APIs for Automation

3 Ways to Use APIs to Increase Data Automation

As 2020 comes to a close, it’s time to look forward to ways to improve your business in the coming years. One trend that will become increasingly important as we experience unprecedented market shifts in a post-COVID-19 world is augmented data management and data automation.

Augmented data management and data automation work together to improve systems. In this article we cover each as well as three ways to use APIs to automate your data systems as much as possible.

What is Augmented Data Management?

Augmented data management uses machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve operations. Augmented data management uses ML and AI to make data management self-operating. In other words, you automate your systems with augmented data management.

Augmented data management allows for real-time analysis of data because it is that quick. This means that architectures within the business can be consolidated and data silos eliminated. Data silos prevent teams from collaborating because information is not all in one place.

“Self-operating” processes can include information quality and integration, metadata management, master data management, and database management. Essentially, you want to augment your data management and eliminate manual data management as much as possible.

Augmented data management can eliminate 45% of manual data management tasks. However, with augmented data management humans are not completely out of the picture. Quite the opposite. 

By augmenting your data management, you allow yourself and your staff the ability to play a bigger role by making the final decisions regarding the suggestions presented by the augmented data. This is where automation comes in. The more your systems can do by themselves, the more time and money you have to spend on scaling.

What is Data Automation?

Again, you automate your systems with augmented data management. ML tools and AI bots conduct tedious data management tasks that would otherwise be done manually by people. As you can imagine, manual data management is slow, monotonous, sometimes redundant, and susceptible to mistakes. 

By automating tedious data management tasks, you free up your staff to spend their time making analytical decisions and scaling the business. Your data management is completed quicker with automation, and less errors save you money and the time it takes to correct them. Not only do you now have more time and manpower to utilize the data your systems have presented, but that data is even more accurate!

So what tasks can be automated?

Uploading, handling, and processing data can all be automated processes. Remember ETL: extract, transform, load. Extract data from one or more sources, transform data into the appropriate format for your system, and load that data into your database.

What data should be automated?

Data that requires frequent updates should be automated. Data that requires manipulation before uploading or processing should be automated. If you have a large volume of data, you should automate your systems. If your data comes from multiple sources, you should automate the process.

Next, we provide you with three ways APIs can be used to automate all of the above.

3 Ways to Use APIs to Increase Data Automation

  1. Data Validation API at the Point of Entry

We mentioned above how one of the great advantages of augmented data management is that it allows for real-time analysis of data. This is because data can be verified at the point of entry. 

Say, for example, you collect email addresses for future marketing campaigns by having users enter their information on a webform. The data validation API checks the validity of that email address before loading it into your database! 

The alternative is manually combing through the list, checking the formatting, filtering duplicates, and worse case scenario sending emails to invalid inboxes. That’s a waste of time and money and a good way to get spam blocked.

Searchbug offers a number of different APIs that validate information such as email addresses, phone numbers, billing addresses, and more. Save yourself time and money by automating your data entry and making sure data is accurate before uploading it to your database for use. 

  1. Data Validation API to Clean Database Periodically

Automating your data entry and validating information in real-time is a great way to improve your efficiency. However, what happens when that validated data decays? About 30% of customer data decays in the course of a year. 

What was once good, validated data could change. Email addresses can be abandoned, phone numbers change with carrier switches, people move to new addresses. If you don’t keep up with this changing data, you could waste time and money marketing with outdated information. 

The solution is to clean your database a few times a year to catch these changes. This is another process that can be automated with an API. Not only does the API catch invalid entries that were once valid, it also fills in gaps of missing information.

Say you have a customer’s billing address for their order, but now you want to text them shipping information. If you don’t have their phone number, Searchbug’s API solutions can be used to find missing contact information. 

  1. Custom API Integration

Need something specific? An API designed with your unique business model and needs in mind? Custom APIs can be built to meet your specific data needs. 

APIs seamlessly connect data from outside sources to your own website or app as well as allowing data to be retrieved within your own server. Your website might require users to do a little research before using your service or purchasing from you. Using an API, you can source that information from a third party and integrate it into your own website to prevent users from leaving your page!

Almost every website you come across allows you to share to a number of different platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, etc.) without having to visit that actual site. Travel websites might source weather information for a particular destination. These are just some examples

Ecommerce stores often link to third party payment services such as PayPal to make the payment process easier. Customers don’t have to find their wallets and interrupt their workflow, they can just use the API to upload the data they’ve stored on another site. 

This brings us to our next point: augmented data management benefits your customers too.

API Integration and the Customer Experience

We’ve talked at length about how augmented data management can benefit you and your business, but what about how it affects your customers? While it’s great for you and your business that a customer doesn’t have to leave your site to find or share information, it improves the customer experience too.

The easier your website is for customers to use, the more likely they are to continue to use it. Complicated websites get abandoned. This is especially true of ecommerce. The more time and hassle it is to move from cart to order confirmation, the more likely customers are to abandon the process.

Web forms can be enhanced with validation error messages to make the form submission process easier and more accurate. And if information is saved or filled for future orders, so much the better!

The More the Merrier

APIs are great tools to use to automate your data management. We’ve discussed many options. Therefore, it goes without saying that there’s a good chance you’ll need and have a number of different APIs to meet your needs.

It just depends on what data you have, how much of it you have, and what you need to do with it. With custom API integration, the possibilities are endless! 

Above all, remember that data automation saves time, money, and resources. Eliminating people from the equation isn’t the goal. Optimizing the role of people in your processes is. Leave the tedious tasks to AI and use your manpower for making well-informed, executive decisions using valuable data free of errors.

As we move into 2021, focus on which of your systems can be automated to improve your business in the coming year. Make sure you keep up with the market shifts in the years to come. We can help. Check out Searchbug’s API solutions today!

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