Financial Service Firms Find Value in APIs
A growing number of financial services firms are creating and enhancing their web portals and mobile apps—for their customers, their employees, and their business partners. Leading global banks use custom applications in their call centers, in their corporate offices, and to facilitate secure transfers between institutions. Brokerage firms use a myriad of applications, internally to consolidate and analyze market data, and externally, to help customers manage trades. Still more, financial services companies use applications for everything from internet and mobile banking to ATMs, from payment processing to risk calculators.
Applications like these help financial institutions give the right people access to the data they need, while protecting that data from the wrong people. As applications have become necessary to the way we do business today, APIs (application programming interfaces) have become indispensable. APIs are the tools that allow companies that provide financial services to do all these things — they enable connectivity, while inspiring innovative developers to create new products, improve existing services, and work more efficiently.
As the amount of data that companies in the financial services industry have to manage grows exponentially, financial services companies can use APIs to offer their customers, their staff, and their business partners new tools that streamline operations and positively impact everyone’s bottom line. Moreover, sharing valuable data across enterprise applications, systems, and services enables financial institutions to obtain a single view of the customer, employee, or partner.
Unlocking the Potential of APIs in the Financial Services Industry
Whether your company needs to facilitate customer transactions, extend eCommerce platforms for business partners, or just standardize numerous products and services in dozens of countries, an API can make it easier for you to interact with your target audience.
As an example, take the case of a Fortune 1000 financial software provider that delivers solutions to millions of businesses around the world. After years of product expansion and customer growth, this company—like many in the financial services industry—began to notice that emerging technologies and changes in the larger culture were having a negative impact not only on growth but also on innovation. Overly complex systems and disjointed technologies served as barriers to new ideas, preventing new features and products from being developed and deployed. Without finding a way to foster creative thinking and respond to changing customer demands, the company would not be able to hold its market position.
What this company needs is to turn its IT capabilities into an innovation platform, instead of an innovation bottleneck. It needs to find a way to connect all its applications and data sources, and API-enable them for fast and easy access by employees, business partners, and even third-party developers. And it needs a solution that offers easy management, best-in-class security to protect sensitive data, and seamless connectivity between multiple interfaces and products.
Companies in the Financial Services Industry Face Unique Challenges
Financial services firms deploy an ever more complicated mix of technologies, computer systems, applications, and processes to serve customers and business partners and to solve organizational challenges. And these legacy systems become increasingly inefficient as they age — in part because they are often not interoperable with newer technologies. A financial services firm that depends on such legacy systems will frequently encounter serious problems when attempting to add newer software and services, SaaS applications, and modern APIs. Sometimes these problems can be addressed with point-to-point integrations among existing systems. In time, however, these custom point-to-point integrations create multiple, fragile, and complicated dependencies. Systems like these are prone to failure. And even when they work, the complexity negatively impacts customers and partners — and wastes valuable resources.
Another challenge when developing APIs for a financial services firms is a lack of access to effective tools for designing, testing, and monitoring those APIs and a vibrant developer community that can provide feedback and insights into an API’s features, design, and user interface.
These are critical factors in the development of well-crafted, engaging APIs that will be widely adopted.
MuleSoft Can Simplify API Integration, Design, and Development
There is a way to overcome these challenges: MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform™offers companies across the wide spectrum of the financial services industry easy-to-implement solutions for API integration and development. It’s one platform that any organization — in any industry — can use to design, build, secure, monitor, and manage APIs.
Anypoint Platform makes it easy for financial services providers to incorporate seamless integration and interoperability throughout an environment. Anypoint Platform offers a number of valuable components — such as CloudHub and Mule as an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) — that make it easy to share information across applications, services, and systems — even legacy systems. These solutions provide connectivity that allows organizations to unlock their systems and data, so they can create powerful, cutting-edge APIs.
Anypoint™ Connectors can provide instant API connectivity to some of the most popular financial applications and services. For example, with a library of pre-built integration solutions, a financial services firm can rapidly connect and integrate numerous workflow applications and systems. Unlike other integration options, Anypoint Connectors are built and managed on MuleSoft’s Enterprise integration platform, so companies can deploy integrations rapidly, either onsite or in the cloud.
In addition, MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform for APIs delivers necessary tools for designing and building APIs that developers will want to use — and to ensure that those APIs perform and scale to meet enterprise requirements.
With tools to support you at every step in the development and implementation of APIs, Anypoint Platform for APIs allows you to:
- Consult with application developers to design great APIs. Anypoint Platform for APIs facilitates close collaboration between API and application developers throughout the API lifecycle. And by leveraging RAML tooling, the API Platform offers an onramp for API developers to design RESTful APIs quickly, using expressive, intuitive language. As soon as an API developer designs an API, application developers can interact with it, test it, provide feedback, and document potential use cases — all in a single design environment. This close collaboration ensures that the API will inspire application developers, which in turn ensures widespread adoption.
- Take your API from concept to reality — fast. Getting your API up and running requires more than great design. By leveraging MuleSoft’s proven, trusted runtime, the API Platform allows you to rapidly build the API once it’s designed — and to ensure that it performs well, scales to support your growing community of application developers, and remains secure and protected against unauthorized access.
- Take the guesswork out of API management and monitoring. Anypoint Platform for APIs provides all of the tools you need to manage and monitor APIs and the application developers who use them. Create contracts with API consumers to control access, establish SLAs, or throttle calls to API endpoints. Choose from pre-packaged policy templates, or create your own to manage compliance, security, and quality of service. And dashboard analytics make it easy to monitor usage, compliance with SLAs, and overall API performance.
- Drive engagement with your API. Anypoint Platform for APIs takes the guesswork out of engaging the developer community with your API. Create and publish interactive documents and code samples, so developers can get started with your API in minutes. Allow application developers to document use cases for the API as they’re discovered. And because they’re designed in RAML, your APIs will be concise and easy to understand.
These and other components of MuleSoft’s API and integration solutions make it easy for companies in the financial services industry to design, develop, implement, and monitor useful and engaging APIs — even when they need to be integrated with legacy systems. Anypoint Platform for APIs can give any organization a powerful way to leverage the useful financial and market data that’s already being stored in their internal systems. It opens up access to a creative developer community. And it provides streamlined tools so an organization’s departments can improve operations and work more efficiently.