Digital economy or better, API economy: the digital revolution that puts the customer at the center
Almost a year ago we talked about API (Application Program Interface) right on. We had tried to clarify what an API is, what it is for and why it is so important for the digital age; we did it by simplifying the concept and trying to make it usable even to those who do not chew programming languages daily . You can read the article below.
Today we are here to talk instead of API economy, wanting to refer to the way in which application programming interfaces can bring benefits in economic terms.
I would begin, as always, with a bit of a glossary, defining three fundamental concepts in the development of the API economy: multichannel (or multiple touchpoint approach), cross-channel and omnichannel.
Multichannel – indicates the development by the company of multiple points of contact. For example the presence on all the most important social networks, the mobile app, the development of the website or Video Production Services Dubai. The company is traceable on multiple media, the user can freely choose whether he prefers to take information from one channel, rather than another or maybe both.
- Cross-channel – it can be considered the first evolutionary step of multi-channel, as it requires the design of several services (or touchpoints), usually a couple, but integrated with each other. If the customer starts his journey towards the purchase in channel “A” this will invite the consumer to continue at channel “B” or “C”. It is thanks to this transition from one channel to another that an integration between them, the so-called cross-channeling, has become indispensable. An example is the click & collect service, which assumes that the order takes place online but the withdrawal at the point of sale, for example.
- Omnichannel – a further step forward compared to multi-channel and cross-channel. Not only does it put the consumer at the center of everything, but it provides an interconnected system between all the contact points that are made available to us. There is, therefore, a consistent and continuous transfer of data between the different channels. In this way the user can not only interact with the company through a multiplicity of options, but can also live the same experience on all the touchpoints and not have interruptions in the path from one to the other. I can connect to an e-commerce , start filling my cart, suspend my shopping , resume it from the mobile app in a second moment (finding again the articles previously selected already in the cart), I finish my purchases on a platform dedicated to payments and then collect everything in a dedicated collection point.
Digital economy, the technological process is complex. The only thing that simplifies is the user experience
I bet many of you didn’t even notice this three- step technological progress. Those who live technology every day tend to take for granted a service that seems simple, but which in reality is not simple in itself. The only thing that is simplified is the user experience, of the customer, obviously for economic purposes and it is precisely here that these programming strings come into play. In fact the APIs, as we had already said, make the dialogue between different applications fluid and avoid developers to write code from scratch, paving the way for the development of new digital services. This is precisely the key.
Tangible (and successful) examples such as Uber and Airbnb use third-party APIs to deliver their service to the market in the most complete and user-friendly way possible. Users can rent a car, call up a map with directions, check the weather, pay the requested service directly and safely; all this thanks to calls to types of APIs from different companies in different sectors. This is how new business ecosystems are born.
Many benefit from it:
- End users who receive a complete service
- The service provider itself
- Ecosystem companies that provide their data through the APIs to reach customers they would never have come into contact with directly.
In an increasingly omnichannel world, where you then take for granted experience fluid use between different digital environments, the use of a tool like the bees and their ability to create value for the business is more and more important (to generate income thanks to innovation and digitization). This is exactly how the API economy was, it had its beginning.
Thus new business ecosystems are born and the digital economy becomes an API economy
The programming interfaces can be considered the real currency through which to monetize the Digital Transformation paths. Most of the value generated by the API does not derive from individual features or libraries that allow multiple applications to communicate and integrate. The real value is generated through the myriad of new business opportunities that are created thanks to the services enabled through the APIs themselves.
The APIs make the dialogue between the different applications fluid
The APIs therefore, despite being born as a “technical” tool for software development, today take on, in this context of digitalization of everything, a role that goes beyond the purely technological field and become a real driver of business and innovation: continue therefore, looking at these as a tool reserved for the IT department minimizes the role they can play in designing the strategies and positioning of companies in the market.
Many sectors have in fact begun to adopt these tools not only to make relations and exchanges between systems and applications more efficient and rapid, but also to design new partnerships with players in markets adjacent to their own, but synergistic and to create new revenue streams , more and more consistent with respect to traditional product / service lines.