Originally, the title of this blog referred to communication “trends,” but what we’re seeing here at Zang would be better described as needs than trends.
In business, customer attitudes evolve, the workplace transforms, and technology progresses rapidly, leaving organizations in a state of constant adaptation. Along with all of that come new sets of needs. Suddenly, scattered workers need ways to connect, when walking down the hall isn’t always possible. Customer service managers need to keep pace with customers, who prefer to interact with businesses on their own terms, in a variety of ways. Keeping up with demands like these is a necessity—the business world’s version of “survival of the fittest.”
Finding solutions to communication needs is what Zang is all about. Our robust application programming interfaces (APIs) have helped many businesses to meet their needs, as have the APIs of numerous other companies across all industries. APIs, too, are changing, to meet the latest demands of businesses on the move, and they’re now seen as strategically important for growth. Along the way, this explosive growth of the API economy has also exposed a few basic truths about the human race: 1) We want what we want, the way we want it. 2) We know a good thing when we see it.
There’s an API for that
We may need solutions, but—needs aside—we want only the solution that’s right for us.
Higher customer expectations are driving a lot of change recently, creating new needs for external communication methods. For example, one business we’ve talked with recently wants to up its game by implementing callbacks using SMS for its contact center agents. Rather than keeping callers waiting on the phone, the company wants to offer customers the option to have their place in line “saved” so they can hang up and attend to other things. When their turn is approaching, they’ll receive a text message notification. This service will show that the business cares about its customers, which will pay dividends down the line.
This is a great idea, but the technology to put it in place isn’t readily available on the market, and that’s where Zang comes in. Now, we’re working together to create a custom app that will give this company exactly what it needs. Similar scenarios are playing out everywhere. APIs are now building blocks for personalization. It used to be that businesses had to settle, making themselves fit a particular solution. That meant petitioning software developers—adding your voice to a litany of others on relevant Internet forums—hoping they would add features in the next product release that might address your specific issues.
Today, apps are infinitely customizable, addressing any possible needs you can think of, thanks to the API economy; no settling needed. And more than likely, those needs will change in an instant, but so can your app.
The new API mentality
The real magic of APIs happens as a result of companies working together to create a seamless experience for the customer. Businesses that are willing to provide access to select data reap rewards in more ways than one. This realization has turned the API from what used to be merely underground software code into the foundation of a thriving business model.
Certainly there are monetary benefits to be had. Amazon and Salesforce are just two examples of businesses that have generated substantial revenues from making select APIs available. On the other side, many APIs, like Zang’s, offer a “pay as you go” model, allowing businesses to pay for only what they use—a great advantage for growing companies.
But the benefits aren’t just monetary. Sharing an API extends a company’s reach beyond its usual borders, increasing brand exposure; it also reduces the development and sales cycles. A business owner who builds SMS interaction into workflow processes can either force people to buy an expensive software system—which means generating sales leads, identifying qualified prospects and negotiating a deal—or unlock the product’s functionality and, if it’s worth its salt, generate revenue without even trying.
The design process for applications is falling in line with this mentality, too, considering the needs of potential users (developers) ahead of everything else—to the point where APIs are transforming from just an “extra” to a company’s main offering.
Without a doubt, the API economy is poised to dramatically affect traditional business models. As it evolves, you can be sure of one thing: It will continue to fulfill our needs as quickly as those needs change.
Read more on the Zang communication development platform from Mo in this article recapping his talk in Ireland last month.