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Why building a platform for innovation is a business imperative in today’s digital world

Written by Ricardo Diniz, VP and General Manager, WSO2, UK and Southern Europe

 

In October, the WSO2 EMEA Summit 2021 took place providing attending organisations with the insights they need to better meet the needs of an ever-evolving digital economy. The shift in how we live and work has forced many organisations to accelerate their digital transformation efforts from years to months. To ensure that an enterprise survives and thrives, digital innovation should be top of mind for any business leader and our summit showcased examples of what different enterprises are doing and also some of the technical challenges they have faced and how they overcame them.

With regard to the challenges, our event had two key technology tracks. Both talked about why building a platform for innovation is critical to successfully compete in today’s digitised world.  Additionally, there were two vertical-focused tracks that looked at digital transformation initiatives in the healthcare and banking industries.  Here we ask our four technical presenters insightful questions about their what they shared with delegates.

Once considered niche, APIs have become the core building blocks behind many successful digital businesses — with proven benefits such as speeding go-to-market times, improving developer productivity and velocity, and, most importantly, unlocking innovation.

 

Pamod Sylvester, technical lead at WSO2, presented on the: Art of Digital Innovation with APIs and Integration.  During his presentation he talked about why, in today’s highly competitive digital landscape, it is so important to innovate otherwise organisations will die. He focussed on the connection between digital innovation and APIs and how organisations use APIs and integrations to drive and bridge different systems.

 

“Today, multiple technologies and services have to be combined to provide useful business solutions. By adopting API-led integration strategies, businesses can power their digital transformations and reap the benefits of both API management and integration to offer better solutions. At the same time, this helps organisations to quickly integrate services, package them as value-added services, and offer managed APIs to consumers.  This is where API-led integration is critical as an API-integration strategy enables businesses to connect data, applications, and other services via APIs. It makes defining integration scenarios easy while increasing the ability for different stakeholders to reuse APIs multiple times. API-led integration is gaining popularity due to the increasing complexity of integration use cases and business ecosystems used in digital transformation initiatives.”

 

Alongside the acceleration of digital transformation initiatives, consumer demand has also evolved. Now consumers expect the same customer experience from any organisation as they get from big eCommerce providers such as Amazon, disruptive companies like Uber or even just when watching Netflix. Therefore, a strong digital customer-centric strategy is vital if organisations are going to gain and maintain a competitive advantage.  Such a strategy enables enterprises to leverage digital identities and deliver simple seamless and secure end-user experiences. This is where strong customer identity and access management (CIAM) strategies and solutions can really help.

 

Farasath Ahamed, technical lead at WSO2 talked about how organisations can: “Enable simple secure and seamless identity experiences for customers.” During his presentation, Farasath talked about how CIAM can empower organisations and why CIAM is critical to building a platform for innovation.

 

The cloud application market is expected to grow to $356bn by 2025 and, reflecting the importance of customer experience in underpinning growth, Gartner predicts that 86% of businesses expect to compete via improved customer experience. Consequently, 72% of organisations are planning to adopt CIAM solutions in 2022.   That’s because CIAM is central to delivering a good experience that gets customers quickly onboard with the business with easy and fast log-in and authentication. It unifies customer identities across products, platforms and partners, keeping them engaged with the organisation and making it easy for them to return and generate repeat revenue. Effective CIAM also provides organisations with advanced analytic data on customer behaviour and retention, allowing them to plan future initiatives to drive sales.”

 

Additionally at the event there were two vertical market presentations.  Christopher Davey, Head of Technical Architect Solutions, explored how the banking sector landscape has evolved and is shaping up.  In particular he looked at how far has this sector has come on its digital transformation journey.

“Over the past decade, the banking sector’s technology landscape has been drastically altered by the emergence of digital-native challengers. These include fintech firms like Afterpay, bigtech financial services offerings like Apple Pay, and neobanks like WeBank. Banking incumbents have responded with strategies including exploring collaboration with the broader financial services ecosystem via more value-focused external APIs; providing liveness in their end-consumer channels by having event-driven architectures; and building more agile productisation capabilities to directly offer better consumer experiences ahead of the competition. This has created a fiercely competitive financial services market demanding continuous adaptation with dynamic, advanced systems that deliver new features and rich real-time data insights.

 

“Banks that leverage external third-party data are able to offer a more enriched, frictionless marketplace using white-label partnerships to complement their own services and augment what they do. This reduces the high cost of development, deployment, and maintenance as they move away from focusing solely on custom in-house development to becoming more agile nimble players bundling new service offerings from an ecosystem of providers.”

 

Healthcare is one industry that has been under the spotlight in the past 18 months. In this sector interoperability between all the different stakeholders is key to opening the doors to healthcare innovation. Certainly, the pandemic has highlighted that we need to innovate in order to deliver better patient care and make healthcare data, especially patient data, more accessible.

 

The final technical presenter on the day was  Mifan Careem, Vice President, Solutions Architecture, WSO2 who highlighted that there is a fine line between interoperability and privacy.  That’s because interoperability and access to patient data open up interesting security and privacy challenges and he went on to talk about how an organisation protects privacy whilst providing public access to data.

 

“The goal in healthcare is to move to an ecosystem of apps and services that can access patient data from multiple sources, aggregate and overlay information to provide a 360 view of information and enable the industry to collaborate for better outcomes.

 

The right technology can pave the way to smarter innovation whilst preserving patient data privacy and security.  Ultimately, the effectiveness of the coordination process depends on the systems or platforms used by the healthcare staff. An advanced system with superior administrative and security features, integrated with systems in other medical centres is ideal.  However, organisations that lack of a single platform to learn or collaborate on will find this a drawback when trying to  innovate. That because there are hundreds of aspects to keep track of to remain up-to-date. There are many rules and regulations and data standards that require compliance and balancing these with the need to provide an innovative solution that satisfies all the stakeholders is tricky.  More so, because the information regarding all the policies and standards is often scattered in different making it harder to cascade data into one product. A single up-to-date platform containing all the required information is therefore a haven for everyone involved.”

 

All four presentations showcased how WSO2 has been helping organisations accelerate their digital initiatives, whatever stage of the transformation journey they have reached.  As consumers demand great digital experiences, enterprises must compete for customer loyalty via online interactions that are equally inviting, trusted and secure.  Our Summit highlighted how we are enabling thousands of enterprises to achieve these goals using our API management, integration and customer identity and access management solutions.

 

For those interested in finding out more about what was talked about during the WSO2 Summit EMEA 2021 please go to https://wso2.com/summit-2021/emea