“API integration allows organizations to streamline operations”
We spoke with Borya Shakhnovich, CEO of airSlate, about the capabilities of no-code solutions and how they help empower non-technical business users. Borya Shakhnovich discusses some tips and things to consider when developing APIs and how airSlate overcame challenges during API development.
JAXenter: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! First, let’s discuss no-code. What capabilities does no-code open up and how do APIs tie into this?
Borya Shakhnovich: In its simplest of terms, no-code solutions empower non-technical business users to build software applications without needing deep knowledge of coding. With the development of these tools, the average marketer, business analyst, or administrator can independently automate workflows or create and deploy applications without the oversight of IT.
No-code applications typically eliminates the need for API programming, which is ideal for non-technical users or smaller organizations with less resources to spare.
JAXenter: Do APIs introduce any limitations?
Borya Shakhnovich: Compared to no-code/low-code solutions, APIs require programming skills, and integrations can often demand frequent updates, which can take a significant amount of time and money. Further, APIs do not inherently pose security risks, but without proper training and oversight, there’s always the potential an API can cause a security breach within an organization.
The largest downfall — and difference — between APIs and no-code solutions is that APIs require more knowledge to start and more oversight to move forward.
JAXenter: When airSlate was designing its new API platform, what were some of the challenges you encountered, and how did you overcome them?
Borya Shakhnovich: Our signNow API eSignature platform empowers users to integrate eSignature workflows into custom apps, CRM, or websites in less than 10 minutes. We created it to be as seamless to integrate as our no-code solutions.
While we didn’t face one large-scale issue in building the API, our design team and engineers needed to create the API guided by answering three questions: What business value will this bring to our customers, who is our audience, and what can they fully gain from this API integration?
Additionally, it was critical during the design process that the API updates remained extremely user and developer-friendly, as well as scalable. Given the API was first developed seven years ago, our team had to keep updates backwards-compatible to ensure that the old and new versions of signNow could work together. Once addressed, we were able to roll out a competitive API that has an easy setup, serves companies in a way that serves strategic business needs, and prioritizes security and compliance.
JAXenter: Of course, API security and the risk of unauthorized access is also a big topic. Do you have any advice on how to ensure API confidentiality?
Borya Shakhnovich: API security and risk is certainly a long-standing topic in the industry. It’s not an unwarranted fear to question the security and compliance of APIs. Still, it is important to note that overall, there are parameters available that can make a breach due to an API extremely unlikely.
Prioritizing API security starts with understanding which APIs your organizations are using, tapping into proven authentication solutions, removing any information that isn’t meant to be shared, and finally, reducing the amount of data that’s exposed in the system.
JAXenter: How can APIs be used to transform business operations?
Borya Shakhnovich: In the case of our signNow API, users can integrate an essential business solution in a customizable way that cuts out the need for paper, printers, and ink. Additionally, signNow API reduces user frustration — i.e., how often have you been staring at a PDF or work-specific platform that seems impervious to your desire to simply insert a signature. Specifically, the API integration occurs within applications already in use, such as CRM and ERP solutions.
API integration allows organizations to streamline operations and prevent individuals from switching between applications and filling out the same data numerous times, which is a classic way to lead to entry errors. Simply put, inefficient workflows suck time and wreak havoc on the customer experience. Ultimately, the goal of APIs is to reduce the barriers to change and allow organizations to create customizable solutions for employees and customers alike that simplify processes to save time and save frustrations.
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JAXenter: Where do you see no-code/low-code solutions five or ten years from now? What does the future hold?
Borya Shakhnovich: The internet was said to be the great democratizer, and no-code/low-code solutions are a stepping stone towards widespread access to coding and technology. With more individuals than ever empowered to create and ideate through the use of no-code/low-code tools, the possibilities of innovation are endless.
In the next ten years, we’ll start to see automation touch all facets of businesses, including fulfillment, accounting, advertising, and marketing. This concept will percolate to SMBs with customer relationship automation, which I anticipate is where we’ll see the most growth in the next decade.
JAXenter: Do you have any advice or tips for API development?
Borya Shakhnovich: As a proponent of no-code tools, my main priorities for API development is ease-of-use and ease-of-onboarding. If your software is a pain to integrate with and even trickier to use once that process is done, you have an unsuccessful API that will be deemed as unusable. When building APIs, remember the business problem you’re seeking to solve, and the rest will fall into place.