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Improving customer engagement strategies through API

 WHAT IS AN API?



An API is a set of definitions and protocols for building and integrating application software. API stands for application programming interface.

APIs let your product or service communicate with other products and services without having to know how they’re implemented. This can simplify app development, saving time and money. When you’re designing new tools and products—or managing existing ones—APIs give you flexibility; simplify design, administration, and use; and provide opportunities for innovation.

APIs are a simplified way to connect your own infrastructure through cloud-native app development, but they also allow you to share your data with customers and other external users. Public APIs represent unique business value because they can simplify and expand how you connect with your partners, as well as potentially monetize your data (the Google Maps API is a popular example).

BENEFITS OF API INTEGRATION



  • 1.Letting customers access data via an API helps them aggregate information about their inventory in a single place.
  • 2.The book distributor can make changes to its internal systems without impacting customers, so long as the behavior of the API doesn’t change.
  • 3.With a publicly available API, developers working for the book distributor, book sellers or third parties could develop an app to help customers find the books they’re looking for. This could result in higher sales or other business opportunities.

How APIs transform the customer experience



APIs (application programming interfaces) are becoming increasingly valuable to business because they have emerged as the most accessible way to extract value out of enterprise data. As the easiest way to connect systems together so they can exchange information, APIs have an almost endless variety of uses. They can be used to open up new revenue streams; improve existing products, systems and operations; and provide valuable insights to make better business decisions. But they have to be organized and connected in a strategic, holistic way to provide any value. The way we recommend APIs are developed, built and deployed is through an approach called API-led connectivity.
API-led connectivity is a methodical way to use APIs, designed for specific purposes, to expose data and services onto a platform for broader consumption by the business. With this approach, rather than connecting data sources and systems with point-to-point integration, every asset becomes a modern, managed API.
The APIs used in an API-led approach to connectivity fall into three categories:
  • System APIs – these usually access the core systems of record and provide a means of insulating the user from the complexity or any changes to the underlying systems. Once built, many users, can access data without any need to learn the underlying systems and can reuse these APIs in multiple projects.
  • Process APIs – These APIs interact with and shape data within a single system or across systems (breaking down data silos) and are created here without a dependence on the source systems from which that data originates, as well as the target channels through which that data is delivered.
  • Experience APIs – Experience APIs are the means by which data can be reconfigured so that it is most easily consumed by its intended audience, all from a common data source, rather than setting up separate point-to-point integrations for each channel. An Experience API is usually created with API-first design principles where the API is designed for the specific user experience in mind.
By building and organizing your APIs this way and then making them discoverable and available for the business to self-serve, API-led connectivity has made your business composable, allowing teams throughout the business to compose, recompose and adapt these APIs to address the changing needs of the business.
In a customer experience transformation context, Imagine a shipping company builds an internal Customer API (a process API) that includes information about registered customers, their address, email, purchase history, etc. from various System APIs in front of customer databases; in short, it creates a single view of their customers.
This Customer API can be used across the organization to achieve a number of business objectives. IT and other technical teams can use the API to create a mobile application for users, build an internal web platform for sales representatives, or create a partner portal for shipping status, all with Experience APIs.
One internal API can have multiple use cases and help streamline business processes across the entire organization. In addition, organizations can also expose the API to partners, who can iterate on these APIs and provide a more comprehensive, omnichannel engagement for customers. With API-led connectivity, every API that is built continues to create value for future business requirements.

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