Yes, you’re too late, and your business is doomed. Sorry just kidding. But we understand your concern. Now that the digital world is more real than the original one, APIs have become the standard for all businesses that want to play the leading role in their sector. Spotify, KLM, and Tesla are famous API ambassadors, but the B2B world knows many more. This is no surprise, as APIs bring interconnectedness and a fast time-to-market, which today are synonyms for success. Given that some of your competitors already hopped on the API train, you may think that you’re too late. But are you really?
Why APIs again?
First, let’s talk about why you should deploy APIs in the first place. As you know, Application Programming Interfaces are virtual revolving doors that pass on information from and to your corporate systems. By doing this, they enable you to gather information that normally can’t be gathered, like waiting lines at the airport, traffic density, and your customers’ (offline) buying habits. This information, in turn, helps you to optimize your products in real-time, as you know where your customers are, what they want and how they like to buy. Additionally, APIs are the perfect weapon of defense, as they function as a ferry between you and the outside world. All combined, APIs put your business at the center of the universe, while shutting the door on data overload and people with cruel intentions.
Apart from the crowd
It’s all very well knowing how to optimize your services and data infrastructure through APIs. But that’s not the only reason why they’re essential to your company future. As APIs can be taught to interpret any type of data in the world (from number of cars to smoke in your kitchen), they’re perfect to set your business apart from the crowd. Businesses like the aforementioned multinationals all thank their success to a unique set of services or products and the way they present them to their customers. They crossed industry borders and gave the floor to the end-user. Spotify, for example, continuously gathers information about their customers’ search behavior and complements its offerings accordingly, while Tesla went all the way and turned their cars into personal assistants. All of this was made possible by APIs, and look where it got them!
So tell me: am I too late?
Since you’ve probably read about the successes of other companies and the way they anticipated the API hype, you may think there’s no use starting yourself. You’re too late anyway, and things are fine as they are. But that’s where you’re wrong. We don’t want to sound dramatic, but you’re never too late (that is, when it comes to APIs, we can’t help you with other stuff). APIs started as a hype, but it’s safe to say they’ll stick around. Moreover, now that so many businesses have started using them, there’re a lot of success stories to build upon and failures you can learn from. Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) have become familiar with the concept and gladly help you out as well. This doesn’t mean you should take your time, though. There’s no reason to not get started right away and deploy APIs to achieve more while doing less. Why would you ever want to postpone that?
Ok. How do I start?
Anywhere you like! As there’re no rules about how to use them and for what, there’s no paved path you should follow to get your API strategy going. Sure, there’re best practices and around 10.000 tips that are applicable to your situation, but in the end, you decide. Don’t let your crazy ideas scare you, use them instead. Just like Spotify and KLM, try to look beyond the borders of your industry. Do you work for a public transport company? Then look for ways to make your customers’ journey as delightful as possible. Don’t just focus on arriving times and free Wi-Fi, but try to set up partnerships with businesses that your customers turn to for coffee, on-the-road music, and other stuff they do while travelling. Together, all of these small details make a perfect foundation for your API strategy and help you improve customer intimacy.
Are you doomed if you wait until next year? No. Will you boost your business if you start today? Yes. Enough said, we reckon.
While your IT department fights over this decision, grap a cup of coffee and read our latest whitepapers. For free!