These days many businesses use Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) to provide a multitude of services to their staff, partners and clients. APIs allow businesses to access or manipulate data in a structured way. For example, a bank might have an API which enables customers to carry out financial transactions from their smartphones. Companies will never expose their financial back-end directly on the internet but will use API management as a shield around internal applications.
Your business is part of a vast digital ecosystem of partners, suppliers, subcontractors and competitors. When choosing between business partners, there are many factors to consider. But assuming that company A and company B offer your business equal financial opportunities, which is the more attractive business partner? Company A makes it easy to connect, removes barriers and makes working together straightforward. While Company B is not ready to join the digital ecosystem, their infrastructure is means that unintended delays are inevitable before they can begin working with you as a partner. Unless you enjoy having complicated working relationships you would almost certainly choose Company A.
Now consider which kind of business partner you are compared to your competitors. Ask yourself how easy you can collaborate with partners.
If you’re not sure whether your stakeholders can easily connect with your digital ecosystem, then working with you is probably more complicated than you think. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Choosing to work with external partners can mean opening up new business opportunities, markets and reaching new customers. But is it possible to do this without compromising on security?
In virtually every case a potential partner chooses the company that is easier to connect with. If your business is putting up barriers to working with partners then you are less anchored in the market, and your competitors have the commercial advantage. The more delays your business has in connecting with partners, the more opportunities your competitors continue to enjoy by comparison.
The same reasoning applies to attracting new customers. Your potential customers want ease of access across multiple channels. They will not wait for responses or stay on hold on the phone to a customer service call centre. They need to feel that you are accessible and available to them, across every channel. They want to feel as though they are dealing with your company at every touchpoint, rather than with a sub-contractor.
Or as a business with clunky technology that is unresponsive to its customers? A good place to start is by considering these questions:
Having a robust API management service helps your business to be more attractive to potential partners. API management allows you to ease, structure and secure the APIs you expose to your clients, partners and suppliers.
You can track, control, and invoice your API consumers with a platform that encapsulates your data consumers from internal infrastructure. API management removes many of the challenges that using APIs can pose such as security of data, creating and implementing a governance process. This gives you flexibility and reduces the time to market for new products and services. So you can retain your loyal customers, attract new ones and work with new partners.
An example of API management in action is with a bank using third party application services. The bank continues to use its branding by white-labelling an existing software system. The customer data is secure and customers are unaware of the third party software. The bank continues to be their only point of contact.Benefits:
Another example of a financial institution using API management is shown below. In this case, the bank wanted to offer an additional product, insurance, to their customers. However, the bank wished to maintain its control over the entire value chain.
When a customer submitted a claim the bank arranges the follow up using outside partners, such as claims assessors. After selecting multiple partners and once all parties have agreed to the process, the bank remains at the top of the chain. As far as the customer is concerned they are only dealing with their bank throughout the entire process, from choosing an insurance policy to filing a claim online.Benefits:
While both examples here concern financial institutions, the business benefits of API management apply to businesses in every sector. API management allows your business to roll out new products and services more easily by collaborating with third parties. Your business’s valuable brand identity is protected and consistent across multiple channels. Your customer’s data is secure and under your control. Your IT department can set the governance process and API management ensures that all APIs follow the same structure, thus ensuring stable and secure operations and maintenance.Business outcomes