How APIs Can Transform Your Regulated Business
Enhanced connectivity, often in the guise of integrations represents a key driver of the increased importance of software today.
The ubiquity of software plumbing means that we often take it for granted and we come to expect it and depend upon it heavily.
How is it that we can track our journey home across multiple forms of Transport (using CityMapper) and then easily forward the details via WhatsApp? Or watch Netflix movies on multiple devices where each device picks up where you left off on the other device? Or even book an appointment online which is automatically added to our Google calendar? Finally, transferring currencies internationally via a few clicks on your Transferwise App.
The answer to all of these scenarios is through the use of APIs (Application Programming Interface).
An API allows two applications to communicate with one another. In other words, an API is a messenger that delivers your request to a provider that you’re requesting it from and then delivers a response back to you.
APIs work in the background by acquiring multiple siloed data sources (via databases, CRM, platforms, devices, websites and other APIs) and by connecting this data together to create value for the end-user.
It is important to know that not all API’s work in exactly the same way. There are public APIs which can be accessed by anyone, and private APIs which require an account or special permission. The volume and type of data that can be accessed also varies from one API to the next. However, they all share a common feature, marrying different data sets and presenting them in an easily accessible manner can transform the lives of the user.
Data is perhaps one of the most valuable assets a business has, and if used correctly the management of this data will have a huge impact on your success as a company (particularly those service-based companies that create a lot of data e.g. many regulated businesses like financial services companies).
A growing number of regulated businesses today are now using data through API technology to drive growth, to improve operations and to help ensure compliance with multiple regulations. Below is a list of the top benefits from API integrations that will transform your business.
8 Benefits from Leveraging API Integrations
1. Enhancing Your Client Onboarding Capability
Signing up to a service or opening an account can be a frustrating experience particularly when it comes to regulated businesses. Complex client due diligence processes, such as performing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks can mean a slow and cumbersome onboarding process that often leads to very high abandonment rates and lost revenues.
APIs can help streamline the onboarding processes by performing real-time identity verification checks on your client, whilst they complete an online form. This lowers costs, increases signup rates and improves the client experience.
2. Modernising Legacy Systems
Large organisations and Financial Institutions (FIs) are under pressure to modernise legacy technology and to migrate more of their services into the cloud. APIs offer a means to do this, by connecting legacy systems and cloud applications without laborious and costly development work.
More businesses are already running their APIs in the cloud as it provides the flexibility to cope with changing regulations, increasing demand and make efficient connections, enabling them to adapt and innovate faster than their competitors.
3. Improving Your Personalisation Capability
Machine Learning has the ability to develop a consolidated customer view, with a deep understanding of each client at an individual level previously unimaginable. Machine Learning technology can analyse a client’s data and behaviour online, then display the most appropriate, targeted services, for them. APIs will bring together multiple siloed data sources for Machine Learning to then analyse data and create tailored client experiences, helping to increase retention and optimise revenue possibilities.
4. Building New Revenue Streams
Building new products and entering new marketing can be a risky and expensive endeavour. However many technology firms are making use of testing environments called ‘Sandboxes’, which essentially act like a child’s sandpit, in order to play and test the integration and configuration offers a safe, self-contained environment to test API handling.
A Sandbox also allows for robust testing and development work, enabling firms to fast-track product development cycles and reduce time-to-market.
5. Improving Customer Services
With APIs, you can build a single platform system that equips your sales and support teams to anticipate and meet customer needs more effectively across the channels they prefer. By providing your employees with the exact information they need about each specific client, you’re empowering them to give excellent customer service.
6. Creating an Omnichannel Approach
Companies are now executing omnichannel strategies to attract and retain clients, by connecting the physical world with multiple channels on the online world.
By leveraging an API-led approach, businesses can establish more meaningful (and useful) relationships with their customer and improve overall customer engagement—moving beyond simple transactions through to multi-channel engagement. APIs create a link between cloud, on-premises systems, website and mobile—offering a seamless experience for their clients.
No matter the industry, companies are converting to an omnichannel strategy for their services and APIs will be front and centre.
7. Streamlining Your Operations
An API can be used to automate internal operations, such as real-time identity verification of your clients, raising support tickets, and storing of an audit trail. Through APIs, client facing interaction within your business can connect with back-end processes for an optimised workflow.
At NorthRow many of our clients integrate our single API into their CRM systems (like SalesForce), all client AML and KYC checks are stored in SalesForce, which can then can be accessed by different parts of the business, ensuring a client-centric approach to business where everyone is always on top of every evolving client relationship and partnership.
8. Helping You To Meet Compliance Obligations
To continue to remain compliant, regulated businesses often need to be able to adapt to changes in regulations quickly, especially those that adhere to stringent regulations.
Adopting an API-led approach to business means you can update your processes and data to meet regulation with greater efficiency and flexibility whilst reducing cost. For secure data transmission and storage, API is not only easier, but more effective in the long run.
The Rise of the API Economy
More businesses will adopt an API strategy, with the objective of enabling greater agility and efficiency within their company and driving more innovation to compete alongside emerging startups that continue to erode their value proposition.
Companies like Uber, Facebook, and Slack have achieved massive success through using an API lead approach to business, and established players and institution will start to follow a similar strategy. Open Banking, for example, is an initiative in the UK, where banks are requested to open up their APIs externally to break down information silos and to unlock data for innovative startups that can leverage this data to create value for the owner of the data.
At NorthRow we expect the value of APIs for companies to increase in the years to come. Every industry and every client touch-point will find itself interacting with APIs as developers harness the power of data. Speak to a NorthRow team member today to learn how we can help your regulated business streamline client onboarding by automating AML, KYC, KYB and IDV checks via a single API.