What is an API Integration for Government Software?
APIs make it easy to share data securely. It keeps your data safe but makes it available to others without coding. If your agency is still relying on legacy software applications that do not provide for easy integration, an API is an easy way to make your data available.
What is API Integration?
API integration incorporates an application programming interface (API) to allow communication between different software components, often within different programs.
Here’s a simple definition of API for us non-technical types: an API lets applications talk to each other and exchange data. If you’re using one piece of software, an API automatically pulls the data from other sources so you don’t have to leave the application to go find it somewhere else.
- The National Centers for Environmental Information, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), uses APIs to cull various data sources to provide more than 50 different visualizations.
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has an API that lets travel websites access flight delay information within their sites to simplify their business processes.
- The Department of Homeland Security uses APIs as part of its E-Verify program for organizations by matching submissions against public databases for pre-employment checks.
The Benefits of Government Using API Integrations
APIs allow for greater information sharing among agencies and with citizens. It reduces the tedious workload for agency staff to find and collect data and assures that accurate and updated information is available.
Here are 10 reasons you need API integration for your government agencies.
Government agencies compile information from multiple data sources. This creates tremendous inefficiency when staff has to juggle multiple sources or there are gaps in data within programs. APIs reduce the manual work for staff and IT teams.
APIs create a more efficient workflow and also help make information available more freely. For example, in Delaware, court case schedules, assessed fees, and fines, and payments were all stored on separate legacy systems. Administrators would have to search several databases to find pertinent information for citizens. With API integration, today citizens can do it all online or via phone without requiring staff to do it manually.
API integrations are also being used to accelerate the move toward paperless government for more efficiency, better organization, and cost savings. Digitization of information also makes access easier, which allows government agencies to be more responsive to public queries.
With APIs, you are providing the information without providing direct access to your database. You choose what information to share and how it’s shared. While providing real-time data, you are also keeping your database secure from hackers.
Accessibility and Remote Work
APIs make data available to any authorized user on the cloud, whether they are using a website, social media, or mobile app. For example, a mobile app company might use a government agency locator API to show nearby police stations using GPS information from a user’s phone.
As offices transitioned to remote work, APIs made it easy to maintain operations by providing access to data without needing a physical connection to servers.
Because of the way APIs function, users always have access to the latest available data sources. When data gets updated in a government database, it’s automatically refreshed in applications anytime someone accesses it. This assures data accuracy.
As government agencies have evolved, they’ve continually added to legacy systems that may or may not work together. This makes it easy for data to end up in silos and is difficult and time-consuming to find and gather. APIs allow a simple way to collate information across various sources to eliminate data in silos.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is using APIs to eliminate data silos stuck in what Brad Bouten, Director of the IRS Enterprise Case Management Office, calls a “spaghetti map” of data that flows across tangled systems.
Other benefits include:
- Cost savings: Developing and deploying an app can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). APIs reduce development costs.
- Increased productivity: 59% of organizations leveraging APIs report productivity increases as their biggest benefit. Automation can handle many tasks that need to be managed manually.
- Encourages innovative solutions: APIs remove friction between separate data sources, cloud services, and legacy systems. This makes it easier to develop new and innovative solutions to solve significant problems.
- Deeper analysis: APIs allow the collation of information across various data sources and facilitate an easier way to analyze data.
- Data availability: APIs allow the information gathered by government agencies to be available in real-time to other agencies and citizens.
Government API Integration
API integration for government offices does not have to be complex. Today, new tools have evolved which make APIs simple to create and use.
Government Agency iPaaS
Government agency iPaaS lets IT teams deploy and maintain integration flows without using specialized hardware. Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) removes the complexity of managing multiple systems and getting them to work seamlessly.
iPaaS API integration platforms allow users that are not developers to make data exchange, application integration, cloud data warehousing, and other applications easier. For government IT managers, iPaaS provides integration services that streamline workflow at the same speed as regular APIs using automated tools. With iPaaS, you can manage all of the different environments and information channels through one cloud user interface, connecting cloud and on-prem systems.
By providing one central hub for government agencies for moving and synchronizing data sources, documents, and workflows, legacy systems can easily be integrated with other applications the agency uses, including SaaS integration.
No Code Connectors
With no code connectors, you get easy access to APIs without having to write server-side code. This also reduces complexity and makes government APIs simpler to integrate within agencies, consumer-facing applications, or third-party distribution.
For example, Velosimo has partnered with Accela to provide no-code, off-the-shelf API integration connectors that can be instantly deployed by government agencies, including integration with Cityworks, Tyler, Laserfiche, Bluebeam, Docusign, GovOS, and more.
Cross Department Data Collaboration
One big advantage of API integration is collaboration among departments.
For example, social services agencies can use cross-department data to fight fraud to verify eligibility for benefits by quickly checking with other state or federal services. During emergencies such as natural disasters, agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Homeland Security, and others can use APIs to coordinate with other agencies by pulling together data from weather systems, traffic management, social networks, and local government agencies.
Government Software Integrations
Velosimo provides government software integration that is predictable, consistent, secure, and foolproof with no-code technology connectors built explicitly for government agencies. We create a connected experience that helps government agencies deliver a connected experience to provide better service, increase efficiency, and lower costs.
With simple and easy no-code setup and maintenance, Velosimo offers off-the-shelf connectors built for specific government use cases and interoperability.
To learn more or get a demo, contact Velosimo today.