Information technology (IT) has been backbone of Business for decades, empowering Organization’s own customer/vendor/supplier engagement channels. With rapid growth in Mobility and Cloud Computing, the Business model itself is taking more innovative form. Organizations are increasingly leveraging Mobility and Cloud trends by exposing core capabilities (functionalities and data) beyond Organization’s own channels; they are actively participating in growing digital ecosystem of collaborative offerings and value added services.
With growing use of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets), customers are increasingly relying on mobile apps for day-to-day transactions. For example, it could be a mobile banking app offering services related to funds transfer/balance inquiry or it could be a e-retailer app offering shopping capabilities.
Cloud computing model of low cost Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS respectively) is opening doors for numerous small and medium scale Companies to build solutions-offerings with minimal investments. Entry of these small/medium scale third parties was not possible earlier due to significant upfront investment in on-premises infrastructure/data center.
Mobility and Cloud Computing are driving the need for real-time integration more than ever. Let’s see how these trends are impacting real-time integration space.
- Mobile apps are providing an excellent platform to Organizations for engaging their customers, partners and third parties anytime-anywhere in an interactive way. Organizations can deliver more and more capabilities-services to customers through apps ensuring 24X7 availability of Business and enhancing user experience. By offering capabilities-services through apps, Organizations can ensure that customers are virtually connected all the time to their Business through apps and use services as per their convenience.
- The scope goes beyond Organization’s own digital channels, Organizations can expose capabilities-services to trusted partners for collaborative offerings and to numerous cloud based third parties who can deliver value added services to Organization’s customers through apps. Web and social networking companies have already deep penetrated in this collaborative model and have demonstrated the benefit of this model in terms of high business growth, revenue and seamless user experience. Now the trend is fast shifting to mainstream Business segments like Telecom, Retail, Banking, Manufacturing etc. These Organizations are focusing on creating API Platform exposing their core capabilities to partners and third parties. And this is a win-win situation for both – Organization and its partners-third parties. While Organization can continue to focus on innovation and improving its core capabilities-services, its partners-third parties can focus on creating new collaborative offerings and solutions by leveraging core capabilities exposed by Organization.
Essentially, behind the seamless customer experience delivered via apps, there is a lot of real-time collaboration and integration taking place between Companies through the notion of APIs.
What these trends mean to Organizations? – Participating in collaborative offering and value added service creation is becoming the defacto Business model. Organizations have no choice but to adopt this model to stay in competition. Creating a platform for exposing capabilities-services as APIs is the real mandate for Organizations. By not creating API platform and not participating in this extended digital ecosystem, Organization will lose on significant sales and revenue opportunities which otherwise could have been provided by partners and third parties, taking Organization’s Business growth and customer experience to the next level. Increasing usage of Organization’s capabilities in digital ecosystem also means that Organization has to deal with more volume as capabilities are consumed not only by Organization own channels and applications, but also by numerous third parties and partners.
What these trends mean to end users? – This means end users get more innovative facilities and value added services delivered to them through Organization’s apps as well as through Organization’s partner-third party apps.
API is just one aspect of overall real-time integration/collaboration driven by Mobility and Cloud trends. There are couple of more areas which are gaining traction due to Cloud trend.
- Hybrid IT landscape
- iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service)
Hybrid IT landscape
Due to better scalability and cheaper cost of cloud computing model, Organizations are fast moving on-premises applications to cloud and in some cases adopting cloud hosted purpose-built SaaS applications (Ex. CRM platform) or building custom applications on cloud using PaaS offerings from vendors. This is creating a hybrid IT landscape where Organization’s applications are spread across on-premises data centers and cloud infrastructure. This essentially means that some of the business processes are getting executed within cloud applications and some within on-premises applications. And when it comes to end-to-end execution, data needs to be exchanged between these processes-applications in real-time, creating a need for integration between on-premises and cloud applications. This integration space will expand further with Organization shifting more focus to cloud model for saving cost and increasing scalability.
iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service)
iPaaS is another emerging space in integration domain where integration platform is offered as a Service on cloud. Though it will cover integration between Organization’s cloud hosted and on-premises applications, the scope of iPaaS platform is much bigger and includes API management and B2B integration capabilities. Role of iPaaS will be discussed in a separate article.
To summarize, Mobility and Cloud trends are driving demand for integration like never before. While Organization are leveraging these trends to their advantage, they have to scale up to handle demand for huge data and volume.
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Please note that the articles in this portal discusses API examples from the perspective of mainstream business segments like Telecom, Banking, Retail, Manufacturing etc.