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At Photon, we believe that Open API is the bedrock that powers the omnichannel experience(s) and makes true omnichannel strategy a reality. While most companies are just waking up to the API economy, the founders of Photon, Srinivas Balasubramanian and Mukund Balasubramanian, had foreseen the game-changing potential of APIs and Microservices over a decade ago. In 1998 they had founded Infravio, one of the world's leading SOA Infrastructure companies. From 2000 to 2006, they wrote several of the standards in the SOA Governance and API Management space. Infravio’s success led to its acquisition by webMethods in 2006. Today, Photon leverages the deep understanding of enterprise middleware gained from those roots and builds award-winning omnichannel presences for some of the biggest brands, including 34 of the Fortune 100 companies.
 
 
What are APIs?
APIs (Application Program Interfaces) are software-to-software interfaces that enable partners and consumers to perform business functions and securely exchange data that is otherwise confined within a proprietary system. In simple terms, APIs are the customer interface for technology products that enable communication between software components within and between organizations.
  
 
Are APIs Critical For Omnichannel Success?
Yes. “Today’s customer journey is no longer limited to a single touchpoint,” explains Srinivas Balasubramanian, CEO of Photon. “Siloed IT system delivery causes a great deal of friction to customer experience.”
Omnichannel API abstracts the complexities of underlying systems using Microservice Architecture and helps in building truly seamless and scalable front-end experiences by developing each element of functionality as a separate service and then reconnecting fragmented systems to deliver customer value. In the retail context, Product Catalog, Rich Content, and Commerce Platform can be three separate systems that can be integrated via API to provide a complete shopping experience. In the banking domain, it can be functionalities like My Account Management, Bill Pay Services, and marketing content like Offers and Up-sell Service Promotions that can be combined together for a personalized banking experience. In the consumer goods context, it can be Product Information and Education, Brand Utility Experiences, and Where to Buy functionalities that can be integrated to drive brand satisfaction or loyalty.
 
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Top 5 Reasons How APIs Fit Into Omnichannel Strategy
APIs are the foundational piece of omnichannel strategy because they allow you to:
 
o Reach Your Customers, Anywhere, On Any device
By securely exposing an amazing wealth of company assets, APIs unlock the business capabilities to multiple channels and partners, allowing capitalization of those new channels for higher conversion. These services can be consumed and integrated by a wide variety of developers and partners who embed them in various digital channels, allowing your consumers to connect with you on any device.
 
o Build Brand Love With Personalized Customer Experience
APIs provide the essential but secure connectivity between the customers, their immediate surrounding and needs, and the business, providing more personal and contextual targeting opportunities to boost sales, brand love, and loyalty.
 
o Wow and Engage Your Users With Customer  Innovation
APIs power rapid and fancy front-end innovations, giving you the ability to speed up the launch of new apps, microservices, web features and functionality, design, native mobile apps, mobile web and more. “Opening up internal systems to the third-party developers by well-defined APIs enables product innovation via mash-ups, plug-ins, and integration to keep your brand relevant and customers happy,” advises Mukund Balasubramanian, CTO of Photon.
 
o Win Customers Through Friction-free Experiences
APIs are the difference between winning customers through friction-free experiences and losing opportunities to competition that out-innovates you. An API-centric model allows multiple software systems—CRM, ERP, OMS, and CMS—to integrate and interact seamlessly, enabling seamless eCommerce transactions for retailers, loyalty programs for consumer brands, and mobile payments for financial services companies.
 
o Drive Faster, Cheaper, and Easier Software Development
The loosely coupled structure of microservices approach allows greater agility in development and deployment of new functionality, lowers app development costs, increases efficiency, and improves time-to-market. Leveraging reusable APIs lowers the cost of expansion for new channels and partners while allowing faster expansion and distribution to new channels and partners.
 

APIs are a call-to-action to digital leaders, and those who implement an API strategy early on gain the competitive advantage to move quickly, be agile, and bring value to their customers in this highly brand-jumping and channel-hopping economy.

 

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