We are in the mids of a technological revolution of a magnitude previously unimagined. Author Daniel Priestley talks about this as being the age of Convergent Disruption, meaning that through interfacing with Cloud services an enterprise can leverage huge resources, often for small subscription fees, that would cost millions to set up in-house. Theses services cover everything from route planning, sales management, data analysis, content management, online pricing and ordering, and most recently artificial intelligence.
Conversely, if you are able to offer your customers the means to interface directly with your systems to get realtime pricing, stock levels and other valuable data from your business, your business can greatly enhance their own business performance. Many companies and organisations are no longer see this ability as a ‘nice to have option’, but are starting to consider access to live data as an essential requirement.
The glue that connects the Cloud, third party systems and your own systems are generally referred to as APIs (Application Programming Interface). This covers a range of specific technologies, ranging from mature, easy-to-use interfaces to complex archaic data formats. We have even had to build systems that are able to read data off web pages designed for the human eye.
When developing interfaces to and from other systems, it is important to consider scale. We have built system where we have been assured by our customer that there would never been more than 1,000 transactions a month, only to find that 3 years later that the system we developed was doing well over 1,000,000 transactions a month. With access to increasing dynamic data sources, businesses and users are finding new imaginative way to make use of this data. So, the tradition metrics previously used to measure consumption of data can change without anyone realising it.