banking, digitalisation, ux-design

APIs are here to stay

© Joachim Löning

APIs simplify custom software developments significantly. The idea is to select and use already available functionality instead of rebuilding it. While promises like reusability, scalability and security are not new to the software industry, we look at the implications that result from using APIs to mass customize investment advice.

For a financial services provider who wants to deliver particular investment advisory services, the selection process to find the right APIs can be cumbersome. Unlike in a super market, there are no normed or standardized orientations systems pointing to the right shelfs where the APIs of choice are waiting. People in real super markets are so familiar with the overall setup that they find their way even if they enter a market the very first time. The general walking direction is left, vegetables are placed near the entrance – these are just some examples of the common orientation principles. Beyond general rules for orientation, special orientation rules apply if we are closer to the shelf. Orientation is not that intuitive and easy in the super market for APIs.

The food people put in the shopping cart reflects their desired convenience level. There are customers who buy the basic ingredients and cook everything themselves. Most customers choose a medium level of convenience and use e.g. an instant broth. Just a few buy ready-to-eat microwave meals. The question of the desired level of convenience and delegation is a common denominator of shopping food and the selection of APIs.

From a vendor’s point of view, things look differently. APIs enable smart vendors to share their knowledge, expertise and proven recipes more efficiently than ever before. Tetralog, so to speak a cooking expert in investment solutions, delivers all the APIs necessary to cook best in class investment advisory solutions. However, only providing a set of APIs is not enough, because customers prefer different levels of convenience and delegation in cooking and this is where it becomes tricky.

Investment advice is heavily regulated and the means required to achieve e.g. portfolio suitability vary widely. So there is no one-taste-suits-all instant broth. When brewing our software modules and APIs into a good meal, we use three orientation systems:

  • Granularity
    Our modules and APIs feature a very high resolution to allow for an easy combination to larger building blocks providing more functionality.
  • Adaptivity
    Uniqueness is important to make a difference. We always try to understand the specifics of the customer buying cycle as utilized by the financial service provider. We start with the customization from the very beginning of services design.
  • Agility
    Last but not least the extent of the customers’ agility is important. It serves as a helpful rationale in selecting and using the right APIs and adaptions. The possible depth of the collaboration with customer’s project teams defines the degree of agility in the working process and also the suitable quality assurance mechanisms for the integrated system.

Our customers are financial service providers and their strategic preferences are quite comparable to cooking habits. Our full range of APIs is very helpful to fulfill most of modern investment advice’s challenges, but even more important to reach the customers’ strategic goals is to maximize the connectivity between APIs.

The efforts taken at tetralog to modularize functionality and to build future proof APIs were motivated by the need to stabilize and scale work results based on years of experience. Having testable knowhow as well as technically reliable and inter-connected modules available, we now can focus on reaching out for more innovative goals that provide value for our customers.