Leveraging Digital technology to boost business capabilities.
Even though you are not a tech-geek, you might have used a mobile app such as Gmail, Facebook, Twitter or eBay in your mobile device. This means that you are harnessing the benefits of Application Programable Interfaces (APIs) already.
With the prediction that the Internet of Things (IoT) market will reach a whopping $7.1 trillion by 2020, APIs, which drive the IoT, are becoming increasingly popular. APIs enable all the IoT devices to speak to each other, such as smart homes, smart vehicles, mobile phones and even data repositories in businesses. Thus, there is huge market potential to cash in on APIs by leveraging them to boost business capabilities.
So, what does this all mean? An API is a term that’s used to denote a well-defined interface to access certain resources – in other words, it makes a service available to an end-user over the internet to so that they perform a set of known operations. Well-designed APIs will enable a business to expose selected content or services to internal and external audiences in an easy to use and understandable way. Today, most organisations use APIs to build their solutions internally and then expose these services to the world.
For example, mobile weather applications provides a simple example to understand how APIs work. The app provides weather forecasts for specific areas by connecting to an external service via internet. The application uses GPS coordinates to call a weather service API, that sends back a local forecast. Likewise, APIs can integrate services, data, content and processes with external parties efficiently.
And in the context of DB Results:
- The Application and Network Service Level and Monitoring solution delivered at for a major Energy Distributor leverages APIs exposed by the IBM Tivoli suite to extract and visualise application and network performance metrics on user-friendly dashboards for the customers ICT Operations team. (Internal services)
- Our SelfServePortal is accessing exposed Oracle Customer Care & Billing (CC&B) database information, enabling users to see billing and usage information. (external service); are example for using APIs for internal and external services.
Use of APIs enhance efficiency to stay ahead of competitors:
Regardless of the size and nature of the business, many organisations are seeing the benefits of APIs to uplift their business growth. Large organisations in retail (eBay, Amazon), finance (PayPal, Apple Pay), consumer services, transportation (APL, airlines), and manufacturing and logistic (DHL, FedEx) sectors have already started exposing their services to the outside world in the form of APIs. Businesses can consume these external APIs to integrate their internal systems and leverage benefits without having to implement services from scratch (e.g. payment system).
Consider a new online air ticketing agent ‘DB Wings’ who sells air tickets to travelers. DB Wings can expose their information such as offers, packages, discount etc to the outer world via APIs. Why?
- Enable other companies to consume these APIs in their applications e.g. Booking.com (hotel and flight deals); SkyScanner (airfare comparisons).
- Enable integration of their information/services with the information exposed from these external parties own APIs e.g. integrate with PayPal, partner with hotels and insurance companies for travel packages.
The benefits of providing APIs are:
- Brand awareness: be smart and differentiate your business.
- Intelligent business decisions: information exchanged through APIs to analyse buying patterns, best sellers etc.
- Monetisation: publish data and services securely in a scalable manner, charge for usage, revenue-share with developers, track billing in real time.