De la Chica: "Banks open their APIs to developers"
José Manuel de la Chica, New Business Digital at BBVA, highlights the value of the APIs in the digital transformation of banks and traditional businesses. The bank take part to open its APIs to third parties to create value and open new business opportunities.
What are the advantages of implementing APIs in a business?
APIs provide numerous opportunities for any company or business. APIs are one of the most cross-cutting technologies and having the largest impact on the digital transformation of traditional businesses.
Can you give us some examples of success?
They are tremendously effective in both retail and 100% digital businesses. The advantages that everyone wants focus on expanding the business, reaching new customer, generating new forms of income and reducing expenses.
This is clearly shown by two common examples: one is Expedia, which obtained 90% of its business through an API; the second is Netflix, which not only obtained business through APIs, but also used open innovation and co-creation with developers for third party companies -external developers- to create digital assets worth several million dollars. These are the two lines that are making the application of APIs so attractive in businesses.
In your opinion, is it better to have one or several APIs?
Banks are now taking the step of opening their APIs and organizing them through platforms. Should each bank have a one API or several? From our point of view, it should have several. In the end, an API is nothing more than a set of functionalities. It would make sense to have an API for each area covered by the bank: one for account management, another for card management, for loans, for credit, etc.
Open or closed?
The trend is for APIs to be more and more open. We will always have open APIs, as well as private APIs. It is like the two sides of the same coin. APIs provide developers with a service, as well as businesses that are capable of building applications with those APIs. However, they are also an internal resource for the bank itself to advance along the road of digital transformation.
The trend is for APIs to be more and more open
Do you think that APIs represent a threat or an opportunity?
Security concerns are almost completely solved; in fact, security in APIs is much higher than in applications and traditional websites.
End customers appreciate the security of knowing that their data are being used correctly and only under their supervision. Nobody will be able to access the data and, nonetheless, they will have more opportunities and these will be much more economic.
For the rest of the companies, it will be easier to create products or services that could not be made until now, at a much lower cost and with much more security.
What are developers looking for in an API?
They ask for several things: to access as many services as possible, to have uncomplicated information on how to use these services. They will also ask us for support for the customer.
In the end, they are simply another type of customer that we can help, in this case by providing a support. More than anything else, they want a positive experience, the chance to use APIs as comfortably and intuitively as possible and the opportunity to generate value from the APIs that we are able to offer.
Are banks ready for this technology?
Both the banks and the technology are ripe. Even the developer-customer appears to be sufficiently ready. What may yet need to ripen is the regulation and standardization. The way that banks are going to try to offer customers this service is very similar, therefore developers should be able to move among banks with complete freedom.
The following step will be to generate more experiences that contribute more value to developers and thereby make our bank more attractive because it offers more capacity to create new applications.
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