API’s have been around for quite a while. Business can’t underestimate the importance of APIs. They are essential to organisations interchanging information in real time, and bridging internal processes and systems.
API First Strategy
When companies invest in an API first strategy, the results are transformative.
Take the top billion-dollar tech behemoth like PayPal, Google and Facebook. All have third-party APIs running in the background. Enabling seamless communication and become enablers for building different revenue streams.
API-first companies like Twilio, Stripe, SalesForce, Xero are leading the pack. Stipe is one of the biggest API-first company that comes to mind. They exploded onto the payment scene. Their focus was on their partner experience, developers.
Stripe have many SDKs for the vast array of development platforms. Along with great documentation – that developers of all skill levels can work with. Not only does Stripe focus on taking payments, but also a seamless setup experience. You don’t need to fill in a PDF form to get started. An account is setup online in minutes. Where developers have instant access to test accounts, to integrate into their application.
What can we learn from an API First Approach?
What can we learn from this API first approach? How can we ease this thinking into a Digital Transformation strategy?
APIs are the building blocks of digital transformation.
First step is to ensure all your current applications, on-premise software have an API. Next, engage in a 3rd party software, like MuleSoft to consolidating the data. This will underpin and set the foundations for success.
Benefits of an API First Approach?
Getting this right, has many benefits. From top down, consolidated data facilitates accurate reporting across the whole organisation.
Ever been in a situation where you needed to do a report, and get data from two separate applications? Then combined that all into a spreadsheet?
Employee Experience Strategy
From an employee experience, centralised data can enable the communication between systems. For example, when a job gets completed, the finance application updates in real time. This can create and send the invoice to the customer. Thus reducing double handling, human error, and speeding up payment cycles.
Customer Experience Strategy
At a more familiar level, if you run an online store, or B2B customer portal, your ERP can integrate in real time. Products, inventory and orders can all be interchanging data.
On this last point, it’s important to focus on customer experience.
Let that be the driver of your API strategy.
Driving an API First Strategy
Ask the question, what would make for an amazing customer experience? Something we didn’t think before was possible.
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer, and start thinking outside the box.
What are their frustrations? How do they want to engage with your industry? Do your research. In forums, social media, and email surveys.
Think what Uber is to the taxi industry. Open your app, click a few buttons, and in minutes a car is there to take you to your destination. The backbone, API first thinking.
Give your customers the ultimate experience, and you’ll have a customer for life.
I’ll leave you with this. APIs are technology enablers that aid specific business outcomes.