APIs are one of the hottest topics in the market, presenting significant opportunities for service providers, resellers, and end users. At our recent partner event, we took the opportunity to hear the API views of service providers worldwide during a roundtable hosted by Cavell’s Matthew Townend. The panel included Brad Milne, Managing Director of Australia’s Channel UC, UK bOnline’s Head of Technology Christie Grinham, Tony Ford, CEO of UK-based Apalo, and Petteri Peltonen, Lead Customer Engagement at Elisa, Finland’s leading telecom operator.
Matthew got the ball rolling by asking how they are all currently using APIs. One panellist, whose organisation services a channel community, made the point that, in his experience in his region, there is a market expectation to be able to consume everything they need from an ordering portal. APIs are a crucial enabler of making that possible. “They should be able to consume licenses, numbers, porting, and any services in a very quick and seamless manner.”
The ability to integrate multiple vendors into an ecosystem was a clear message across the board, with another operator commenting, “We have been very successful combining different products from our portfolio with Enreach and have created an omnichannel contact centre solution. That’s been very successful and is one way we use APIs.”
Taking that theme further, Matthew asked the rest of the panel how they utilise Enreach’s API strengths. One participant reported that its company employs APIs to remove the complexity of provisioning using the Enreach web admin portal. “You don't need the skill set to go in and provision a new customer or services: you can actually do it within the API stack. We want to make life easier for the reseller and to remove the complexity.”
This point was echoed by another service provider who said, “I have customers without an IT person in their companies; they might barely be able to use a computer. So, a big part of it for us is abstracting all that complication away.”
He added, “So we have a self-sign-up process that takes two and a half or three minutes to set up your numbers, your users, and a simple call flow.” More complex features are available for those who need them.
So, customisation via APIs can mean simplification, but also bring flexibility and a gateway to choice, as another panellist observed: “We want customers to have the ability to choose whether they want chatbots or voice bots or any other products from us, such as CRMs. We want to be able to create automation so that any end user can see the kind of feature that will be beneficial to them, press a button and order it.”
Another service provider made the valid point that the quality of data matters and what is happening at the core, and APIs are the way to access all that information. “ I've been spending a lifetime trying to get down to a zero-touch. And we will do that through APIs, but not without a good database.”
An interesting use case of API usage provided by one of the other panel participants was integrating a separate call recording solution into the Enreach environment using AI. “Agents or supervisors can be given summaries of conversations rather than listening to a three-hour call.” Quality assurance and PCI redaction are added to that environment, turning a hosted phone system into a value-added solution.
The same commentator also discussed the importance of creating integrated, open ecosystems with robust API strategies. “They enable us to provide our partner community with a range of products that if one particular vendor doesn't have, another might, and we can integrate them. I call it a UC enablement platform.”
One of the UK participants discussed the need to avoid overwhelming its specific customer demographic with features they do not need but identify ones that will make a tangible difference, such as the enhanced call recording feature within Enreach’s platform demonstrated at the event. “We can have it all integrated and perform call recording analytics, such as summarisation and sentiment. I think those kinds of things definitely are valuable to small customers as well.”
The group also touched on the potential to integrate IoT systems into the Enreach environment using APIs, such as point of sale, and putting IoT alongside voice. “There are opportunities for voice to start to develop in that channel to become part of a solution as opposed to a separate solution. And I think when we look at retail and other sales opportunities, APIs mean that we can start to hone in on what is important without flooding customers with complexity.”
Simplification, customisation, flexibility, self-service, and empowering customers, giving them greater choice, exploring integration with other systems: these were some of the messages around the potential of APIs that stood out, not just during the roundtable but in discussions throughout the whole event. We look forward to seeing where our partners take the power of APIs next.