Partners and customers need as little friction as possible when working with each other, as it saves cost and time. Having a well-documented, standards-based API available to business partners and customers gives you distinct advantage over those who do not have this setup. It not only provides a cheaper quicker solution for working together, it also shows you in a more customer considerate, tech savvy and forward-thinking light.
Whether your API project is the first or a replacement for an existing API platform, it’s a great opportunity to review and organise your business products and service offerings as a set of simple , clean and appropriate endpoints. The very process of reviewing and evaluating what should be exposed to the outside , can often bring clarity and a fresh view of how systems could better evolve on the inside of your organisation.
Imagine how much information you could capture through logging every call and every response flowing through your API gateway. Every time someone views a product on your website, every time a partner accesses data to view or book a service, every time your internal teams pull up a customer’s information. Having a central hub of traffic flow to your business can provide a very rich source for information, populating big data stores and providing real-time triggers, the possibilities for insights and predictive analytics become very real and relatively easy to pull together
Business and how we do business is changing. In order to remain competitive and relevant, organisations are finding new channels to help secure their success in the future. An API to your organisation is not just a way to integrate with existing partners and customers it’s a branch out to a new way of doing business. Being able to plug into sites and platforms which allow consumers to browse your APIs and pull your services and products in via drag and drop workflows, for example, is becoming very popular for B2C and B2B models. Your API is another digital channel to gain and retain a new generation of customers.
Bringing a new product or service to life often requires collaboration with partners and new platforms. Your API can save you time, when its most important. Quick and efficient on-boarding and data communication channels means you are prepared when you need to work with new people or platforms.
The idea of a public api suggests the main objective is to provide something to the outside world. That is not necessarily the case. When designed well, services can act as general facades to your various business units/markets. Your internal teams and applications may well be better working against well abstracted services rather than reaching down to backend systems directly. API services often aggregate or route service calls to back end systems. Building unified views (single view applications) of your business on top of those services becomes a much simpler task, reducing the number of systems your people need to work with in order to get their job done.
A dedicated API provides a platform on which multiple digital channels can depend for data and business process interactions. This reuse means your data source is the same for public web apps, mobile apps, your external integrations with partners and perhaps even your internal applications. This is powerful because we get to build a common way to interact with the organisation’s data and realise common mechanisms for logging, security, error handling, support processes and communication patterns. Bringing consistency across multiple platforms helps us maintain quality of service and support to our teams and customers.
Integration of data is an important part of any business whether you need to share information between various internal business units/ markets or if you need to share with your customers and suppliers. APIs allow for very quick and efficient integration scenarios to be realised in a fraction of the cost and time of more traditional (heavy) weight approaches allow or if you build on an as needed basis.
Security of data and information about your customers and how that information is accessed has never been as regulated and controlled as it is today. Building an API platform which acts as a hub to your organisation’s data and services allows you to build set of policies and procedures in one place. It of course doesn’t fulfil all security and access across your organisation but it goes a long way in: centralising data access, unifying on a standard authentication mechanism, employing and protection policies.
When built to modern standards for service description and security (such as Swagger and OAuth2) your services and data will work with a whole world of off the shelf tools and products, such as data visualisations , workflow orchestration or even drag and drop application frameworks. All without costly development projects to do so.
Author: Noel Ady