The SMB’s compass to digitalization  

3 min

Updated on Mar 2, 2023

Published on Feb 10, 2023

How an API Expert ACTUALLY Chooses His Provider: Four Essential Elements to Consider when starting

Nam Chau

Nam Chau

Marketing manager Italy

Illustration: Gawon Lee

Summary

When embarking on a new project that involves API integration, choosing the right API provider is a crucial decision. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is the best fit for your needs.

To help you make an informed decision, we spoke to our internal API expert, Ben M., about the challenges companies face and the key elements to consider.

Ben is a pre-sales engineer superstar at Yousign and is our go-to person when there's a technical doubt or blocker. He has saved the day by solving many of our business partners' technical concerns and has helped with the API integrations of top clients like Sellsy, Payfit, and Shine.

Thanks to his feedback, we can provide the four main points to consider that will help you choose the right API provider for your project.

1. First of all, define your user journey

“The user journey is often an overlooked aspect of API integration, but it's critical to the success of your project” says Ben.

When integrating additional tools, the goal is to facilitate things, not make them harder.

Whether it's for internal use or a new feature for your customer, simplicity should always be the priority. That's why it's important to clarify with your team in which phases of the process the new tool will be included and to visualize the user flow beforehand.

Avoid creating friction in processes or in your clients' experience, as this can lead to decreased efficiency or conversion.

“When discussing your project with potential API providers, be clear about your needs and make sure the provider's product can meet those technical requirements. Choose an API provider that will simplify your process, not add to the complexity,' adds Ben.

2. Good documentation is like a roadmap to success

We firmly believe that the quality of an API provider's documentation is a good indicator of the quality of their tool.

Clear, concise, and easy-to-follow steps are crucial to understanding the time to market, effort required, and possible pain points. Complex documentation should raise red flags, as it will likely lead to a longer implementation process and increased costs.

Nowadays, it's crucial for SaaS companies to focus on top-notch documentation that reflects good coding.

API documentation should include examples of every call, parameters, and responses. It should provide code samples in commonly used languages such as Java, JavaScript, PHP, and Python. The documentation should also explain each API request and include examples of error messages.

3. Security is non-negotiable when it comes to API integration

API security is crucial for the protection of sensitive data and systems. When integrating an API, it's important to ensure that the data being transmitted is secure and protected from potential threats. Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating the security of an API:

Authentication: Ensure that the API requires authentication and that strong password policies are in place.

Encryption: Check that the API uses encryption to secure data transmission, such as SSL or TLS encryption.

Regular security audits: Verify that the API provider regularly performs security audits and that any vulnerabilities are addressed in a timely manner.

Disaster recovery plan: Make sure that the API provider has a disaster recovery plan in place in case of a security breach.

By evaluating the security of an API, you can protect your data and systems, and ensure a successful and secure integration.

Security is a critical aspect to consider when selecting an API provider, and it encompasses both technical and legal considerations.

For example, if you're based in Europe, you'll want to make sure the API you choose complies with GDPR regulations and protects the data you transfer.

Similarly, if you plan to use the API for e-signatures, you should verify that the provider holds the necessary certifications for the relevant jurisdiction. It's important to consider these factors to ensure a secure and compliant integration.

Don't leave security to chance - protect your data by choosing a provider with robust security measures in place. 

4. A dependable customer service is a valuable asset.

It's common to encounter bugs or need help activating features, and having a provider with a skilled and responsive customer service team can make a big difference.

Check support channels: Find out what support channels the provider offers, such as phone, email, chat, or a knowledge base, and see if they match your preferred method of communication.

When choosing an API provider, it's important to find a reliable business partner for the long term. Don't settle for a provider that doesn't prioritize customer service - it could lead to regret in the future.

A quality API provider is a long-term investment

In conclusion, it's important to have a clear objective and vision when integrating APIs. This will ensure that you make informed decisions when choosing a provider and will increase the chances of a successful project.

It's also crucial to select a high-quality partner who values their customer service, has clear and concise documentation, and prioritizes security both from a technical and legal perspective.

With these factors in mind, you'll be on your way to a successful API integration.

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