Banking & Finance Streaming

How Open Banking APIs can enable a more sustainable digital transformation — Part 2

How Open Banking APIs can enable a more sustainable digital transformation

In part one of this series, we discussed how the market for green fintechs is growing, and how Axway customer Commerzbank has been leveraging its APIs to drive revenue and expand its ecosystem, but also to offer greener services to fulfill the bank’s environmental responsibility goals.

As an API leader, we have an opportunity to make an impact, notably in helping companies reuse their assets to maximize the circular economy that APIs make possible. Here is a look at some other green API use cases, excerpted from this recent SpiceWorks guest post.

Open banking can be “green”

As Commerzbank’s base of available APIs continues to grow, Volker Sulzbach, Subject Matter Expert and founding member of Commerzbank´s API program, says they are looking into opening up even more, integrating their services into given marketplaces or opening up its own API gateway to services provided by its partners.

This opening up to a larger ecosystem is foundational to open banking. And there’s also the opportunity to leverage this growing openness to reach the bank’s sustainability goals: Dosch mentions three different initiatives they implemented or are piloting:

  • Personal CO2 calculator. It’s a simple case study in offering additional value and an improved user experience: banking clients can input personal data such as living, mobility, and consumer habits, and the calculator shows their total emissions. People can tweak their habits and see how it impacts their carbon footprint, and the data is leveraged for personal finance recommendations
  • Corporate payments API. Commerzbank enables Germany’s first prepaid power supplier to process payments directly in the customer workflow, offering banking-as-a-service to corporate clients. As a result, the supplier is more responsive and can provide power much faster to customers, resulting in less work and greater safety for the supplier.
  • Sustainable supply chain platform prototype. They are testing, with its customers, a supply chain finance platform that will allow enterprises to manage cash flow with buyers and suppliers – while being able to monitor the supply chain’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings.

The company recently researched the circular economy and how digital ecosystems might help to support this, and this allowed them to bring together financial products and fulfil sustainability purposes at the same time.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Digitalization impacts the environmental footprint of companies, and we have the opportunity to hit two birds with one stone, so to speak.

It is financially more advantageous to make sure we’re not wasting time re-building the same resources repeatedly. And as APIs increase efficiency and agility, they can also help decrease our IT’s carbon footprint.

For example, the toll customs agency that operates borders in Norway was able to ship trucks across the border five times faster thanks to their open API platform. They saved about $4 million a year by automating the customs process. And that also means they divided by five the number of minutes a truck had to sit in line, idling their engine and polluting, as they waited to cross the border.

As we advise companies on their digitalization journey, it typically starts by opening to the rest of the world. The first piece is to secure your APIs, and once you’ve secured your APIs, you can expose them and start using APIs to become more agile.

When your company can focus on agility, you can reuse assets internally; you can innovate faster and actually minimize the carbon footprint of your IT, and you get better at quickly integrating new services for your ecosystem.

The next step and ultimate goal of maturity in your digital transformation is to arrive at a platform model. This is where you can consume and distribute your APIs, and distribute third-party APIs in a marketplace. And ultimately this has a positive effect on the planet and society in general.

IT waste: stop the polling madness

Certain types of APIs have a special potential to reduce waste and positively impact the environment, and event-driven APIs are one of my favorite examples. Here’s the difference between REST and event-driven architectures:

If you have a device that wants to get real-time information from the server, the device can ask on a regular basis. It’s as if your child were constantly asking “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Now are we there?” and you answer “no, no… still no.” This is inefficient because you end up overloading the network and server to ask exactly the same question constantly.

But with event-driven APIs, a device can ask a question and the server will acknowledge the question, then only send an update when there is an update. It may seem like just a detail, but it means far less usage of the network, server, and device.

We’ve actually crunched the numbers for our Streams component on what that difference translates to in terms of real resources – greenhouse gases, water, or energy – and it is significant: it amounts to dividing by four the environmental impact of an application.

Greener IT architecture just makes sense

Adopting event-driven architecture when it makes sense is just one small way that enterprises can have a positive impact on the environment. As a major player in the API, MFT, and B2B integration space, we are helping our customers create better experiences through their digitalization journey.

But beyond that, we also have the opportunity to help them improve their carbon footprint.

Whether it’s by encouraging the reuse of assets within the company, or implementing code and architectures that are more efficient, we’re not just saving enterprises time, effort, and money: we can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of our planet.

Discover 6 more reasons for adopting an event-driven architecture.