Understanding the importance of APIs in providing top-level customer experiences
Building your business in our digitalised world is all about being able to create unique value to your customers by offering them products and services wherever and whenever they want them. Customers today expect seamless multichannel services – and to provide such a level of service you need:
- Mobile apps for easy and convenient communications
- Realtime data for personalised digital services
- End-to-end integration of services for a smooth user experience
Right now, companies are operating in a multifaceted ecosystem of customers, partners, suppliers and competitors. All successful digital services like Uber or AirBnB use ecosystem integration as a unique differentiator: they create value by taking care of the entire value chain, from booking to payments.
This kind of ecosystem integration can only work if companies are able to combine data and services from multiple sources and parties into a single unified service experience for the end customer. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 10% of organisations running digital commerce will build that into a platform business to transform into digital business. Of those, 60% will utilise an open ecosystem to scale their growth.
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APIs pull it all together
Business APIs or Application Programming Interfaces have become a central part of modern IT architecture, because they allow applications to communicate with one another and they provide a controlled and scalable way to share data and functionalities. You could say that APIs are the foundation for automated transactions between business applications and ecosystem parties.
Mobile apps are nowadays almost an industry standard: customers practically assume that you provide an app for your services. To create a mobile app that their customers will use and love, companies need to use quality data that makes it possible personalise the user interface and the content by using previous purchase data, personal preferences or location data. To do this in real time, app builders need APIs that work as a secure and controlled connection point and method of providing the data in question. APIs connect the pieces of data when the information is needed and can combine multiple data sources in the background using realtime connectivity.
Service integration brings the value
Service integration allows companies to combine individual services into their business app. There are APIs for payments, location, weather, traffic, and other such common purposes. The integration of relevant services to a business application is the key to value creation in an ecosystem. For example, a view into your suppliers’ inventory enables you to make delivery promises and estimates that are valued by your paying customers. Taking care of the whole service and of as large a part of the value chain as possible makes your service the most desirable and attractive for the customer.
There are benefits of APIs both in external and internal business applications. Business apps are widely used within companies to manage internal communications, HR and for example IT services. All the points mentioned earlier are similarly relevant for the internal use of APIs. Maybe you want to personalise the app’s content based on your employees’ location or to integrate your healthcare provider’s services into your business app? These are all done via business APIs.
The Value of Business API’s in nutshell
To create superb internal and external customer service, the ability to connect, automate and use data and functionality via secure integrations is crucial. API’s can manage these challenges and are becoming a standard to do business integrations in digitalised ecosystems.
To summarise, the true value of APIs in business boils down to:
- Standardised and efficient connectivity
- Automated and secure data transfer in an ecosystem
- Scalability and reusability of assets (data, functionality)
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If you want to learn more about the possibilities of APIs in business and the ways of using Business Technology to support your company’s digitalisation roadmap, send us a message and we’ll be in touch!
About the Author
Roope Mäkelä is a CTO at Sofigate Business Technologies. He has extensive experience in working with Salesforce, a passion for well-built architecture and smooth customer experiences.