Although the term API or "Application Programming Interface" remains alien to most people, this way of allowing various apps and system software to talk to each other has made and continues to make positive impacts on quality of living and business success.
You may not be aware of it, but you benefit from API just by searching in the Internet, on social media platforms, by using Google Maps in a rideshare app, or pay with e-wallets, among many others.
Intended for greater data sharing and collaboration, the adoption of APIs by businesses and organizations across major industries has grown tremendously in 2021 and is projected to grow even further as companies
advance their digital transformation efforts.
Impact of APIs Across Industries
According to the latest report by RapidAPI touted "The State of APIs Developer Survey 2021," a total of 2,200 professionals using APIs indicated that participating in the API economy is a top priority of their organization’s strategy.
A detailed look at the responses of all the industries included in the survey showed that increased API usage was led by Financial Services (67.1%), followed by Technology (61.2%), Manufacturing (60%), Telecommunications (59.2%), Healthcare (55.6%), Professional Services (52.8%), and Government (44.4%).
Yet according to a much larger scale survey conducted by API platform Postman – which inquired 28,000 developers and other tech pros – API-fueled innovation has helped companies respond to the pandemic; that the global API ecosystem is growing; that developers are spending more time than ever with APIs and that almost everyone believes investment of time and resources into APIs will increase or stay the same in their organizations for the next 12 months.
What is an API?
API, also referred to as Software Intermediary, is basically a set of rules that command how one application communicates with another easily. Simply put, API can be likened to a "glue" that links technologies.
With APIs, data exchange methods, processes and workflows can be done in an automated way, at much less cost even as they provide better consumer experiences, enabling faster and more engaging transactions than traditional means. One common example that APIs make possible is making payments using e-wallets, or thru online bank transfer, or a credit card.
Why APIs Matter
Besides serving as a great tool that makes apps communicate with each other, APIs also allow developers to build innovative software more rapidly, aimed at improving services, enable innovations, therefore enriching business competitions.
Proof of API-empowerment was realized at the height of the pandemic that caused tectonic shifts in market trends. Respondents in the Postman survey said they had to digitally (and quickly) modernize their organization to better serve changing markets, while some other respondents said they had to pivot their business entirely.
Because of the power of APIs, organizations were able to implement changes in weeks or months that would have otherwise taken years. Common areas the companies in the report invested include e-commerce, customer support via chat and text, and contactless digital systems — all of which relied on APIs.
Backing on API's importance, Iddo Gino, CEO and founder of RapidAPI, said that companies who are accelerating their transition to digital channels are turning to tools that make their developers more productive – especially APIs. He noted this year’s study underscores the importance of creating an API strategy that delivers business value across all industries.
The RapidAPI survey found that APIs are enabling more collaboration than ever before. Internal APIs are still the most common API type that developers use (74.3%). However, more respondents (49.1%) reported working on third party APIs. Partner-facing APIs had the most significant increase this year (44.3%, up from 34.6% in 2020).
Smile as an API Enabler
We at Smile API maximize the potentials of API focused on empowering people, especially the unbanked and underserved in the financial services industry. We enable them to easily share their employment and income data to trusted third parties so they can get access to financial services much more quickly and easily.
In applying for a loan for example, this can be an inconvenient and time-consuming process for the borrower, and a costly and inefficient one for the lender. With user-authorized, API-enabled, direct access to this data from your employer, this can all be done quickly and at much less risk for the bank—ultimately resulting in much lower interest rates for everyone.
The benefits are more pronounced however for freelancers and gig economy workers. These include everything from the motorcycle delivery riders, to part-time virtual assistants, all the way to work-from-home web designers and developers working for foreign employers.
Traditionally, these types of workers would have difficulty getting access to financial services as they could not provide traditional documents to prove financial capacity. With Smile, we provide a way for these traditionally underserved segments of the workforce to gain access to financial services by allowing them to share their gig and freelance work history and earnings much more easily.
The Smile API platform allows user-authorized access to valuable employment and income data from HR, payroll, e-commerce, and marketplace platforms through a single API.
Interested in finding out more? Are you a fintech or bank that wants to use employment and income data for your financial products? Contact us today!