The pressure is increasing for businesses in Asia-Pacific to deliver personalised, app-like experiences for customers and employees alike while recovering economically from the pandemic. It has contributed to a deluge of technology investments.
Even before the pandemic, business leaders focused on leveraging technology to build more coordinated operations to facilitate seamless engagement with internal and external stakeholders. IDC expects that by 2025, 75% of business leaders in Asia-Pacific will make use of digital platforms.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are providing a gateway for this accelerated rebound by offering pre-configured building blocks that can be leveraged quickly and repeatedly to accelerate the development and launch of new products or services.
Think of it like the self-checkout lanes at stores that reduce queues and get customers out of the door faster with their purchases. A common issue, tunnel vision, prevents businesses from getting a return on this investment. The enthusiasm about adopting APIs overshadows the complexity, and planning involved that can be overcome with integration.
This means that as companies expand, adding more staff and digital assets, IT departments constantly find themselves retrofitting older connections between people and processes, which quickly becomes unmanageable. Going back to the self-checkout lanes at stores, if new items are not logged into the supermarket system or a clerk needs to cross-check every transaction receipt manually, then the time saving, and convenience benefits are diminished.
Before embracing APIs, organisations should obtain an accurate, real-time view of what is happening in the business through integration. Connecting disparate systems and data will allow business leaders to see the factors that are impacting the business.
The foundation needed for agility
Last year, Hong Kong based Native Union was able to pivot the sale of its fashionable tech accessories online when the retail stores it previously sold its stock closed temporarily. Due to its cloud-based integration, not only was the company able to make this shift almost overnight, but it also reduced the time it took for employees to process orders, enhanced remote warehouse management, and deployed a new fulfilment warehouse without making a visit to the site.
Not only did this lay the foundation for a successful e-commerce business, but it also means that the company is well-positioned to capture and synchronise the data informing its APIs so that meeting changing consumer demands is quick and easy.
In addition, JERA, Japan's largest electric power company gained unprecedented visibility into its ecosystem through the integration of data and devices, which allowed the organisation to prevent disruptions in operations across 10 countries. This created a central data repository for improving business intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, a crucial part of delivering greater customer value.
Implementing this integration enabled JERA to automate and centralise data exchanges between previously disparate legacy systems, playing a pivotal role in expediting the migration of critical workloads to the cloud, and enabling its stakeholders’ access to accurate and actionable data that is required to run the company's multinational operations and power plants.
Importance of a digital core
As these examples show, a digitally connected core assures business leaders that their systems and APIs are leveraging data in a protected local or data center environment, away from unauthorised parties. This enables organisations to pursue modernisation projects to meet customer and employee expectations, as well as navigate the economic environment confidently.
This has been especially valuable as enterprises manage operational changes. Adding APIs to a cohesive digital environment ensures that enterprises have the right level of business intelligence to create development "fast lanes".
The resulting data foundation allows businesses to improve API management and operations, which enables faster deployment of new applications and services for stakeholders, demonstrates compliance and generates greater value from legacy tech investments.
Honchew Seetoh is the General Manager for Asia, Boomi