The Democratization of Innovation

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The Democratization of Innovation

APIs are the building blocks for innovation.

· Integration Zone ·
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I had the opportunity to meet with Ross Mason, Founder, MuleSoft following his keynote on The Democratization of Innovation.

Companies today are innovating at such a pace no one is able to do it all internally. The next generation of the web is APIs and capabilities. Today, there are tens of thousands of APIs to build upon. There's a great opportunity for innovation by other people on your behalf.

It's easier for small teams to innovate than large teams because there are no legacy ways of doing things that you have to get past. APIs are now the building blocks of innovation rather than a piece of software. They allow people to innovate and unlock the true value of your enterprise.

Innovation today is focused on delivering an outstanding customer experience (CX) which requires disparate capabilities – platforms, services, providers. Nimble players are emerging. Square has evolved from credit card reader to payments, payment services, e-commerce, and internet purchase facilitator. It is providing additional services exposed as an API.

Tic Toc is a digital mortgage provider based in Australia. Where it used to take three weeks to complete a mortgage application, it now takes 22 seconds on a mobile app with automated background and credit checks providing a seamless experience for the customer.

How can you connect things together in different ways to make the lives of your customers simpler and easier?

Siloed teams aren’t equipped to deliver seamless experiences. There's a gap between IT and business where they don’t know what each other needs, let alone what the customer needs. Data is difficult to access. There is a lack of feedback loops. APIs are the solution but you have to get out of the silo and view situations from the customer's perspective.

APIs enable you to iterate if it doesn’t work. Get feedback and iterate on what matters. APIs are building blocks for innovation today with smartphones and apps with each app built from many other building blocks.

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Uber is an aggregation of previously disparate apps. They offered new building blocks for people to iterate around.   

APIs democratize innovation through ecosystems. When Hertz moved into South America, they partnered with Localiza. They built core APIs for the experience of working with Hertz -- fleet management, payments, reservations, vehicle availability, customer, rate quotes, and customer profiles.

In order to innovate to meet the evolving needs of the consumer, begin with a mindset change. Move from how quickly you're delivering projects to solving customer problems and delivering value. Identify the infrastructure you need to meet the demands of the customer. IT and the business have to be responsible for driving innovation to meet customer needs

Ross outlined the three steps to execute an API strategy. Start by creating leverage of your existing digital assets with API-led connectivity. Design APIs to delight developers. Build for the broader village to innovate with you. Nurture ecosystems with API programs.

Application networks create a foundation for ecosystems:

  • Fast and agile by design with pluggable, reusable building blocks
  • Secure across endpoints  with built-in visibility and governance at every node
  • Dramatically lower costs through reuse and self-service
  • Democratizes innovation by leveraging digital assets across your organization and beyond

The MuleSoft Anypoint Platform is a:

  • Single product for application networks with APIs and integration on one platform
  • Lets developers plug in anything from anywhere
  • Builds in visibility, security, and governance across the network

The compound benefits of ecosystems as you increase audience reach and self-service assets, you get integration, which leads to API-led connectivity and evolves into an API ecosystem. This scales to 2.5X in methodology, to 5X in innovation strategy, and 10X in innovation deliverables.

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