APIs Drive Customer Intelligence Applications

Michael Vizard
Oct. 31 2013, 10:00AM EDT

The existence of APIs has made it possible for organizations to collect and aggregate unprecedented amounts of customer data. What’s not so clear is how to actually go about harnessing it. That issue is giving rise to a host of customer intelligence applications that leverage APIs to ingest data and then, in turn, make analysis of that data available via an external API.

Case in point at the Strata Conference and Hadoop World 2013 event today, SAP launched a suite of customer intelligence applications that aggregate customer data in a way that makes it simpler to analyze that data in real time using the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform.

According to John Schitka, solution marketing manager for Big Data at SAP, the basic idea is to deliver a suite of customer intelligence applications that work out of the box versus requiring customers to hire a data scientist to set up a customer application. Integration with the SAP customer intelligence applications can occur at multiple levels, says Schitka, including an API that SAP developed for HANA.

SAP isn’t the only vendor with this API idea. Qubit, a provider of customer experience management software, unveiled in the latest release of its software added support for an API that makes it easier for developers to access the results generated by its analytics software running on a retailer’s Web site.

Founded by data scientists that used to work for Google, Qubit CEO Graham Cooke says because the company’s namesake software is layered on top of the content management system that drives the retailer’s Web site, it enables retailers to react in real time as the data about customer behavior gets richer.

All of these customer intelligence offerings are instances of where the data being generated by the API economy is being used to ultimately drive a better customer experience. And while there are a lot of inherent privacy and security issues that go along with having that capability, most customers would tell you that the organization that appears to know not only what they want but also need is the vendor they are most likely going to want to do business with. Social media platforms provide APIs that make it possible to access a lot of relevant customer information. But getting access to data is one thing, having applications that analyze it and then leverage APIs to distribute analytic results is quite another.

Michael Vizard

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