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What Are APIs? Application Programming Interfaces for HR Software Vendors

APIs allow applications to exchange data and functionality. What exactly are they? And how do they work? Learn more about how HR software vendors can use these secure and resource-filled interfaces.

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It's no secret that the world of work is constantly changing, and more and more of your customers are using people data and analytics to adapt to these changes and gain agility in managing their workforces. 

While introducing these analysis tools often involves major work and investment, there are alternatives that allow access to these functional bricks in a flexible way without the overhead in resources, time, and money: APIs. What are APIs? How do they work? 

What are APIs?

An API (application programming interface) is a system of protocols that makes data, services, or functionalities of an existing application accessible to another application. By using an API, developers can build new applications or add new features to an existing application by leveraging the resources of another application.

In other words, using an API allows development teams to access new information or functionality from existing software without having to recreate or redevelop it.

How do APIs work?

APIs are designed to allow systems to communicate with each other. So, it’s important—and necessary—to set up specific protocols to ensure the security of the data exchanged between applications. 

Secure access: a necessary step

Access rights are essential to make use of the contents of APIs. Most APIs require an API key to secure communications and exchanges between applications. This authentication process ensures that data, services, and functionalities are used only by authorized persons.

Making data, services, and functionality available

Once access control has been established and an API has been granted access to an existing application, it can make the application's content available to other applications or users. This process is often referred to as "exposing" the content.

While APIs can enrich and augment existing applications, they are generally not visible directly to end users. The content usually blends into the original applications.

What are the benefits of using people analytics APIs for software vendors?

According to SlashData’s 19th Developer Economics Survey, over 90% of developers use APIs, and 30% of their time is spent coding APIs. Using APIs in the context of a people analytics or HR analytics approach has many advantages. Building with these connectors allows you to leverage the best technology and:

  • Boost the performance of your application by accessing new functionalities based on innovative and iterative technologies 

  • Get to market quicker without compromising value

  • Reduce the time, costs, and risks associated with the implementation and deployment of complex applications

  • Automate your customers’ time-consuming tasks using powerful algorithms (e.g., matching certain data and/or strategic indicators) 

  • Unlock access to new static or dynamic data to better inform decision making (e.g., automatically updated business and skills data, salary benchmarks)

How can you use APIs to enrich your people data?

Depending on the data you need, APIs can provide a range of insights, including: 

  • The skills associated with a given training 

  • Training to suggest to an employee based on their profile

  • The list of skills associated with a given occupation 

  • Suggested career paths for a given job 

  • A list of employees who most closely match an internal vacancy

  • The matching of scores between resumes and a job posting

  • Salary benchmarks to inform hiring, promotions, and pay equity processes

  • Trend of retention rates in specific industries

  • Benchmarks of diversity ratios compared with similar companies

APIs are a powerful tool for HR software vendors, providing a range of benefits that help to improve the user experience, reduce errors, and increase efficiency for HR teams and their employees.

Learn more about pre-built embedded analytics tools:

On the Outsmart blog, we write about workforce-related topics like what makes a good manager, how to reduce employee turnover, and reskilling employees. We also report on trending topics like ESG and EU CSRD requirements and preparing for a recession, and advise on HR best practices how to create a strategic compensation strategymetrics every CHRO should track, and connecting people data to business data. But if you really want to know the bread and butter of Visier, read our post about the benefits of people analytics. 

See how Visier, the #1 People Analytics solution on the market, embeds within your product.

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