APIs: ditching swivel chairs and embracing interoperability

APIs are continuing to shatter the past misconception that they are exclusively for the tech giants. Harvard Business Review1 emphasizes that APIs can enhance operations for small to midsize companies of all industries; a point further proven by the 24,000 APIs listed in Programmable Web’s API directory2 in April 2021, a stark increase from the 12,000 offered in 2015.1 With the growing popularity and availability of APIs, CSPs may become increasingly interested in the suitability of API integration in daily operations. However, equally important to deconstructing API suitability, is understanding how using APIs in conjunction with your network management system can boost your bottom line. 

Without doubt, one of the greatest benefits of API interaction is solving the swivel chair problem that is manually entering data into one system and subsequently having to reenter the same data into a different system. From billing to provisioning, you will often find a constant back and forth, regularly switching between different software and applications. When you have staff manually inputting the same data into multiple systems, the chance of erroneous entry significantly increases.3 

For operations to run consistently at full speed, many CSPs have turned to automated application data entry with APIs. Creating a streamlined data acquisition process; combined with additional methods of automation and interoperability has helped CSPs globally recognize increased total revenue and reduced operating costs.4

Business drivers for using APIs:

The benefits of APIs are not limited to data entry alone. APIs can help ensure that your workflows are carefully and strategically orchestrated so that your productivity and impact are optimized.

1. Efficiency: Share and distribute real-time data more easily within your organization.

2. Reach: Allow for greater flexibility in how data is disseminated inside and outside the enterprise.

3. Integration: Experience more fluid information delivery by developing an integrated user experience.

4. Automation: Increase productivity by allowing your team to re-allocate their time to undertake more productive tasks.

5. Adaptation: Have the mechanisms in place to better support changing project requirements. 

Today’s companies find success when they can quickly respond to market trends, innovate more rapidly, and continuously meet industry needs. Utilizing APIs enables you to leverage your data within a wide variety of applications, providing an essential speed and competitive edge to your business.  Consider achieving your digital transformation and business goals by using APIs to expedite your business operations, solve problems, and remain competitive. 

1B. Iyer & M. Subramaniam, “The Strategic Value of APIs,” Harvard Business Review. January 2015. https://hbr.org/2015/01/the-strategic-value-of-apis, accessed April 23, 2021

2 ProgrammableWeb.com, “API Directory,” ProgrammableWeb. April 2021. https://www.programmableweb.com/category/all/apis, accessed April 27, 2021

3 K. Barchard & L. Pace, “Preventing human error: The impact of data entry methods on data accuracy and statistical results,” ResearchGate. September 2011. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220495402_Preventing_human_error_The_impact_of_data_entry_methods_on_data_accuracy_and_statistical_results, accessed April 27, 2021

4 M. Newman, “Cloud & Automation: Changing CSPs’ outlook,” TM Forum. April 2021. https://inform.tmforum.org/research-reports/cloud-automation-changing-csps-outlook/, accessed April 27, 2021

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