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APIs and Events – Recognizing Opportunities Instead of Reacting to Problems

By Alan Glickenhouse posted Mon July 30, 2018 10:12 AM

I was recently traveling from New York to Hanoi.  The plane was delayed for over an hour before takeoff and the couple on their honeymoon next to me were starting to wonder if they would make their connecting flight.  Mid-flight, the flight attendant told them that they would miss their scheduled connection but had already been re-booked on the next flight 2 hours later.  She also told them where to go to get their boarding passes when they landed.  Instead of an anxious customer worried about their situation this created a satisfied customer very happy with the airline performance.

How did this happen?  An event occurred – takeoff delay.  This invoked APIs to query which passengers on the flight had close connections that would be missed and caused the rebooking and notification to the flight attendant.


Frequently APIs are invoked in a request/response model.  An API is called by a customer using a function on a Mobile App, a partner interaction on a Web UI, an invocation from a partner application, or a public comparison App looking for the lowest price on a product.  All are perfectly valid and common API scenarios.  All these models invoke APIs from a requesting application based on a user-initiated action.  But, how about invoking APIs based on an event?


Events are happening all the time, and these can present opportunities to exceed expectations.  Here are a few more examples in various industries:


Retaila customer is shopping and has visited a product page a few times, but failed to put the product in the shopping cartProvide offer for assistance in answering questions or discount offer
BankingLarge withdrawalCheck future automatic withdrawal and deposit schedules to see if an over-draft condition might occur. Provide alert.
FinanceCustomer has a babySend congratulations note and remind them to start the college fund
InsuranceCustomer has a babySend congratulations note and check insurance levels to see if additional insurance is recommended
Smarter CitiesA traffic accident occursCall emergency services, issue traffic alerts to reroute traffic around the area
TelecomExisting customer enters storeLook up account history, prepare sales person with information on pertinent offers
LogisticsForecast of severe weatherReroute or reschedule planned deliveries


This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, just a few samples across a couple of industries.  Think about what events occur that might be applicable to your business.


In each of these scenarios, an event occurs which if unnoticed would cause either a problem or a missed business opportunity.  Reacting to the event and then invoking APIs to query existing systems and invoke appropriate transactions results in higher customer satisfaction and potential revenue that would have been missed.


IBM has announced “IBM Event Streams” built on top of the popular open source Apache Kafka technology.  IBM Event Streams allows you to build scalable, highly responsive applications that respond to events before the moment of opportunity passes.  Combining Events and APIs - created, secured and managed by IBM API Connect provides a powerful solution.  By invoking APIs appropriately based on events, you can provide responsive and personalized customer experiences.  Eliminate loading wheels by getting data to your APIs before it’s required, making APIs more responsive and the end user experience more delightful.


What is better than solving a customer problem?  Getting ahead of the situation by recognizing events and taking proactive actions.  Look at the possibilities for Events and APIs to provide solutions to improve your customer satisfaction and drive additional revenue or you will be in react mode later.  You’ve just experienced an event – you read this blog.  Are you going to act on this event and realize the potential value or let this moment pass by?


To understand more about IBM’s thoughts on the API Economy visit the IBM API Economy website.  IBM API Connect is IBM’s complete foundation to Create, Run, Manage, and Secure APIs.  You can find more information about IBM API Connect at the API Connect website.  And you can also experience a trial version of API Connect.


If you have questions, please let me know.  Connect with me through comments here or via twitter @Arglick to continue the discussion.