This article is part of a four-part series on the power of API-powered platforms to transform the telecommunications industry. Part 1 discussed the game-changing nature of platforms using the automotive industry as an example, and Part 2 shows how this same transformation came to the telco industry (and the role of 5G in accelerating the transformation). In Part 3, I discussed efforts to standardize APIs for telcos and shared which APIs are especially advantageous for the industry.
Telcos are already leveraging APIs to create new revenue streams: our client Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) created a platform for its B2B customers, providing a service using APIs for cell phones.
Creating a telco API platform to drive new value
Of course, TIM used APIs from the beginning to power their enterprise mobile app. But TIM didn’t stop there: they enriched those experiences with services from other companies. They started with startups, like AlliumTech and Bandyer (now Kaleyra) who offered additional expertise to their customers as part of their offering.
And thanks to TIM’s APIs, these services can be distributed by other companies as well. One bank for example, UniCredit, partnered with TIM to offer CBILL, an online bill payment service – it’s a way to allow your telecommunication services to be distributed by other companies.
Finally, TIM created a service store for their B2B customers, where they can find any digital service that may be of interest to them.
It’s very interesting to see the kinds of partnerships they created along the way. TIM is able to expand its presence on the market and also charge for referrals to other companies, and this is exactly the same kind of new business model creation that we saw in other verticals.
See how TIM’s digital platform is providing innovative Cloud services to developer communities in Italy.
Benefits of an API platform
As we’ve seen, APIs can transform your way of doing business – in telcos or any vertical. Our Amplify API Management platform helps you leverage the 4 Powers of APIs.
Here are some key considerations along a platform journey:
Securely expose assets
The first thing is that APIs were designed for secure access. If you want to open up to the world, you need security. It’s basic, but it’s very important. If you forget that and you create business systems that are not secure, you’re going to have a big problem.
Agility is another major advantage: with APIs, you can build a more agile IT system. APIs are scalable and reusable. You can create more internal services with less money, and your innovation is more efficient. APIs are an interface contract between different IT systems, hence a powerful tool to create value internally.
Self-service is becoming more and more important for creating digital experiences. With APIs, it’s possible to create a new experience in a matter of hours, which is quite valuable in emergency cases but also in general to function as a lean and agile player.
It takes a cultural shift to do this though, because the time it takes to create a new experience is so short. Most large companies struggle with this human challenge, as their top-down management culture interferes with bottom-up value creation coming from agile. This is typically the main issue our Catalysts tackle when helping customers on their API Journey.
Finally, when you’ve mastered these first three, you can create your own platform to create new business models and drive much more revenue as the tech giants do.
It’s possible, and it’s achievable: companies have already done it in other verticals, including telecom operators that are starting to generate quite a lot of revenue with their platforms. And therein lies the power of API platforms to transform telecommunications.
Learn how one Hong Kong Telco innovated its telco services, transforming the business with API-powered partnerships.