Today's buyers have been weaned on user-friendly consumer apps and are often frustrated by enterprise applications that are constraining and bear no relation to the intuitive experiences delivered on the consumer side.
They have to be won over time and time again – complacency cannot set in. Thus, enterprises need to kick the habit of tweaking legacy applications designed for a long-gone era and exploit cloud-based services available to them through standard APIs.
This shift will enable companies to go beyond a mere "webifying" of applications to the creation of new user experiences that can dramatically enhance efficiency and usability. For example, the integration of previously siloed processes and lines of business into unified dashboards could give users powerful consolidated views of status and potential actions that should be taken or will be taken should a threshold be reached.
Standardized APIs are the drivers of innovation in the new digital world and are designed to explicitly separate the service interface from the service implementation. This enables developers to take advantage of services developed internally or externally by others through the use of simple, easy to use interfaces.
As one insurance industry CTO stated, through the use of the API economy his team was able to go from startup to delivery of four healthcare plans in 10 months by taking advantage of cloud components. Unheard of in the old world of IT.
IT executives and architects cannot be satisfied with moving the needle a few degrees. That is not a long-term winning strategy. The digital economy is shaking up the foundations of business and IT executives need to demonstrate how the use of new technologies can transform the business and help it fight off the competition.
Over the next five years businesses will be dealing with a number of disruptive forces, including new non-traditional players that look to dominate markets with their non-traditional digital business models.
Business and IT executives will need to adapt quickly and fight back with speedy, flexible applications that provide scalability, security, and simplicity. IT executives and architects will have to deliver innovative, user-friendly offerings that integrate the API economy with legacy applications before the window of opportunity closes.
About the author
Mr. Braunstein serves as Chairman/CEO and Executive Director of Research at the Robert Frances Group (RFG). In addition to his corporate role, he helps his clients wrestle with a range of business, management, regulatory, and technology issues.
He has deep and broad experience in business strategy management, business process management, enterprise systems architecture, financing, mission-critical systems, project and portfolio management, procurement, risk management, sustainability, and vendor management. Cal also chaired a Business Operational Risk Council whose membership consisted of a number of top global financial institutions.