As I’m writing this there are around 12,000 public, open APIs and a large number of private systems. We can say API economy has exploded rapidly. IoT (Internet of things) devices become ubiquitous, using APIs (application programmer interfaces) to transfer data between users and systems. For us this has become business as usual. The urgency to create new business models are the factors behind such a rapid growth.
Microservices and containers
I hope you all have heard about microservices migrations during the past couple of years. Microservices and containers have been an essential part of conversation when brands, marketers, and developers are moving from legacy systems to more adaptable and flexible IT-systems. The discussion sometimes seems to come to result where microservices and dockerized containers overshadow the value of APIs in helping to create fast integrations and open digital platforms. End of the day, API is a business discussion – not technical.
Customer needs are the fuel
Management teams need to de-hype whole subject around APIs before bringing them into broader digital business strategies. In reality, many APIs are still emerging to serious stability. In my opinion Customer needs are the driving force behind most successful API programs. To match those needs you need to;
- Set up a dedicated, well-resourced API team
- Consult third-party application developers early and often
- Use web service API best practices and standards
- Design APIs to accommodate failure and provide recourse
Enhancing the customer shopping experience
Typical omnichannel reach is nowadays something like; In Person -> Website -> Mobile Apps. Brands are looking to leverage this to extended reach at your potential clients with business APIs. This extended reach is really an untapped opportunity for most brands. I’m trying to explain this in the following picture more.
Real-Time Messages APIs & IFTTT
During the past two years we have seen i.e. Facebook, Twitter & Slack release their open APIs for real-time messages. Do you feel like you can get amazing customer experience in Finland? Of course couple times in luck – but generally speaking, we are not particularly good at serving clients. The real deal with RTM combined i.e. IFTTT is that you can set really unique customer experiences with these two.
So what API means to you?
APIs are here and they are here to stay. We have plenty of opportunities around us and disruptive companies are using this economy to build their own ecosystems from the core. As I see most of us still have some doubts and questions related to APIs. Before starting anything I would ask myself:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- How do I measure it?
- Who is my target client?
- What capabilities do I have around me?
PS. I would like to thank you all for the discussion on my last blog “Agile is Death” (in Finnish). I did have a really good conversation with you and looking forward your opinions on this one. More than happy to go lunch if you want to talk about it more.