The Rise (And Rise) Of The API Economy

As a society, we’ve either become smarter - or maybe just lazier - about how and where we engage with businesses and services. The reality is that we want stress-free, seamless interactions with all of the products and services that matter to us, without having to go through clunky login pages and multiple, often repetitive steps.

One of the enablers that makes it possible to do this, and make our experiences increasingly intuitive and seamless, is the rise (and rise) of APIs.

Traditionally, APIs were used to resolve software integration and data problems, however, today, the business value of APIs has become abundantly evident. They’re now used to connect systems, people, places, data and algorithms, enabling personalised user experiences and supporting secure transactions.

APIs have also opened up new opportunities and value streams. By enabling a business’ services and data to be accessed and built upon, businesses can monetise their APIs, with familiar patterns for third parties to leverage. New leaders have emerged as a result, delivering new powerful services to market faster, and more efficiently, than before.

An industry that’s leading the way in is financial services. Disruptors, empowered by initiatives like Open Banking and PSD2 legislation, are spinning up new models, and new services that have integration and APIs at their core.

Take our client, Ordo - a groundbreaking payments service - for example. Through API integrations, their users can do everything from accessing the app using social logins, to sending and receiving payments quickly by linking Ordo with their open banking apps.

Whether an organisation is introducing new APIs into their business, or reevaluating existing ones, an API strategy is a critical component. It ensures best practice is embedded and API integrations are enabling seamless communication between the organisation and its user (whether they’re internal or external).

As an organisation increases the number of API integrations it has, if there’s no cohesive API strategy in place, the likelihood is that the services exposed with APIs lose visibility and it will become harder to manage them.

AND Digital has a team of experts who regularly work with organisations to analyse their current situation and then build an in-depth, comprehensive API strategy that will put them in the best place to deliver seamless API integrations.

Take our work with Avios - experts in customer loyalty - as an example.

Avios wanted to secure their position as the definitive loyalty partner of choice, and key to this was to provide their third party client partners with API integrations that would allow them to onboard their own customers quickly and provide automated updates - with improved documentation to support faster, smoother implementation.

We completed an in-depth discovery phase, including stakeholder interviews, API best practice research and an API maturity assessment, which highlighted a number of problems with Avios’ current implementation, including:

  • Complicated documentation

  • Slow integration

  • Missing key details

  • Complicated migration

Using our learnings, we build a comprehensive, multi-year API strategy for Avios with a clear, step-by-step roadmap to close the gap between Avios’ current and desired future state.

You can read the full Avios case study here.

The growth of the API Economy, among other factors, is both an indicator and enabler of a wide and impactful shift in technology standards that continues to gather pace.

Take into consideration the RDF and Linked Data movement, and the API Economy will only become more open. This requires organisations to consider specification-first delivery, automated contract and compliance testing, and the creation of rich API offerings that are available to all prospective integrators.

To keep up, organisations need to restructure their technology strategy so that data and technology systems are seen as part of a network that extends not just across their organisation, but also beyond it.

And with more and more consumers relying on integrated interactions across their most used brands, organisations need to offer new, personalised experiences to retain their users and keep up with the wider economy.

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To speak to AND Digital’s experts in API strategy and delivery, get in touch via [email protected].

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