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In the current customer-centric climate, most businesses understand the need to interact with customers in real time, be it through your website, on social media channels, via apps or on other digital interfaces.
But delighting your customers with a personalised experience – hitting them with the right message at the right time – requires you to synthesise data from multiple platforms.
For example, you need an effective way to connect your CRM data with your email marketing platform and ERP system. And that’s where your APIs (application programming interfaces) come in. Put simply, APIs allow your apps to talk to each other.
Welcome to the age of the API
Monolithic software – in which functionally distinguishable aspects are interwoven – is on the decline. Instead, the trend is to use core platforms that let you bolt on additional functionality as and when you require it. This helps manage IT deployment costs and scale as the business evolves. And the fact is, as your business evolves, you want to bolt on the best option for your requirements, which means adding third-party software to your core platform.
Thus, your systems may be built at different times by different developers using different technologies. APIs enable your applications to behave consistently across your digital touchpoints, so you’re in a strong position to delight your customers.
Given these benefits, it’s perhaps unsurprising to note the sector’s explosive growth in recent years: in January 2018, the Programmable directory of APIs passed 19,000 for the first time.
The benefits of APIs
APIs have shifted the way that software technology is delivered to the wider marketplace. Once upon a time, a business in need of a CRM system was subject to a huge spend on software, hardware and training. These days, organisations use the power of the cloud to share a common infrastructure.
From Salesforce to Google and Facebook, the businesses getting it right are reaping the benefits. For example, IBM once depended on on-premises installations. These days, it delivers numerous cloud-based technologies via APIs.
And open APIs (as opposed to private ones developed internally) also allow smaller organisations to boost the functionality of their software and increase their revenue without prohibitive costs.
APIs and the customer experience
Consumers today are looking for a customer experience that’s both omnipresent and highly personalised. And, according to research conducted by MuleSoft, 60% of them will abandon your brand if they don’t get what they’re looking for.
The way in which social media, mobile apps and artificial intelligence are transforming the customer experience has been well documented. However, as businesses scramble to communicate with customers on an ever-increasing plethora of channels, there’s a tendency to focus on individual touchpoints at the expense of an overall strategy, leading to silos and isolated data
If that’s your approach, you may experience some short-term success. Ultimately, however, it’s likely to lead to a disjointed customer experience. Instead, you need to develop a cohesive API strategy to develop a seamless experience across all channels.
Using data orchestration to get best use out of your APIs
Here’s an example. Imagine you house your customer data in your CRM but your customer usage data in a BI tool. You need to connect them, and you know an API is the most logical way to do it.
However, knowing this is just half the battle. You can’t simply start pointing APIs at each other with no real plan as to how the data will flow around your business. First, you need data orchestration.
Data orchestration is the process of connecting multiple silos to provide a free flow of complex data around your organisation. In other words, it’s coordinating your various platforms’ APIs to deliver a consistent and unified approach to data.
Orchestrating the multitude of platforms and APIs you need to deliver a seamless customer experience isn’t simple or straightforward. That’s why businesses in sectors ranging from retail to logistics and finance trust us to orchestrate their data, safely delivering messages to their customers at the right time.
Want to hear more about how we can orchestrate your data? get in touch.