Channel Partners

SEP-OCT 2013

For 25 years, Channel Partners has been a resource for indirect sales channels, such as agents, VARs and dealers, that provide network-based communications and computing services, associated CPE and applications, and managed and professional services

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COVER "If you think about the size of the shift to the Web, this is like a 10X or a 100X shift." –apigee'S DaviD anDrzejek Over the past 20 years, the Web economy has become a well-oiled machine. Web initiatives we once regarded with wonder, we would now scoff because of their lack of sophistication. Some of today's most successful brands — Amazon and Google — were born in Web's virtual world with no brick-and-mortar storefront to limit their reach. the Web became the laboratory for innovation; what could be imagined could be coded into Web-based applications. Both commerce and culture changed — we went from sharing music files (Napster) to sharing photos (flickr) and videos (Youtube) and now our intimate secrets (facebook) online. And we've all become expert at distilling our thoughts and marketing messages into 120 characters or less. the Web economy has been world-changing to say the least. But there is another movement afoot that promises to dwarf that: the APi Economy. "if you think about the size of the shift to the Web, this is like a 10X or a 100X shift," said David Andrzejek, vice president of sales for Apigee inc., an APi management company that's one of many that see our economic engine shifting away from the Web to applications programming interfaces. that's because unlike the Web, APis are force multipliers. instead of trying to get users to a central website, you are extending your services to other websites and applications on whatever endpoint they are using. it's the technology equivalent of bringing the mountain to Mohammed (and David and John, etc.) An Apigee blog entry from November 2011 illustrates the shift as the difference between a company saying, "here is a website where you can deal with us," to "here are the APis and now you can work with us." a Digital Channel An APi is a programming code that allows two applications to communicate, or interface, with each other. they enable companies to expose functionality from one application into another. A common example is integrating CRM with contact center communications in order, for example, to better manage customer interaction by automating call tracking rather that relying on people to keep manual logs. indeed, CRM powerhouse Salesforce.com is reported to make more of its revenue from APis than from enduser licenses. Because Salesforce.com is a market leader, many other companies want to get their complementary applications in front of Salesforce.com users; nearly 2,000 such apps are hosted in the company's apps marketplace. But the inverse may be even more interesting: distributing your application or functionality to many outlets or channels through APis. think about the way facebook and twitter integrate into other applications, generating activity for their social media sites. Other businesses — even ones that we would not consider Web-based — are doing this, too. Apigee's Andrzejek cites the example of transUnion, which exposes APis to its credit scoring service, enabling issuing banks to embed the functionality into their Web-based loan processes. in another example, Walgreens has exposed an APi for QuickPrints, a service that enables photo printing from iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. While this has increased usage of the drugstore chain's photo printing services, it has had a more important impact — boosting foot traffic and, thus sales of its other products and services, Andrzejek explained. Walgreens plans to expand available APis. "We started with the photo print feature, but our goal is to expand to all areas of the business, from pharmacy to the health and daily living shopping experience," said Joe Rago, senior product manager for Walgreens Mobile, in a case study published by Apigee. in both of these examples the APis enable another distribution channel for these companies' services. And that is what's driving the shift: reaching more customers, selling more products and making more money. it's this upside potential that has companies rethinking their Web business strategies. "Companies are reconstructing their websites and e-commerce systems to ChANNELPARtNERSONLiNE.COM 23

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