Digitalization is ushering in a seismic change in the way products are consumed, services are delivered, and revenue and costs are allocated. Customer experience is at the center of this change. The balance of power has shifted fundamentally in favor of the user, but line-of-business leaders have yet to purposefully give more control to users in any kind of meaningful way. This is vital to accomplish, because users have become accustomed to having control in other areas of their digital life, in some cases (such as media, travel and e-commerce) for more than a decade.
New digital entrants Puddle, Billtrust, Crowdtilt, LevelUp, Square and others have focused on shifting control to users much more aggressively than banks. Public Web APIs have been key to their success, both in terms of transforming customer experience (by giving users control) and achieving rapid growth. For example, WePay’s monthly crowdfunding payment processing is around $1.5 million and has grown by 35% per month since it got its first crowdfunding API partner in October 2011. Braintree, acquired by eBay for $800 million in cash, is a merchant acquiring payment platform based on APIs and processes more than $10 billion per year.
Just as they have for new digital entrants, public Web APIs provide banking CIOs, chief marketing officers (CMOs) and line-of-business leaders with an opportunity to shift control to users and improve net profits, as well. Public Web APIs can be deployed in three main ways, each of which has a different impact on customer experience and net profits: 1) enable mobility and innovation, 2) increase product and service accessibility, 3) create new business models (Gartner clients, for details on each deployment model please see “API Deployment Models that Accelerate Digital Banking“).
Global banking net profits are under a tremendous amount of pressure. However, prioritizing public Web API deployment based on the highest net profit impact possible will not always be the right choice for CIOs and CMOs. By 2015, more than 50% of public Web API deployments will be to improve digital customer experience as an even more important priority than net profits.