As a time to sit down and enjoy Thanksgiving’s bounty with family and friends, this season is a perfect time to consider what we’re most grateful for. And though it might not be the first thing that comes to mind while reaching for that second helping of mashed potatoes, the API economy has brought abundant benefits worth celebrating, as APIs have played an incredibly important role in business transformation and growth across all kinds of industries and companies. Here are just a few reasons to be thankful for APIs this holiday season.
1. Unprecedented Scalability with API Economy
Startups in particular have taken great advantage of the API economy, since it has allowed them to build their young businesses on APIs in the cloud. APIs offer startups the unprecedented ability to sustainably and cost-effectively scale their companies on demand without having to make costly upfront investments in infrastructure. What’s more, startups can focus their existing resources on core business priorities, avoiding the long-term upkeep and overhead costs associated with maintaining such a diverse portfolio of services.
With APIs in their corner, ambitious new companies can expand more quickly and more globally. In this new paradigm, technology becomes a strategic asset for business growth rather than a barrier to it. Business ideas that once seemed firmly in the pie-in-the-sky category are now possible, as companies select à la carte services like payments processing or voice communications and add them as needed to their products, rather than having to create them from scratch and maintain them all on their own dime.
2. Faster Time to Market
To survive and thrive, today’s businesses must beat the competition in the race to the market. Here, too, companies have reaped bountiful rewards using APIs. Regardless of whether or not they have a large team of developers in-house, businesses can now quickly and cost-effectively roll out innovative services in record time without worrying about reliability or daunting expenditures. This is key to rapidly establishing a strong customer base.
Thanks to APIs, startups and new entrants to a market now have a better opportunity to stake their claim in a given vertical before their rivals become too dominant and entrenched. So if a bold new retail startup wants to differentiate itself from the competition by delivering an exceptional customer experience, for example, it can do so using an API that seamlessly delivers rich messages to today’s top chat apps, identifying which channels customers prefer and adapting accordingly.
3. Greater Business Agility
Even businesses that are already established in a given market can benefit from the unique flexibility of APIs. Companies that need a quicker way to implement advanced features within their existing services can do so using APIs, saving on short-term development costs in the process. In doing so, they can nimbly respond to changing customer expectations and evolving market pressures without radically revamping their internal staffing resources or spending a lot on a specific initiative.
For example, a financial services company that delivers peerless customer service but doesn’t necessarily have deep expertise in two-factor authentication (2FA) can tap the power of a verification API to secure its clients’ data and prevent damaging breaches. In this way, these companies can dramatically augment their existing competencies with the robust capabilities found in APIs, greatly strengthening their current product offerings with a single step. Customers can feel peace of mind knowing that their data is in good hands, while the companies can focus on what they do best: developing game-changing financial products.
4. Innovative Business Models
The API economy also enables companies to pursue entirely new and innovative business models. Almost every kind of business you can think of, from your favorite ride-hailing service to the streaming music services that help you rock out, is as much a software company as it is a representative of a specific industry. Once a company secures a strong position in one market, it may well employ the services of APIs to enter another vertical. That ride-hailing service you like? It’s now moving into package and food delivery, too.
Entrepreneurial companies quite literally leverage APIs to become platforms for entire verticals, claiming an enviable and lucrative position in the market. For example, Facebook began as a social network, but its Facebook Messenger service now shapes how businesses worldwide manage their customer communications. Companies that successfully pivot to a central place in their ecosystem find themselves not simply partaking in that industry’s opportunities but also defining its future—a rare position that any business would want to occupy.
While silently percolating behind the scenes, APIs have played an influential role in business growth in recent years, a fact made salient by 2017 being named the year of the API economy. Since that time, APIs have become a key part of any digital transformation strategy, offering plentiful rewards to companies and verticals alike. This holiday season, businesses that share in the API harvest have more to be thankful for than ever before.