How to Benefit from the API Economy in 2020
As recently as five years ago, it was next to impossible for organizations to look at the idea of embedding artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) into their engagement applications. This would require massive investment and rich technology that would shortly become outdated with the quickening pace of innovation. It was unfeasible from an operational, efficiency and financial standpoint.
An Exciting New Era of Customer Experience
Today, all of this has changed. While application programming interfaces (APIs) have been around for decades, the concept of the API economy is relatively new--and it’s fueling an exciting new era of customer experience. The API economy enables users to cherry-pick services from different cloud providers, getting access to best-of-breed technology for creating unique solutions that drive specific customer and business outcomes.
Every vendor from Google to Amazon offers APIs that organizations can stitch together through code to build their biggest and best digital transformation projects. For example, using Google Dialogflow (the company’s end-to-end development suite for conversational intelligence) you can merge Google AI capabilities like sentiment analysis (powered by cloud natural language) with call recording from Avaya to monitor sentiment for each user query and create sentiment analysis scores. With these, you could build an intelligent virtual assistant that proactively follows up with customers and sends automatic alerts and notifications.
Three ways to leverage the API economy
- You can log into a vendor’s cloud platform, establish a developer portal and gain access to all of that vendor’s APIs with samples of how to use them within different development environments. You can take those samples and embed them into your code or play around with them however you’d like. See which APIs can be used with different programming languages or browse public REST APIs that can be embedded regardless of the code you’re developing.
- Skip building code entirely with drag and drop visual workflows that compile everything for you in your desired programming language. Simply drag, drop, create and publish.
- Begin immediately using pre-built apps as a service from vendors (i.e. speech-enabled IVR, text engagement for a toll-free number). Take the app as is or customize it however you’d like leveraging its API foundation.
On the user side, enterprises can consume services across the board to create as much value as possible as opposed to being tethered to one single vendor. The API economy also reduces costs as users only pay for the services they consume (there’s no cost to build the use case). Some vendors also offer subscription models where pre-built apps or APIs can be used 24x7 under one fixed price. On the vendor side, core assets can be reused, shared and monetized through APIs to extend the reach of existing services and provide new revenue streams.
Use cases of the API economy
- SMS: send messages/alerts and enable two-way conversation.
- Data: collect critical customer data like what type of device they’re using and where it’s located to provide faster and better service; add data to your agent desktop like FAQs and knowledge-base articles to empower them in assisting customers.
- AI: add conversational intelligence to voice and digital communications, enable real-time transcription for conversations, enable automatic spell check for chat conversations, etc.
- Social messaging: create chat capabilities through social platforms like Facebook Messenger to provide added value and better customer support.
Here are some things Avaya customers have been or can be able to achieve using the API economy:
- A national retailer running on an Avaya phone system with data housing in Google wanted to be able to better serve its customers via an intelligent assistant solution. What would have been a massive undertaking in years past was made possible in 30 days using our cloud solution, which had modules to invoke calling, text and Web chat, and Google’s cloud solution, which had modules for capabilities like sentiment analysis and speech transcription. By simply stitching the two together through code, we were able to have the use case in production in just one month.
- Municipalities can create an automated self-service application for citizens to easily pay bills and property taxes. Without having to deploy any infrastructure, city officials are able to write an application layer, invoke data lookup, and allow for self-service interaction by embedding capabilities like speech recognition, recording, and voice transcription into their Avaya-based voice, text and Web applications. All interactions continued to be logged, and everything remained compliant. What would be a manual, time-intensive and very expensive project was transformed into a simplified, streamlined and cost-effective process with a digestible, feasible rate (a huge benefit for budget-constrained agencies).
The benefits of the API economy are endless: extend your reach as a vendor, better leverage data, generate more revenue, and create experiences that matter. McKinsey estimates that as much as $1 trillion in total economic profit could be up for grabs through the redistribution of revenues across sectors within API ecosystems. Now’s the time to get on board. Your customers want it, and the potential payoff is huge.