship management software such as Salesforce and Hubspot.  

In one easy-to-use location, those technologies use APIs to maintain contact lists, create registration forms, develop email campaigns, build landing pages, post to multiple social media accounts, monitor the performance of your content, and so much more.  

A good CRM replaces a handful of programs, or at least consolidates their functionalities all in one spot.  

Nowadays, sales and marketing teams can accomplish in an hour what would have taken someone a full day 20 years ago – all thanks to APIs.  

While slow to arrive, that revolution is finally happening in the planning and advising industry.  

You might have individual software programs that handle document management, e-signatures, client data gathering, digital marketing, client file sharing, financial planning, investment analytics, portfolio management and more. With APIs these software programs could work together to create efficiencies for your team, allowing you to spend more time away from your computer with clients.  

Moneytree Plan APIs and API security 

Moneytree’s most sophisticated software, a package called “Plan,” has an API library with about 50 API endpoints in eight categories. Because our library for Plan is so big, we are able to adapt to meet the changing needs and preferences of our users.  

And because we’re helping clients analyze financial situations, keeping client data secure is paramount at Moneytree. When connecting software programs with APIs, it’s essential to ensure that the connections are encrypted and follow top-notch security standards.  

We take API security very seriously, implementing robust measures to protect sensitive information and maintain the trust of our clients. By partnering with reputable providers like us and prioritizing security in your API integrations, planners and advisors can effectively reduce the risk of data breaches and uphold their commitment to client confidentiality.  

If you are looking for a sophisticated planning software that can connect to your other programs and that has the API technology to last you well into the future, look no further than Moneytree Plan.  

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