API stands for Application programming interface. In layman’s terms, an API is an easy way to enable an application to interact with another application, a Web service or a cloud service. So, for example, if your enterprise development team wants to build a new application that accesses your company’s Salesforce.com data, you might use one of the Salesforce APIs to interface with the Salesforce cloud service.
APIs aren’t new, but they are becoming extremely important as enterprises undergo the process of digital transformation. In addition to utilizing APIs offered by Web and cloud service providers, many enterprises will be creating their own APIs in order to encourage outside developers to access their data and services. “APIs are the basis of every digital strategy,” Gartner’s Christy Pettey wrote in a blog post. “Despite the escalating hype about digital platforms, application leaders must not lose sight of the fact that the most essential, basic elements of digital business platforms are application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs make digital society and digital business work by connecting people, businesses and things.”