API’s present a great opportunity to change the way technology solutions are delivered to the market. For a few days, I’ve been talking a lot about how API’s enable companies to abstract out the user experience of their mobile apps from their core back end systems as a way to create more personal connections with customers and to drive more value out of mobile applications.
Coincidental to my pulling out this particular soap box, Amazon & Samsung announced a great example of how this works.
Amazon is creating a “special app for Samsung”… With a whole new business model specifically targeting Samsung customers – it’s not just a “white label Amazon book store”, it’s a whole new model – readers can choose one book a month for free out of a selection that Samsung decides.
How would this work for a bank?
Perhaps the bank is focused on business clients. They realize that one of the ways they compete is by creating a more personal relationship with customers than their competitors can create.
With API’s, it’s possible to create a custom app for their largest customers tailored to their individual needs and the specific features of the bank that the customer is signed up to use. Such a personalized app strengthens the relationship between the bank and their customer. It’s lets the customer more easily extract value from the bank because the app is tailored to their needs.
It goes without saying, that in theory they’d want to do that for every customer… it’s just a matter of ROI. Common thinking would be that it’s too hard to do (and maintain) a custom solution for each customer… until you think of an API strategy – where if the bank chooses, they don’t even need to do all the development themselves.
My favorite example of using API’s to create many more custom solutions than they ever could without using API’s is actually a pseudo-government organization. It’s the NYC Transit Authority, and at my last check they have over 160 mobile apps for iPhone, Android, & iPad. I don’t believe they developed a single one themselves.
People often have very technical conversations around API’s. Notice, I didn’t once use a technical acronym above but hopefully got you to feel a sense of… “holy crap, this makes sense.”