Digital transformation is a critical initiative for many businesses today. By reconsidering and redesigning your business processes, you can increase efficiency, agility, and your competitive edge in the digital economy.
An API integration strategy is one tool that creates a foundation for successful digital transformation. It provides a framework for integrating disparate systems and data sources into a cohesive whole, supporting the overall goals of the digital transformation effort.
What are APIs?
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of protocols and tools that allow different software applications to communicate with each other. APIs allow two applications to communicate, or for one application to perform tasks on behalf of another. Your company might leverage APIs when providing customers access to their data and services.
How does this work?
Let’s take a simple real-life example of an API: You shop online for a new shirt, find one you like, and purchase it. The website prompts you to create an account before you check out. The store’s website leverages an API to connect with third-party services such as Google and Facebook, which allow you to sign in to the store via one of these accounts. The API has made your life easier by allowing these two services to communicate.
APIs enable digital transformation by connecting disparate systems and creating operational efficiencies in your business. As they have developed, the benefits of modern APIs have expanded to:
- Become developer-friendly and accessible
- Provide strong security and governance with a standardised format
- Include a development lifecycle that allows you to track versions
How APIs connect the enterprise
Delivering digital experiences
Modern customers expect end-to-end digital experiences at every digital touchpoint over every digital device in your company. So, you need to unlock data and deliver software that enables customers to find and do what they want.
An API strategy enables your business to deliver end-to-end digital experiences by connecting the applications that make up your digital ecosystems. The result: you provide customers with a seamless experience from their first interaction with you.
A 360-degree view of the customer
You need a complete view of your customer to provide the right customer experiences. Digital experiences relegated to desktop browsers no longer suffice as smartphones permeate our daily lives, and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues trending upwards.
APIs allow you to take advantage of new technologies by connecting these systems and their data. You then have a more holistic view of customers or your business. For example, APIs provide you with the tools for tracking customer behaviour and preferences that you can use to create targeted marketing campaigns.
Creating ecosystems through partnerships
APIs allow companies to partner with each other and share data to provide better products and customer experiences.
For example, you may want to create a new product, but you need more data than you have available. APIs enable you to connect with a company that has more data. They might have access to a broader range of purchase history that supports the idea for your new product.
An API integration strategy fosters agility
Your business, the market and the world see small and large changes every day. How well your business withstands changes depends on its agility. Agility focuses on how quickly you adapt to changes within your business and the market. You need a fast, reliable way to access and integrate data to achieve true agility.
APIs enable agile organisations. They provide connectivity, allowing you to incorporate new data into systems and processes.
In the past, integration efforts largely kept to point-to-point integrations connecting a few business systems. Companies today might have a hundred applications on hand, and connecting each of these becomes a lengthy and unproductive time-consuming exercise.
APIs enable you to adopt and integrate new applications quickly and easily because they have reusable components that allow them to duplicate existing pieces of software. They become a “middleman,” by delivering data between systems and ensuring everything talks to one another.
If your business wants to become more agile, an API-led integration strategy should be at the top of your list. With APIs, you will be able to quickly and easily connect to new data sources, keeping your business ahead of the curve.
Launching your digital transformation
Before implementing an API-led integration strategy and digital transformation, you should identify your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing these will help you focus on the areas you have succeeded in and designate where you need to improve. It is also the first step in formulating an achievable and realistic plan.
You will struggle to see API integration success without a clear strategy and well-defined goals. Before starting down this path, you need to set some key goals to guide your decision-making.
You might set goals that enable you to improve customer experience, increase efficiency, or drive innovation. Principles to consider might include openness, collaboration, and customer focus.
To create a successful digital transformation strategy, you need to understand their target customer and what they need. Only then can you build an API integration platform that meets those needs. By starting with the customer and working backwards, you can create a digital transformation strategy with a much higher chance of success.
How MakeSense supports your API integration strategy
You have a business vision, but are you unsure where to start? We know that mapping the next steps feels intimidating. We believe that having a second pair of eyes to find direction is the starting point of a successful digital transformation.
Our Consulting Services cover the process, end-to-end, from developing your strategy to providing ongoing support.