Whether you are a fledgling startup or an established enterprise, B2B integrations are essential for operating your business in today's software landscape. Companies must be able to interact with an ever-expanding network of third-party software vendors. Businesses use B2B integrations to connect their software.

However, building, maintaining, and scaling these integrations is both challenging and time-consuming. Non-uniform data fields, sudden API changes, B2B API authentication and increasing demand for new integrations can pose a significant problem. Despite the considerable investment of time and developer resources, integrations often falter in function, scalability, and accuracy. This is particularly pronounced for fragmented categories like Banking, Accounting, CRM, HRMS, and E-commerce, where the costs associated with development and maintenance can quickly spiral out of control.

Unified API (also known as universal API)
was created to address the issue of building scalable B2B integrations.

This blog post will cover what makes a unified API unique, examples of unified APIs, their benefits, and their potential hurdles.

The Problem with B2B Integrations Today

Before delving into the details of unified APIs, it's essential to understand the problem with B2B integrations today. The process of building, maintaining, and scaling these integrations is fraught with challenges.

Onboarding to a new API involves:

  • Researching documentation
  • Handling custom objects and fields
  • Figuring out security schemes and managing different authentication methods
  • Testing the API

Once integrated, maintaining connections introduces additional hurdles, such as adapting to new API versions, updating outdated documentation, and dealing with opaque rate limits. This process is challenging, time-consuming, and takes away from you building your core product.

Aggregating multiple APIs from different providers amplifies these problems. The lack of standardisation makes it difficult for middleware applications to establish reliable connections with various providers, requiring them to repeat the integration process for each unique connection.

What is a Unified API?

A unified API (Or universal API) aggregates APIs in the same software category like accounting, HRMS, CRM, and e-commerce. It makes integration with various platforms easier through a standard endpoint, handling authentication, and normalised data models.

A unified API presents a standardised set of endpoints for accessing data and functionality across multiple systems. To achieve this consistency, a few key elements are essential:

  • Data standardisation is crucial in ensuring that data from different sources is organised and represented uniformly.
  • Single access point for all integrations and just one style of API, whether REST, SOAP, or GraphQL.
  • Common authentication. The unified API handles authentication for all underlying APIs, so developers don't have to create and manage multiple unique auth connections.

Examples of Unified APIs

Unified APIs are becoming a popular way to integrate specific software categories. Examples of unified API categories include e-commerce, CRM, banking, accounting, HRMS, and payroll. Companies like RootFi, Rutter, API2Cart, Apideck, Merge, Vessel, Plaid, Tink, Teller, Codat, Finch, and many others offer unified APIs for different software categories.

Potential Hurdles with Unified APIs

However, unified APIs also come with their fair share of possible downsides. These include potential latency due to introducing an extra layer in your setup, increased data privacy concerns when sharing confidential data with a third party, and reliability of the API aggregator.

Lastly, when a unified API creates a standard data schema by merging information from underlying systems, this approach results in limited access to specific data from each underlying system, as it establishes a lowest-common-denominator approach to data. However, we address all of these concerns. Learn how in this blog.

Benefits of Unified APIs

Employing a unified API instead of building them in-house comes with many benefits. These include lower maintenance costs, consolidated documentation, simplified webhook experience, fewer integration hurdles, and data normalisation to enable more straightforward integrations. The time and energy saved on in-house integrations can be better spent on building out your products.

Leverage Financial Data with RootFi's Unified Data

Outsourcing your integrations to a unified API provider removes the hassle of building and maintaining complex integrations, freeing up your company's resources to focus on your core product. Unified APIs are an effective way to streamline B2B integrations and make the process of building, maintaining, and scaling these integrations more manageable. With a Unified API like RootFi, you can achieve greater efficiency, reduce costs, and stay ahead of the competition.

If you're interested in exploring RootFi, book a demo here or email us at contactus@rootfi.in.

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