In Cisco’s CEO on Staying Ahead of Technology Shifts, John Chambers observes that “More recently, the internet of everything, which is the explosion of connections across people, processes, data, and objects, has put demands on business to create new communication channels for new kinds of devices”[i]. This is something that is slowly being recognized and implemented across organizations. DalleMule and Davenport state “…less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in making decisions—and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analyzed or used at all”[ii], while James Parton says that Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will power the future economy[iii].
The above observations are playing out as Iyer and Subramaniam detail how organizations such as Walgreens, Twitter, Google, and others have developed Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and opened up their systems to third party developers to help drive growth[iv]. Other organizations, such as Coca-Cola[v], have established APIs that expose internal applications and information to various partners.
In keeping with the remarks of Chambers, DalleMule, Davenport, Parton, Iyer, and Subramaniam technology is causing a shift away from manual processes to programmatically driven processes; the easy access and free flow of information through APIs, across organizations is vital to future success of businesses and ensuring profitability. Further, the importance of information flow within the organization shouldn’t be understated, and this, I feel is something that goes partially unrealized – particularly in the CPG and convenience industries. Inventory management and product ordering by convenience stores are still, largely, manual processes, while demand forecasting by product manufacturers is still accomplished by algorithmic analysis of past product shipment rather than store sales (i.e. actual demand). With the automation engendered by APIs, the end-to-end demand to manufacture cycle of product is ripe for a shift in technology.
[i] Chambers, J. (2015). Cisco’s CEO on Staying Ahead of Technology Shifts. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2015/05/ciscos-ceo-on-staying-ahead-of-technology-shifts
[ii] DalleMule, L., & Davenport, T. H. (2017). The 2 Types of Data Strategies Every Company Needs. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2017/05/whats-your-data-strategy
[iii] McKinsey & Company. (2014). Ready for APIs? Three steps to unlock the data economy’s most promising channel. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/mckinsey/2014/01/07/ready-for-apis-three-steps-to-unlock-the-data-economys-most-promising-channel/#6d4b8be7b55d
[iv] Iyer, B., & Subramaniam, M. (2015). The Strategic Value of APIs. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2015/01/the-strategic-value-of-apis