The API Ecosystem: What IT Leaders Need to Know
September 05, 2019

Joey van Ommen

In today's digital age, enterprises of all sizes, in industries across the board, need scalable, flexible IT systems that enable them to compete, innovate, and experiment at a rapid pace. APIs are reframing the way we do business — unlocking new opportunities to connect businesses with customers in every corner of the world, while delivering the immediate, personalized, omnichannel experience customers want and increasingly demand.

Cloud Communications APIs

Cloud communications APIs, in particular, transform the customer experience by changing the way customers are able to interact with businesses.

APIs empower customers to communicate with businesses in the same way they communicate with their family and friends — seamlessly, on their own timeline and with the context of previous conversations, via the channels they prefer, whether it's SMS, email, or messaging apps like WeChat and WhatsApp.

For consumers, it provides a convenient way to handle issues and inquiries, without interrupting their busy lives. For businesses, customer interactions are unified and streamlined into a single thread delivered straight into their CRM — creating rich customer profiles.

API Management

As the connective thread that links modern and legacy systems, APIs play a crucial role in making IT systems more responsive and adaptable — allowing IT leaders to unlock more value from their platforms faster and at less cost.

According to Forrester, companies are expected to spend $3 billion on API management by 2020. And that's money well spent. Investing in an API strategy pays off because it saves developers time and businesses money by freeing up internal resources to focus on the more differentiated areas of the business.

Take Uber, for instance, a company for which real-time communication with customers is crucial, in the form of notifications, alerts, and messages sent between drivers and customers. Yet, wrangling those immediate interactions, especially across borders, is fragmented, complex, and time-consuming. Turning to cloud communications APIs enables Uber to streamline and simplify all of that complexity. That way, Uber can focus on the innovative technology that will push the business forward, instead of worrying about managing communications in all the areas where they operate.

Customer-Centric API Strategy

In today's age of digital transformation, businesses need to be able to pivot quickly to respond to customer needs and changes in the competitive landscape.

APIs are agile enough to make it easy for developers to integrate new components into existing infrastructure, ensuring they can develop and deploy services quickly.

A successful API-first strategy hinges on IT leaders' ability to understand customer behavior so that companies can deliver rich customer experiences. Instead of adding APIs into the mix ad hoc, IT leaders should build out a thoughtful, customer-centric API strategy to integrate API-driven culture into software development practices and processes.

Without APIs, businesses are hard-pressed to create the on-demand, convenient digital experiences we expect every day as consumers — whether we're ordering food, scheduling services, or booking hotel stays. Harnessing agile, accessible APIs enables brands to move the needle with current customers while providing the flexibility to handle rapidly changing customer expectations, which helps businesses create communications experiences that enhance brand loyalty.

Joey van Ommen is Director of Product for MessageBird
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