Today, a company without application programming interfaces (APIs) is like the internet without the World Wide Web. Given the unending onslaught of customer demands, explosive growth of new data sources, and the need for connectivity, business conducted without a solid API integration strategy is a losing endeavor.
APIs enable the software solution flexibility necessary for companies to stay competitive and deliver the ultra-convenient digital solutions today’s customers require at lower cost, effort, and time-to-market. Structured around reusability, APIs can be used to quickly connect to systems, vendors, partners, and ecosystems, opening up a new frontier of exceptional—and once unimaginable—customer services and experiences across industries.
How are businesses leveraging APIs? Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Open APIs in Application
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Banks and other financial institutions are using APIs to connect with other businesses and consumers, transfer information quickly, and expand the number and breadth of services they offer. For example, Wells Fargo allows customers to connect to third-party apps through APIs. The APIs allow the apps to securely fetch the customer’s data from Wells Fargo without having the customer log in. This reduces the number of touchpoints, increases customers’ data security and gives their customers access to services without having to share their log-in credentials.
In insurance, carriers are upgrading their systems with APIs in order to offer new and emerging products such as Pet, drone and cyber insurance. As new products enter the market, carriers will need to quickly upgrade their systems to meet new data and service demands cost-effectively without adversely affecting the customer experience.
Streamline data transmission
In healthcare organizations, APIs facilitate the instantaneous transfer and collection of data to derive meaningful insights, streamline healthcare processes, and create transparency. Providers can make updates to patient records that go live immediately across platforms, or retrieve and collect data on-demand to create custom health reports.
Integrating an insurance API can allow providers to automatically determine a patient’s coverage for a specific procedure or medication. Other APIs allow labs to share test results with providers and patients as soon as they are available, reducing anxiety and wait time, and removing the need for in-office follow-up. In that sense, APIs enhance the patient experience by elevating the standard of care, and healthcare providers’ experience by automating and streamlining internal workloads.
Aggregate services in one platform
Today, “all-in-one” API platforms like Trip Advisor, Jet Blue Travel, Google, and Orbitz can make end-to-end travel reservations a one-visit experience by allowing customers to book flights, hotels, cars, and excursions on a single platform. According to TripAdvisor and comScore, booking trips in 2017 required 10 to 34 website visits on average. Given the ubiquity of the smart phone, enabling consumers to book an entire trip in one place will become non-negotiable for companies hoping to stay relevant.
According to Condor Ferries 2020 Millennial Travel Trends Survey, millennials—a lucrative, emerging market—spent $200 billion on travel in 2018, with 33% budgeting $5000 or more. For businesses hoping to capture this opportunity, APIs are essential for creating the simplified, seamless user experiences that today’s travelers prefer, and tomorrow’s travelers will consider “bare minimum.”
Partner to form ecosystems
Often on the cutting-edge of transformation, retailers across the board have been embracing ecosystems and partnering with other businesses—especially outside of their own industry—to formulate new value-add products and services to fulfill customer expectations. For instance, Walgreens has opened up its photo printing services to the outside world through APIs.
By integrating with popular applications such as Printicular from MEA Labs, social media platforms, and Dropbox, Walgreens has allowed customers to print photos from their smartphone, whenever and wherever they want to. As a result, Walgreens has experienced overall improvements with customer engagement in its retail stores, and a revenue increase for customers who interacted via web and mobile devices that is six times the amount of customers who only shopped at a physical store.
Take businesses into the future
If businesses hope to remain relevant, implementing APIs is not optional; it is the future. As developers continue to push the digital limits and APIs continue to evolve, the early adopters will reap the best rewards especially as reusable tools make upgrading increasingly simple and inexpensive. Companies like those mentioned above are already positioned to conquer this new frontier, grow their companies, solidify their customer relationships and increase their profitability. Are you preparing for the future?