Staying Ahead With API-powered Application Innovation

Modern tech-savvy customers today are looking for digital-first, connected, and seamless business interactions. And businesses are looking not only to keep up with the fast-changing customer expectations but also maintain their profitability. They must find ways to balance both by leaning into sustainable innovation across every aspect of business. 

Innovation at speed is easier said than done, especially when you have legacy systems to manage, when you face a shortage of skilled resources, or when your business is operating in silos. 

This is where application programming interfaces, or APIs come into the picture, as application innovation is achievable at a significantly faster rate when it’s fueled by APIs. They are like the foundational building blocks that make it easy to deliver modern digital experiences, connect siloed units and systems, and help realize the true business value of your investments.

How APIs can take on large-scale app innovation

You may know APIs as small lines of code, but they play a large role in powering app innovation in today’s digital age. 

Those small lines of code let developers access data and functionality in different systems, which turns those digital assets into modular building blocks that let your enterprise try new things and link together different parts of the buyer’s journey. APIs are inherently made to connect – and be connected – whether the link is between different parts of your business, from your business to a myriad of devices from tablets to computers to smart watches, third-party partners, marketplaces, data analysis tools, or from your business to developer communities. 

When designed and managed for reuse and developer consumption, APIs help businesses  innovate at scale by combining digital assets to create engaging, unique, and personalized experiences for customers, for example: opting for contactless curbside pickup, collecting and redeeming loyalty points across channels, or getting product recommendations based on shopping behaviors  . Plus, APIs come with an added bonus. Businesses can choose to package their valuable assets as APIs so that they can be monetized, and sold just like any product you’d find on a store shelf—which means if you have a particularly popular and valuable data or service, outsiders may be interested in purchasing access. 

To build and scale your API program, an API management platform, like Google Cloud’s Apigee, is key. APIs are the access points for many of your business’s most valuable systems, so access needs to be managed, usage needs to be understood, performance needs to be maintained, and security must be continually bolstered. Apigee manages your APIs all in one place, allowing you to design, iterate, deploy, secure, analyze, and scale your APIs from cradle to grave. 

The innovation we are describing isn’t an abstract concept, just like the notion of the technology “cloud” isn’t an imaginary untappable place in the sky that stores pictures of you from ten years ago. To help demystify, we’ve broken down API-powered application innovation into a three-phase journey:

Deliver personalized experiences consistently at scale
APIs enable companies – regardless of size – to build and deliver personalized experiences for customers. An API-first architecture simplifies how developers can build customizable experiences and thereby reduces time to market for new products and services. Imagine your team has built an API for your call center which recommends new products based on the customer’s profile. That API isn’t limited to that one, initial purpose but can also be embedded into other places and technologies such as your mobile device, app, and/or voice app. When built more efficiently and faster with APIs, these experiences can become more personalized, adaptable, and consistent.

Build powerful digital business ecosystems 
By securely sharing your APIs with partners outside your business, you can unlock a range of ecosystem strategies that stretch and scale the value of your innovations. By making your APIs available to third parties, you can increase the number of innovators harnessing your digital assets, potentially exposing your business to new customers and use cases that wouldn’t have developed through internal innovation alone. Likewise, by combining your data and functionality with third-party APIs, your business and its partners can symbiotically produce more value together than either can by itself. For instance, partners can securely leverage your company’s proprietary data, accessible as an API, along with their expertise to create unique experiences for customers that you may not be able to reach on your own. 

APIs can be connected to, securely shared with, and even packaged and sold to developers, partners, and customers, allowing you to both deepen the integration with other companies and grow your revenue streams. As the owner of your APIs, you’re able to retain control of what is shared with whom, letting you maintain security while still leaving appropriate partners free to innovate with your data.  

Power your innovation with data
As great digital experiences roll out to customers and APIs gain traction throughout your business ecosystems, you can use API management capabilities to measure and analyze API usage data, letting you optimize innovations and iterate on the cycle again and again. APIs make it simple and secure to share desired data insights with suppliers, customers, and partners to foster more innovation. In other words, APIs not only link data to data and data to people, but also provide you and your business with established data aggregation and analysis tools. Data-powered innovation enables you to make more informed data-driven decisions for your business and derive maximum value from your APIs and the connections they forge. 

What’s Stopping You? Start Here.

To ensure every business is equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to innovate, Google Cloud is releasing a series that expands upon the three pillars of API-powered Application Innovation. If you’re ready to embark on a journey of innovation, watch the first Application Innovation webinar in our series.

By: Manoj Gunti (Product Marketing Manager, Apigee) and Maria Snaider (Associate Product Marketing Manager, Apigee)
Source: Google Cloud Blog

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