As a society, we’ve either become smarter – or maybe just lazier – about how we engage with businesses and services. We’ve grown accustomed to being able to login to multiple platforms and accounts using one email address, and we’re increasingly getting used to paying for everything with a tap – on our phones, on a card and even on a wearable.
Gone are the days of having multiple usernames and passwords. As consumers, we want a stress-free, seamless interaction with the products and services that matter to us, without having to go through 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.
A quick walkthrough of APIs
You may well have heard the word or even the phrase ‘the API Economy’: but what exactly is an API?
It’s a silent but mighty software intermediary that allows once separate software components to effectively communicate together. Everyday examples include banking apps integrating with your Apple Wallet, and using Face ID to log into apps and websites.
APIs in the mainstream
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.
Crucially, the interoperability APIs provide has opened up new opportunities and value streams. By enabling a business’ services and data to be accessed and built upon across – and beyond – the enterprise, businesses can monetise their APIs, with easy patterns for third parties to leverage. New leaders have emerged as a result, delivering new powerful value-add services to market faster, and more efficiently, than before.
An industry that’s leading the way in API adoption 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 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 banking apps.
Shifting to an open mindset
The growth of the API Economy, among other factors, is both an indicator and enabler of a wide and impactful shift in tech standards that continues to gather pace.
Taking into consideration the RDF and Linked Data movement, 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 move with the times, organisations need to restructure their tech strategy and shift towards an API-first product focus, so that 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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