• There are over 19.000 Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) currently available on ProgrammableWeb that can be used by anyone creating or extending new applications like 3D configurators, integration adapters, or extending existing platforms. Enterprise spending on private APIs is already running into millions today.
  • APIs that enable cloud-based integration are growing rapidly with 1.316 APIs, 970 Software Development Kits (SDKs), 790 Source Code Samples, 112 Mashups and five frameworks with ProgrammableWeb.
  • API management platforms are becoming more diverse, enabling the use of a broader base of APIs and adding value to existing ERP, PLM and CRM systems.
  • Cloud-based companies define “Experience APIs” specifically designed to streamline the online shopping and order fulfillment experience, with NetFlix setting the pace for rapid innovation in this area.

APIs have a positive impact on economic growth.

APIs enable different applications, systems and platforms to connect, perform a variety of tasks such as transactions, data exchange and synchronization, and report on common system performance. They are a set of software modules, tools and protocols that enable two or more platforms, systems and applications to communicate and initiate tasks and processes, including the definition and customization of graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

By integrating multiple databases, applications, and platforms. APIs are a powerful catalyst for starting new businesses, defining existing strategies for new product innovation, and redefining an entire enterprise. APIs are the glue that makes start-ups flourish. Most widely used APIs include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Simple Storage Services (Amazon S3) and FedEx Web Services API, United Parcel Service API and Pitney Bowse`s API for logistics. In addition, D&B Direct, Experian Connect API, and the popular Salesforce APIs enable the distribution of millions of products per day, as do Twilio Notify`s APIs and Box APIs, which streamline cross-departmental integration between departments and platforms.

The article by Deloitte Insights, API imperative: Form the IT department to the business mandate, how APIs enable organizations to achieve greater agility, speed, and scalability while pursuing new business initiatives. APIs free companies from the constraints of legacy IT and enable more efficient integration of suppliers, partners and distributors outside their organization.

The following video illustrates the architecture of an API platform:

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Where APIs will revolutionize Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and product configuration.

Closing the gap between what production delivers and what distribution can sell will lead to more sales success. A smart approach to solving this problem is to use APIs to create greater system and process integration across PLM, ERP and CRM systems. For CPQ, Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Production Configuration, whose success depends heavily on how well networked these areas are, the more a company wants to sell, the more urgent this issue becomes.

The potential to revolutionize product configuration with APIs is huge. Since product configuration is based on a variety of systems, databases and processes, it is the APIs that have been developed to solve them.

Here are some types of APIs that will revolutionize product configuration in 2018:

  • Analytics and Reporting APIs – Providing advanced APIs to track CPQ, Quote-to-Cash (QTC) and Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) workflows provides insight into the best way to improve product configuration, production and sales performance.
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) Integration API – Instead of accepting each approved quote and translating its content into a bill of materials that drives production. APIs are created to automate this process. With the most common custom configurations defined by a set of APIs, there is no need to translate a quote into a bill of materials. APIs query the approved quotations and deliver the configuration models to the production systems in a predefined bill of materials structure.
  • Geometric and 3D Modeling APIs – The ability to show prospects what a bespoke product will look like has a significant positive impact on revenue. This is the goal of scaling geometric and 3D modeling APIs that enable precise and fast rendering of configurable products. These APIs also enable a rendered 3D image anywhere on any device and the ability to store it for future reference.
  • Graphical Interface and App Workflow APIs – The goal of this group of APIs is to improve usability and what CPQ and CLM users experience on the many screens needed for work. Search for more APIs that support responsive design or let CPQ and CLM applications work flexibly, customize and optimize them for a specific device. From laptops to the smallest smartphone experience, APIs with a compelling design provide an excellent application experience.
  • Price Management APIs – For manufacturers with a broad range of products distributed through direct, indirect, and partner channels worldwide, it`s not advantageous to stay synchonized on the same price list. If pricing is manually controlled, too many errors occur and the gross margin is sacrificed. Look for price management APIs to gain momentum as the challenge of keeping prices synchronized across all channels becomes more difficult with each new product.
  • Warranty Management APIs – Warranties are inherently rule-based and can be automated using APIs to identify key terms, conditions, internal costs and prices. At the same time, additional APIs to calculate Return on Investment (ROI) and key financial metrics from warranty programs could adapt hundreds of hours per year to manual financial reporting.
  • Upsell, Cross-Sell and Win Probability APIs – Automate upsell and cross-sell APIs by automating profit rates, calculating the probability of a deal being closed, and recommending products for upsell and cross-sells APIs. Machine learning already provides data on probability of winning. Calculating upsells and cross-sells based on customer history gained through API integration will increase average business size and company-wide gross margin.

APIs are driving a revolution in Configuration Lifecycle Management.

Cloud-based APIs move toward greater predictive and cognitive intelligence. An important catalyst for this development is the fact that integrated APIs today work excellently with Machine Learning systems and platforms. Machine learning plarforms also provide comprehensive APIs for CPQ and CLM systems. As these developments are expected to continue, binary commands that enable greater predictive and cognitive intelligence will directly benefit from CPQ and CLM strategies.