What is an API?

A data revolution is happening within the private capital markets. Firms that previously relied on Excel are taking their first steps into technological investment, while many larger firms are utilising multiple applications/software solutions across their business. 

The growth of “best of breed” software provides access to a vast range of products that perform the specific task they are designed for perfectly – portfolio monitoring, reporting, accounting, CRM, investor relations, data visualisation, deal flow monitoring, and much more besides.

However, the proliferation of systems presents a challenge. How can you move data between systems, to ensure you have the right data available, to the right person, at the right time?

This is where APIs come in. Put simply, they allow systems to communicate with each other in a defined way, allowing data to be seamlessly moved and shared, without harming its integrity. 

APIs are at the heart of integrated systems and organisations.

How do APIs Work? The Hotel, the Receptionist and the Customer.

APIs (application programming interfaces) act as the gateway between applications, governing the exchange of data between them. 

But what does this actually mean? While the technicalities of how APIs function goes beyond the scope of this article, the following example should help…

Imagine you, the customer, walk into a hotel in need of a room. You need two pieces of data:

  1. The availability of a room. 
  2. The price of a room.

For the transaction to work, you need this information from the hotel’s database. 

However, the hotel has much more information within its database that it doesn’t want to share – the names of those already checked in, the discounts provided to other customers, how many rooms are available, etc. It is therefore critical that access to the database is controlled and limited to just the information that is necessary for a given request. 

To govern access to its data, the hotel employs a receptionist. Their role is to interpret the customer’s request, determine what information is required and provide only that information. 

In this example, the receptionist is the API. They are the interface between the hotel and the customer – they control access to the hotel’s database, providing only the information a customer needs, and restricting access to the information they don’t.

APIs in the Private Capital Markets

You can now see the potential that APIs offer within the Private Capital Markets as the ability to share data between systems and teams opens up. 

APIs allow you to retrieve structured data from one system (your CRM perhaps) and – after transforming it – move the data into another (your portfolio management software, for example). 

The result is that you only have to maintain the data in one system, yet can access it from both. This not only ensures data consistency and integrity, it minimises workload and ensures that staff across your business have the data they need on an organisational level.

The use cases for APIs are almost endless – sharing data with investors, building client portals, providing data for visualisation, pulling in third party data for contextual analysis and much more. The limits only come with your imagination.

The Connect Platform by it|venture

While the power of APIs is vast, some form of “data transformation” is often necessary, to ensure data compatibility between systems. Carrying out this process manually is time-consuming and prone to mistakes.

To streamline this process and meet the demands of the private capital markets, it|venture created the Connect Platform. 

The Connect Platform acts as a virtual adaptor plug, facilitating the seamless flow and transformation of data between an endless array of industry-specific data sources and targets in one, fully-automated process. 

For more information on the Connect Platform by it|venture and to learn how it can help your business, please contact us via connect@itventure.com.

Summary

The private capital markets, and in particular private equity, have evolved rapidly in recent years. As the revolution continues, it is clear that technology will play a vital role across the ecosystem.  

Ensuring that the technology you do have in place is fully integrated and working seamlessly will undoubtedly involve the use of APIs.

it|venture offer an industry-leading, data-focussed approach that ensures we fully understand your data and how to extract the maximum value from it. Our team of experts work with you to define the right data strategy, implement and integrate the systems required and continually evolve and refine your approach. 

To learn more about it|venture and understand how you can leave Excel behind, please contact us via info@itventure.com today. 

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