Infosys experts share their views on how digital is significantly impacting enterprises and consumers by redefining experiences, simplifying processes and pushing collaborative innovation to new levels

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APIs for Every Business

  Sometime ago, a bunch of guys thought of renting a car for the first time in their life and travel from London to Isle of Skye, Scotland during the Christmas weekend. They did a random search, found only 1 renter who was available; so paid a premium, got a black Ford Focus and embarked. During the journey, the car broke down and since there is no business during Christmas, it took almost 2 days to get a replacement car while stranded in a nearby youth hostel. Since the provider was a web-site (agent), there was a chain of calls to get to the car replacement agency.

Consider this scenario instead - Those bunch of guys posted their requirement on digital media and in response, multiple sellers (renters, agencies, brokers) poured in with their offerings with messages on how their services are “different and better”.

Additionally, an app provides a neat checklist and alerts - car’s condition based on the different sensors and simple list of phone numbers to call with an instant response time for any situation (from fender benders to something serious).

Now post their return from the first trip, the word spread about the exciting and ‘successful’ journey and those bunch of guys increased from 5 to 7. They planned their next trip to Wales. This time they also called-in multiple providers, in addition to the web-search to ensure they had a good serviced vehicle. They finally settled with a better overall deal. They got a Vauxhall Zafira and the trip was fine till one of the tyres burst while climbing a mount. This time they could replace it with the spare tyre but found a new situation - they had run out of fuel. A kind local - the only visible local in that remote mountain helped out with a can of gasoline and the journey continued.

Both these trips though a decade old were quite ordinary and commonly faced by consumers even today. The new scenario and the app would have been a totally true customer experience.

The above illustration is to drive home a simple point - the consumer needs to be at the center and sellers should compete for their business. That’s the case for intention economy (Doc Searls coined this a decade back and followed with a book When customers take charge). Other examples include a patient in need of a particular therapist with certain personal requirements, an auto repairer looking for a specific part not available with manufacturer, a traveler looking for a multi country itinerary including visas, a person looking for event-manager for a wedding or birthday celebrations and so on. Even in current times, buyers sweat out in finding the right products and services, while businesses spend their effort on marketing, generating leads and “capturing” the customer. As Searls points out, businesses still act in “silos” and not integrated for consumer needs.

The IoT ecosystem, providing intelligent and useful information (diagnosing car sensors, time, place and behavior assisting the consumer in the above example) takes the form of ambient intelligence (AmI). AmI examples with relevant to Infosys clients include a telco diversifying in home automation and security; a healthcare provider integrating payers, life science devices through medical sensors and giving a post-surgical care to a member; a shopping mall or large retailer integrating banking services, social media and Wi-Fi provider in creating an ecosystem to improve customer revisits and loyalty; utilities managing the home environment and proactively and actively assisting during weather outages, vacations and disasters.

We, at Infosys API economy practice, have constructed a set of frameworks and business APIs, combining the consumer winning concepts of Ambient Intelligence and Intention Economy. For instance, APIs for integrating utility outages and energy savings through social channels, APIs for changing provider for a mobile user, APIs for basic information on rates, products, order-status; and APIs for Digital Wallet (easy for a consumer bank to subscribe to any of the popular and regional digital payment channels).

We have also created a PAAS to build these APIs as Microservices - Infosys Cornerstone Platform. The objective is to give our clients to build relevant API Economies or business platforms (e.g. the bringing riders and drivers through a popular mobile app, bring media contributers and viewers through a media distribution internet channel and software driven automobiles). These industry leading concepts can be applied in traditional businesses and their enterprises where producers and consumers can come together and everyone is able to monetize, get the best service and value for money.

What’s your API Economy strategy? What are the concepts your teams are working on to surf the next wave in Digital businesses?

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