The API economy
With automation taking over every aspect of business and personal roles, It became important that services offered by different entities belonging to both government and private enterprises be integrated into one pool for the consumer of these services to access and utilize them in a much easier way. The accomplishment of this integration has been made easier by use of “APIs”, which stands for Application Programming Interface. The API economy the becomes the reality by which we live with as software becomes the soul of enterprise in a world where business entities have to go the extra mile to not only sell to their customers but retain them as well through daily engagements wherever they are as a way of relating to them.
Brands that command big customer numbers and followers have gone ahead to become social networks in their respective industries. This creates an opportunity for them by facilitating other entities and startups to tap into their customer ecosystem by becoming advertisement platforms or gateways through which business transactions can be implemented to enhance trust and efficiency. They do this by creating APIs that integrate their services into the platforms of other entities to facilitate aspects such as payments, advertisements, job scheduling, data interpretation and much more. APIs therefore serve as tools that can facilitate entry into new markets, search for new customers, enable buying and selling, obtain customer feedback, data analysis and much more.
APIs have also made it easier to come up with business applications that not only cost less but are also capable of accomplishing more tasks within a short period in addition to minimal implementation costs. An easier way of understanding this would be to use the electrical model where one does not require skills in electrical engineering to power domestic gadgets but only plug their gadgets into a socket that powers up their gadget. Let us take the example of content management systems that are developed with the intention of making it easy to setup e-commerce platforms. They have been enabled with connectivity to external services that facilitate payments, sending emails, reputation management through reviews and feedback, analytical tools to help better understand the customer journey and much more. APIs have made this possible by making it easy for web designers to implement fully functional e-commerce platforms with zero or minimal programming knowledge and in a much shorter period of time.
The emergence of shared economy today owes its existence to a large extent to APIs that enable businesses to transact easily with their clientele. The success of businesses that are defining the possibility of a shared economy like taxi-hailing apps, digital products downloads, accommodation reservation and many others have taken advantage of APIs to create business efficiency in their respective industries as well as digital trust with their customers. This leads to these brands becoming an important aspect of the daily lives of their customers. APIs have also taken their rightful place in the blockchain technology, with bias to cryptocurrencies becoming adopted as acceptable means of payments across various platforms in exchange for goods and services.
With the API marketplace manifesting unimaginable possibilities with much ease and affordable costs, their security possibility must not be allowed to overcome all benefits and possibilities that we have discussed. This could lead to tampering of payment information by customers or access to customer data that is confidential that would by assurance lead to not only loss of customers but also build a barrier that would make it very difficult to recruit new customers due to a poor rating of an organization’s reputation. This can be attributed to the realization that APIs not only facilitate connectivity between platforms for both sellers and buyers but have also been taken to task to secure the information that they share through the interconnectivity that they provide.
APIs have therefore enabled business leaders to define their organizational objectives around hierarchy enforcement through duty allocation, workflows and well-designed interfaces. They also aid in deciding the stages at which applications get integrated to facilitate engagement between partners and their customers so as to maintain healthy business relationships. We can conclude that the shift from software-enabled processes to API-enabled processes is all about making these processes to be flexibly programmable as a way of making them adapt to the ever-changing needs that are necessary for an organization to remain relevant in its operations.