Sibos 2017: APIs – a holistic approach
In today’s (17 October) session at Sibos, API in financial services: the key to the future?, the discussion panel participants were in agreement on the following: if your want your API strategy to work, you’ve got to have a holistic approach to it across the organisation.
Whilst APIs are not really new to any financial services organisation – the IT teams have been doing it internally for years – the concept of “plugging APIs with external partners” is a very different thing, said David Andrzejek, head of vertical solutions for Apigee Google Cloud.
An audience poll during the session revealed that 55% of the attendees have at least some kind of API strategy in place (or are working on creating one). But what are the components to make the strategy a success?
Damian Richardson, head of payments strategy and innovation at NatWest, feels the API journey has no end, as it is always evolving. NatWest is just at the start of it, he says.
It is vital to see “a bigger picture”, he said. How does your API strategy fit into a broader value chain that is “much bigger than yourself”? What are your customers are trying to accomplish? The outside in view of your business is very important, he said.
Also, when working with external partners, one has to take into consideration that these partners might also struggle with APIs and understanding them, they might have legacy technology holding them back and the lack of talent.
Meanwhile, inside the organisation, the alignment across all relevant departments, such as IT, business and management, is vital, stated Saket Sharma, CIO treasury services technology, BNY Mellon.
Support from top down is very important, the panel participants agreed (you could argue this is true to any project, not just an API one).
And you can’t have an IT strategy for APIs without a business strategy, emphasised Sharma.
Andrzejek added: “APIs are not a play thing, they must have business significance”. And they are not “a magic answer to everything”, so it will not deliver value just on its own.
It all has to come together – business, data, legacy technology, development and so on.
“A product-centric mindset has replaced the application-centric one,” he stated. And that means it is all about the customers and their needs and wants.
This, he continued, requires a shift in thinking within the organisation, a tighter connection and collaboration between the departments (particularly IT, business, product and compliance) and education. A lot of education.
“The IT often tends to overcomplicate. So they need to simplify it to their business colleagues, explain and repeat. And then the business starts asking the right questions, and they can take it from there – and take a more proactive role.”
Follow us on Twitter @DailyNewsSibos
Read all the latest news and views from Sibos 2017 online here or pick up a free print copy of Daily News at Sibos if you are at the conference!