WHAT IS AN API?
How APIs transform the customer experience
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.
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.