APIs Rule the Realtime Experience Economy

As more activity moves online, the importance of APIs as a factor in choosing cloud solutions such as communications platform as-a-service (CPaaS) is growing.

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The Internet of Things (IoT), including smartphones and wearables, has created an instant-update lifestyle. The IoT has also propelled the creation of myriad apps and services to meet the needs and increasing expectations of today’s always-on consumers. For years now, we’ve heard that companies are judged based on the quality of their customer experiences. Since the pandemic, with the world going online as never before, the competition to get customer experience right is intense.

The underlying technology that pulls together today’s complex, data-driven communications channel technologies behind the scenes and creates a seamless experience is the application programming interface (API). APIs are the building blocks for modern application software and digital services. These bundles of code act as a bridge between digital services, allowing one app to access information or capabilities from another. They’re key to the proliferation of the communications channels used by everyone.

“As channels continue to proliferate and evolve, more companies are realizing that APIs are a key focus that can help them successfully launch new services and transform their business, relationships, and experiences,” says Rohit Tripathi, Chief Product Officer for SAP Digital Interconnect.

Decision-makers across enterprises also need to understand how selecting a trusted communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) is heavily dependent on the ability of these platforms to handle the complexities of integrating APIs, messaging, and data-sharing capabilities. Those capabilities make interconnected, multi-channel, and omnichannel communications experiences possible. 

What’s at stake in reviewing a vendor’s API capabilities? Your company’s ability to quickly add and subtract new and old channels, scale communications strategies up or down, and better manage the time and costs required to stay abreast of the dynamic API-driven engagement economy.

What is Driving the use of APIs? 

Digital transformation across all sectors of enterprise companies has shifted into high gear since the COVID-19 pandemic. Business processes are being revamped with a focus on services and capabilities that are easy to integrate, consume, and deploy. Developers need clear documentation on API audit trails, debugging, and sample code.

There is a lot of APIs available for different channels. Organizations need to find ones with security that aligns to organizational requirements and that can scale for local, regional, or global reach.  

By using APIs, organizations can choose how they access performance and usage data, what type of data they need, and when they need itAPIs should be easy to integrate with a business’s existing tools and processes.

Volume is another major factor to consider when evaluating APIs. For example, SAP recently launched a new API focused on the logistics market for a customer that is now hitting a volume of 100 million+ API calls a month spanning markets in 15 countries.

A poorly-designed API will not be able to accommodate such scale. It also might be difficult to debug and test, lack good documentation, or might not adhere to industry standards for security. 

The Enterprise-class API

In an enterprise API, security, scalability, and pricing are the big considerations. Choose the wrong API and you risk putting an app deployment in peril if it grows from a regional to a global solution. It’s costly to fix.

That’s where CPaaS comes in. These platforms manage all of the complexity of deploying and supporting APIs for each channel and integrating data, security, operational, and other services.

Smaller CPaaS vendors may provide only a few APIs and don’t have global scalability. Larger CPaaS solutions like SAP Digital Interconnect are constantly looking at all the channels across different markets, adding APIs for channels, security, and many applications like CRM, digital maps, video, and contact center.

“Every company can now connect and scale their communications apps using APIs to start benefiting from all sorts of data,” says Meenal Prasad, Director, Head of Product Management for SAP Digital Interconnect. “That's easier to do with CPaaS where connections to various channels are already built-in and APIs are cost-effectively managed and updated as markets and habits dynamically evolve.”

For more information SAP’s CPaaS offering, click here.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.