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Get Digital Ready Now: I ♥ APIs 2014 Kicks Off

Sep 09, 2014

Under bright sunshine and with amazing views of San Francisco and the Bay out every window at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion, I ♥ APIs 2014 kicked off today with Chet Kapoor’s keynote.

Chet talked about how businesses get digital ready. But more than that, he spoke to how businesses need to become adaptive digital businesses. He defined a digital business as one that increases profits by increasing the use of digital assets. Business have to be adaptive to survive.

Chet defines APIs as the price of entry to the digital world, and he argued that the second big step toward digital success is how well a business gleans value from big data. By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connecting the Internet of Everything.

"Where you see a device we see an API,” he said.

 "APIs are the price of entry to the digital world, but to be adaptive you have to embrace predictive analytics."  

Getting digital ready and finding digital success requires the right foundation—a foundation that brings APIs and big data predictive analytics together. It requires serving all the components of the digital value chain—seamlessly. And between the end user and the backend systems in the digital value chain, are several important constituents—the developers, the apps they build, and the APIs they leverage to build those apps.


Big data flows through the digital value chain, and it's what you do with that data that matters. To be adaptive—to become a proactive versus reactive business—a company must embrace predictive analytics.

Apigee customer success stories are powerful indicators of how, by leveraging APIs and big data, the most successful businesses operate across the entire digital value chain. Walgreens has experienced massive success in their omnichannel strategy. Swisscom has moved far beyond a mobile-first strategy to "digital first"—the company's API program includes 120 APIs across the enterprise.

Independence Blue Cross has built a predictive analytics platform, transforming its business from a reactive to a proactive platform. Kaiser Permanente empowers developers to build new experiences and merges APIs and big data in wearables.

Acknowledging that it’s about the technology and about the people too, Chet argued that a blocker to progress can be in getting people ready to build digital business. He went on to recommend the top priorities over the next 12 months for each of the people who are the constituents and stakeholders of the digital value chain—the developers, the IT professionals, and business people.

Having worked with a large number of leading businesses—both digital natives and immigrants—it's clear that having an executive level digital leader is a key factor to the success of a digital transformation, so Chet recommended that businesses appoint a C-level digital business leader.

For IT, Chet'’s strong advice is to operate two-speed IT. The first speed is at the pace of your systems of record; the second and top gear is for systems of engagement. The latter systems operate at a faster pace than the systems of record. This top speed is the critical new speed necessary for IT organizations to be able to say yes to the business in a fast moving digital world.

Developers need to innovate and iterate by building adaptive apps, not just those that are transactional.

These will be big steps for many and everything cannot be done at once, but start with  what you can influence, leverage the new technology, and see the opportunity in the possibilities.

Many of these thoughts were echoed by a terrific panel of experts including Abhi Dhar of Walgreens, Dan Raju of Tradier, and Jin Lee from Accenture who provided their expertise and perspective on everything from the worldwide explosion of digital, to the tipping points they’ve seen for businesses to become digital, to engagement models and a new world of creating value with APIs. It was an exciting start to a couple of days jam-packed with information about getting digital ready.

More to come. Embrace the art of the possible!

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