API partnerships - a marriage that won't end in divorce?

Written by: Richard Bastin
Published on: March 07, 2014

API partnerships - a marriage that won't end in divorce?

APIs are a way for different IT systems to transact with each other. Through partnerships, in-house development teams can integrate the functionality of another offering as part of their own. Simple.  The question is, is this just another IT fad or something to fully embrace before your competitors do? After all, you don’t want to lose business to them if they can offer more to your target customers.  

Let’s look at the facts. Salesforce stated that 50% of all their transactions now happen via its API. That’s big news for a company with over $3 billion in annual revenue. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos famously told his IT team to create all new services as APIs and now its Web Service growth rate is off the scale. I mean, didn’t they just sell books and DVDs at one point? Even Twitter wouldn’t exist without an API. Can you imagine having to copy and paste to re-tweet a message?  Just press the re-tweet button and the API does the rest now.

OK, so I have your attention, but I hear you saying - can you give me a real world example for a business process? 

Take this typical use case. You use Salesforce as a CRM and have made the sale. Hurrah, good for you! However, the sale doesn’t count until the customer signs the contract. You have to break out of Salesforce, send the buyer the contract, chase them to sign it, await the signed contract by fax or email, and then finally upload it into Salesforce. A very long, drawn out process.

DocuSign created the ability to send digital documents that are signed electronically, eliminating the need for paper. Great. Finally an easy way to send and receive signed contracts. Not so fast, though. The document is only a template and doesn’t have the customer details or the exact product they were sold. Instead, you now have to cut and paste the information from Salesforce, but, inevitably, have to keep checking DocuSign to see if the customer completed the contract. This is because the process is not integrated. You find yourself back to square one and you need to push the completed document back into Salesforce once the customer signs.

 Solution? A developer uses the Salesforce API and the DocuSign API to integrate the two separate applications. Voila! No need to double key any data or manually link up the two processes, as it all happens seamlessly and businesses can spend more time talking to their customers and making the next sale.

At Currency Cloud, we have a vision for international payments. We want our customers to be able to move money around the world seamlessly. Otherwise they have to break out of their Finance package or ERP system, check XE.com for the latest exchange rates, phone around a few FX brokers to get the best price and eventually (deep breath) make the payment to their supplier via their Online Banking portal. 

Solution? A developer uses Currency Cloud API to securely integrate its functionality into their organisation’s model.  For example you can use our Quote API, which gives users full transparency, showing you live market rates and what you are being charged for the transaction. You can then instruct us to convert the currency and make the payment to the beneficiary, it’s that simple! 

Furthermore, once your developer has created this process with our API building blocks, it can be repeated again and again so customers can continue to obtain the benefits of Currency Cloud Platform.

In fact it works so well, you just kind of forget about it.

Those are the best types of IT systems. They just work and we rely on them to make our lives better, a bit like a marriage. 

Ooh that reminds me, I must thank my wife for all the things she does for me…