How Digital Makes Banks Flexible, Responsive And Intimate

While making digital the main channel of customer engagement, banks are also looking to move beyond business as usual, says Amit Anand, a Vice President in Cognizant Consulting’s Banking and Financial Services.

COVID-19 made online channels indispensable for bank customers, including those who preferred in-person banking. This accelerated their digital strategies and created an opportunity to go beyond the basics and become partners in their customers’ pursuit of financial wellness.

As banks bet big on digital, they are looking at technologies such as AI, advanced analytics, and automation to provide personalization, prediction and speed in creating powerful customer experiences. Banks are also increasingly relying on machines to automate repetitive tasks and make complex decisions, creating demand for human skillsets that complement intelligent machines.

Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work (CFoW), working with Oxford Economics, recently surveyed 4,000 C-level executives globally, including 287 senior banking and financial services executives to understand how banks are adapting to fast and dramatic changes.

The earliest forms of digital banking trace back to the advent of ATMs and cards launched in the 1960s. As the internet emerged in the 1980s with early broadband, digital networks began to connect retailers with suppliers and consumers to develop needs for early online catalogues and inventory software systems.

By the 1990s the Internet became widely available and online banking started becoming the norm. The improvement of broadband and ecommerce systems in the early 2000s led to what resembled the modern digital banking world today. The proliferation of smartphones through the next decade opened the door for transactions on the go beyond ATM machines. Over 60% of consumers now use their smartphones as the preferred method for digital banking.

The challenge for banks is now to facilitate demands that connect vendors with money through channels determined by the consumer. This dynamic shapes the basis of customer satisfaction, which can be nurtured with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Therefore, CRM must be integrated into a digital banking system, since it provides means for banks to directly communicate with their customers.

There is a demand for end-to-end consistency and for services, optimized on convenience and user experience. The market provides cross platform front ends, enabling purchase decisions based on available technology such as mobile devices, with a desktop or Smart TV at home. In order for banks to meet consumer demands, they need to keep focusing on improving digital technology that provides agility, scalability and efficiency.

Seven Ways to Capitalize on Digital

  1. Institute front-to-back digitization. Banks can effectively compete with fintech competitors by becoming digital institutions.
  2. Explore new customer segments and business paradigms. Digital makes it easier than ever for banks to explore small business segments, even as they pursue existing markets.
  3. Emphasize platform centricity and smart aggregation. Open banking standards can help banks to provide personalized products to customers in collaboration with third-party providers and fintechs.
  4. Invest in personalizing the customer relationship. Banks should use personalized experiences to make customers’ lives as frictionless as possible.
  5. Focus on re-building trust and resiliency. Banks need to eliminate any biases in decisions made by machines.
  6. Enshrine inclusivity into your digital strategy. Banks should use digital to reach customers who are left out by being physically and cognitively challenged.
  7. Balance machine-driven and human-centric work. Create sturdy human-machine collaboration by reevaluating jobs for a shared environment.

For more, read our paper “The Work Ahead in Banking: The Digital Road to Financial Wellness”.

Amit Anand is Vice President and North American Practice Leader for Cognizant Consulting’s Banking and Financial Services. Amit has 20 years of experience with firms such as Accenture, Infosys and Cognizant. He has successfully led and managed large business transformation, digital and IT transformation, and associated organizational change management for several financial services clients. Amit is a recognized thought leader with more than 15 publications on topics such as Open Banking, Digital 2.0 and new-age operating models. He can be reached at Amit.Anand@cognizant.com

Manish Bahl leads the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. A respected speaker and thinker, Manish has guided many Fortune 500 companies into the future of their business with his thought-provoking research and advisory skills. Within Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work, he helps ensure that the unit’s original research and analysis jibes with emerging business-technology trends and dynamics in APAC, and collaborates with a wide range of leading thinkers to understand and predict how the future of work will take shape. He most recently served as Vice President, Country Manager with Forrester Research in India. He can be reached at Manish.Bahl@cognizant.com

Source: How Digital Makes Banks Flexible, Responsive And Intimate

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5 Time Management Myths That Affect Your Workplace Productivity

Any phenomenon that becomes “fashionable” instantly acquires its own mythology. This mythology forms a system of concepts that are accepted and not questioned. At the same time, the vast majority of people do not think about whether it corresponds to reality.

This paradox has existed as long as humanity. Some such misconceptions are harmless and cute. But misconceptions about any management, especially time management, lead to real mistakes in life and work, reduce motivation, and kill faith in oneself. Time management games and activities increase motivation, engagement, and problem-solving skills. They also improve resource management, speaks creativity, and enhances teamwork abilities.

So, what is the history of time management?

History of Time Management

The history of time management goes back to the distant past. As far back as 2000 years ago in ancient Rome, the famous thinker Seneca proposed to divide all time into time spent with benefit and useless.

Seneca also began to keep a permanent record of time in writing. The thinker said that when living a certain period of time, one should evaluate it in terms of occupancy. In the later history of time management, these ideas formed the basis of such a concept as “personal efficiency.

Leon Battista Alberti, a writer and Italian scholar who lived in the 15 century, said that those who know how to manage time usefully will always be successful. To do this, he suggested using 2 rules:

  1. Make a to-do list every day in the morning.
  2. Arrange things in decreasing order of importance.

For centuries, all of these principles existed only in theoretical form, and only since the 1980s, this topic has begun to move from theory to practice. For teens, it will be useful to read time management tips.

Time management is necessary not only for executives and business owners: each of us must be able to manage our own assets to enjoy the process of life in its entirety. Of course, not everyone needs time management. If a person has nothing to do in his or her life, and his or her main task is “to kill time”, then time management is an irrelevant and unnecessary discipline for such a person.

In other words, you should first decide whether you really lack time and where you would like to spend your free minutes, hours, and days when they appear.

Time management consists of several components:

  • Strict time management.
  • Optimization of time resources.
  • Planning a day (week, month, or another period of time).
  • Organization of motivation.

Time Management Myths That Affect Your Workplace Productivity

Time management is important not only for work: people who have mastered the art of time management are more cheerful, healthy, and successful in professional and personal life. Effective time management allows you to think about all your actions and decisions in terms of their appropriateness for your own development and improvement.

Myth Number 1: You can’t be a Successful Person Without Time Management

The main danger of this myth is that it equates being organized with being successful. This is not the same thing. It is the substitution of the essence with a tool.

At first glance, this myth seems very plausible. How can you be successful if you can’t consciously and systematically manage your time and activities? It seems like you can’t.

However, any success is first of all decision-making. And only in the second place is their execution. If you don’t make decisions or make the wrong ones, then no time management will help you at all. You will do a lot of things that lead you nowhere.

For example, Konstantin is a successful businessman. When I first met him and his style of doing business, I fell into a stupor. He was the epitome of anti-time management. Absolute unpredictability in his thoughts, actions, and decisions. Nevertheless, he has outstanding business accomplishments. Due to what? First of all – due to enormous experience, brilliant intuition, ability to make the most accurate decisions under conditions of lack of information, not to get lost in difficult situations, to be flexible and fearless.

And this is not an isolated example. Neither Konstantin nor others like him did not need the classic system of time management or rules for improving productivity. They succeeded without their help.

Myth Number 2: There are Universal Time Management Systems That Suit all People

Most books on time management inconspicuously carry the idea that time management systems are not personal. After all, this is management! And it is a universal thing. At best, the authors divide people into rationalistic and intuitive (orderly and chaotic).

A greater stupidity is hard to imagine. A time management system is built into a person’s way of life and changes it (and the image, and the person). If it does not do this, it is ineffective. And a person’s lifestyle depends on his or her values, beliefs, cognitive filters and strategies, life situation, type of nervous system, peculiarities of character, activity, etc.

Trying to change your lifestyle by copying techniques developed by someone else is like trying to transplant someone else’s organ. Your body will accept it only under conditions of suppressed immunity, i.e. partial destruction of your identity. The same happens when you copy someone else’s way of life. It disorganizes you. Basically, there are only three possible alternatives:

  1. It will destroy your identity if you follow it fanatically.
  2. You abandon it or modify it beyond recognition (but this is a rare option).
  3. By chance, it will coincide with your personality traits and you will be able to apply it permanently (this is even rarer).

Myth Number 3: Time Management Doesn’t Work

The number of people who have tried living by time management and given up on it is greater than those who have succeeded.

In order for you to manage your time really effectively and without violence to your nature, you must construct a time management system for yourself. This requires a prior analysis of the characteristics of your personality, activities, lifestyle, and situation. If you set up a time management system for yourself – it doesn’t mean that all your time will be spent on work, the development of yourself, and your skills. You should also make time in this system for primitive things like watching movies using VPN for Amazon Prime or playing video games on PS4 or PC as well as other activities that help you relax and reboot.

The same about Konstantin, or rather about his sad experience of implementing time management.

Konstantin liked to attend all kinds of training, seminars, and other developmental events. At one of them, some charismatic person managed to plant in Konstantin’s head the bacillus of time management.

Konstantin decided to give it a try and hired himself a guru of time management. This teacher was the exact opposite of Constantine in temperament and most of his personality traits. However, he possessed great persuasiveness. The experiment of introducing time management into Konstantin’s life lasted about seven months.

Konstantin began to trust his intuition less and began to base his decisions on more formal and rational methods. As a result, for the first time in the last 14 years of his business career, he incurred serious losses (several tens of millions) and found himself on the verge of bankruptcy.

Now, being with Konstantin, it is better not to talk about time management.

Myth Number 4: Time Management Guarantees Personal Development

Many time-management techniques include blocks devoted to goal-setting. This is very correct and appropriate. But here lies a dangerous trap.

It lies in the fact that having reached a certain stage of development, people find themselves in a crisis associated with the need to rethink themselves and their life. He or she must make a kind of quantum leap. Instead, within the framework of time management, he or she is presented with rather primitive technologies of goal-setting.

In the vast majority of cases, these technologies are good in themselves. However, they allow you to choose goals based on meanings and values that are already familiar to you. And they do not work at all when you are experiencing an existential crisis.

If you fall into this trap, then instead of doing inner work on yourself and making a kind of quantum leap, you will move toward goals that are no longer relevant to you. You will lose time and exacerbate your own crisis.

For example, Elena is a talented person who worked for a long time as a top manager of a large company and finally opened her own business.

At the same time, Elena was always aware that the area of her professional development was not really interesting to her either when she was working as a hired employee or when she opened her own business. She was successful and highly professional. But all these years she was plagued by the feeling that she was out of place.

A year and a half after opening her business, this feeling became very strong. And then Elena went to training on goal setting and time management. Being an emotional and enthusiastic person, Elena came out of the training elated and with a list of new goals in her hands.

For eight months, Elena worked on achieving her new goals and got her way. What was the result? Severe disappointment and depression. Loss of meaning and motivation to move forward.

When I asked Elena why she thought this was the case, she said that the goals she had set in the training were totally artificial and superficial. With the shortage of time and group work, she formed pacifier goals: superficially attractive and appealing to the approval of others, but completely unresponsive to her deepest needs.

Myth Number 5: Time Management Immediately Starts Saving Your Time

This myth has probably caused the most casualties among time management recruits. Here is what a typical story of a victim of this myth looks like.

Vasily is a mid-level manager. He is promoted and made head of a division. The volume of tasks and responsibilities increases dramatically. Vasily ceases to have time and cope. But he does not give up and buys a hyper-popular in managerial circles book on time management.

Why does Vasya do this? Stupid question. To have more time. However, with amazement and irritation, Vasya notes that in an attempt to apply the great wisdom in the book, he gets less time, his life becomes more difficult, and the free time does not increase. And, funnily enough, all these phenomena only worsen over time.

After a little floundering in this situation and having exhausted his willpower reserves, Vasya powerfully forgets about any kind of time management. And later, upon hearing this magic word, he reacts aggressively and profanely.

What Happened? A tragic conflict between myth and reality.

Mythological time management is a magic pill that quickly and forever gets rid of your time problems. Real-time management is a painful process of changing your lifestyle and developing completely new and unfamiliar skills.

As soon as you start implementing a little bit of sophisticated time management in your life, your efficiency goes down dramatically instead of going up! And it remains low until new skills and habits are developed. And developing them takes extra time, motivation, and energy.

Because human is a lazy and fairy tale-believing creature, few people make it all the way to the end. Nevertheless, everyone should know how to avoid burnout.

A Practical Task

If you have never tried to implement time management in your life, please write for yourself on the sheet of paper:

  • What goals would you like to achieve with it, what desires to realize?
  • What in your way of life now prevents you from achieving these goals?
  • What in you/your character prevents you from achieving these goals?

If you have tried any of the time management systems but were not successful in it, please answer the following questions:

  • What time management systems have you used?
  • How would you characterize the features of that system/s?
  • What goals did you want to achieve by using them?
  • What prevented you from achieving those goals?
  • What didn’t suit you about the time management system you were using?

If you have tried any of the time management systems, implemented them, and are still using them, please answer the following questions:

  • What are the main features of your time management system?
  • Is there anything in your time management system that you find inconvenient or not fully effective? If yes, describe it.
  • What would you like to improve in your time management?

P.S. When answering the questions, please do not limit yourself to such general and meaningless concepts as “laziness” or “procrastination”. They do not explain anything, but only close the road to possible positive change. These questions will help you to understand what you really want.

The post 5 Time Management Myths That Affect Your Workplace Productivity appeared first on Calendar.

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Source: 5 Time Management Myths That Affect Your Workplace Productivity

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Critics:

Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. It involves a juggling act of various demands upon a person relating to work, social life, family, hobbies, personal interests, and commitments with the finiteness of time. Using time effectively gives the person “choice” on spending or managing activities at their own time and expediency.

Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects, and goals complying with a due date. Initially, time management referred to just business or work activities, but eventually, the term broadened to include personal activities as well. A time management system is a designed combination of processes, tools, techniques, and methods.

Time management is usually a necessity in any project management as it determines the project completion time and scope. It is also important to understand that both technical and structural differences in time management exist due to variations in cultural concepts of time. The major themes arising from the literature on time management include the following:

 

4 Trends In Fundraising That Will Impact the Future of Philanthropy

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While the needs of fundraising organizations have grown and diversified, the techniques of fundraisers have grown stale instead of evolving. Many organizations continue to use the same strategies to secure gifts as they have for years, despite growing evidence of the need for change.

Unfortunately, because of rare but highly public unethical practices in political and -adjacent industries, nonprofit fundraisers today deal with a lot of issues with stigma, skepticism and mistrust. Recently, the Department of Justice began cracking down on certain matching contributions claims, as an example of the way certain ‘gimmicks’ leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

Because of ongoing challenges, with donor trust, organizations looking to fundraise in 2021 and beyond will not be able to meet new challenges with old habits. Leaders and fundraisers need to be aware of the latest trends in the space to maximize their funding and, by extension, their impact.

Related: How Digital is Bridging the Gap For Nonprofits

Here are a few of the most important trends happening in fundraising right now and what you should do about them.

1. Retain your donors

So many fundraising initiatives focus on acquiring new donors, while not enough attention goes toward the people who have already proven their interest. Retaining your donors is one of the most effective ways to increase funding without overspending on acquisition costs of new donors.

Leaders in fundraising including Dan Pallotta, Mallory Erickson and Kivi Leroux Miller agree on the importance of retaining existing donors. Erickson makes the point that donors stick around when organizations focus on finding “Power Partners” and identifying win-win opportunities for them.

If aligned correctly from the beginning, your existing pool of donors indicate that there is something they like about your organization: your mission, your , your messaging, etc. Find out what makes your donors tick by asking directly. Call, send surveys or post on community messaging boards. Find out why your best donors connect to your organization, then lean into that alignment to keep them engaged.

2. Demonstrate transparency and grace

Fundraising is rarely straightforward. Not only will you struggle to complete many of your goals, but you will likely make mistakes along the way. Be transparent about issues when they arise, but don’t fall flat over every small misstep. Instead, be graceful, accept the lesson and communicate what you will do differently next time.

The pandemic provided plenty of examples of what to do and what not to do on this subject. Take the CDC, for example. At the end of last year, the organization printed, then retracted, then removed a statement about how Covid-19 spreads through airborne transmission. The organization did not change its stance, but it was a bad look in an already tense conversation.

Stay focused on the mission throughout any communication on a faux pas. Clearly illustrate what went wrong and why, reiterate your commitment to the cause and explain what will happen next. The best part of transparency is accountability, and for fundraising purposes, remaining accountable is a must.

Related: Why Radical Transparency (With Staff and Customers) Is Good for Business

3. Step back to see what works

You cannot build a smart fundraising strategy if you never step back to evaluate the effectiveness of your actions. Schedule time each quarter, and preferably each month, to review specific messaging campaigns, events and other initiatives to see what landed and what did not.

Donor Search recommends tracking all the basics, like donation volume, size and retention rates, but also focuses smartly on digital engagement. In a world where fundraising can happen any time online, leaders of fundraising organizations must be digitally savvy.

Lead-tracking can be a great way to identify the best sources of new donors. Ask simple questions of event attendees in follow-up email campaigns and surveys. Invite them to download content about your organization or register for your next event. Try different ways to funnel different donor leads toward single large gifts, smaller recurring gifts or whichever arrangement you find has the highest conversion rate.

Related: 3 Nonprofit Funding Avenues All Founders Should Know About

4. Ditch the perfectionism

No one gets everything right the first time. This isn’t about transparency, though. While it is important to own your mistakes, it’s also important to act decisively when you have enough information instead of waiting until it’s too late.

Have a potential lead on a big donor but your contact fell through? Do your own research and reach out directly. Want to try a new messaging strategy but not sure if the budget is worth it? Try a small test audience and see how it goes. Some of your moves will fail, but you can’t let that stop you from trying. Perfectionism will only slow you down.

Fundraising in 2021 happens in bursts of opportunity. The right moment is only a moment away, and fortune favors those who take action before stopping to work out all the details.

These trends in fundraising have arisen because new tools, new strategies and new social pressures demanded change. The older, more passive ways of fundraising will not be as effective in the months and years to come. Embrace these changes and use these tips to secure the funding your mission needs to move forward.

Peter Daisyme

By: Peter Daisyme / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Source: 4 Trends In Fundraising That Will Impact the Future of Philanthropy

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Critics:

Philanthropy consists of “private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life“. Philanthropy contrasts with business initiatives, which are private initiatives for private good, focusing on material gain, and with government endeavors, which are public initiatives for public good, e.g., focusing on provision of public services. A person who practices philanthropy is a philanthropist.

Philanthropy is different from charity, though there is some overlap. Charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem.

Traditional philanthropy and impact investment can be distinguished by how they serve society. Traditional philanthropy is usually short-term, where organizations obtain resources for causes through fund-raising and one-off donations. The Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation are examples of such; they focus more on the financial contributions to social causes and less on the actual actions and processes of benevolence.

Impact investment, on the other hand, focuses on the interaction between individual wellbeing and broader society through the promotion of sustainability. Stressing the importance of impact and change, they invest in different sectors of society, including housing, infrastructure, healthcare and energy.

A suggested explanation for the preference for impact investment philanthropy to traditional philanthropy is the gaining prominence of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2015. Almost every SDG is linked to environmental protection and sustainability because of raising concerns about how globalisation, liberal consumerism and population growth may affect the environment. As a result, development agencies have seen increased accountability on their part, as they face greater pressure to fit with current developmental agendas.

Philanthrocapitalism differs from traditional philanthropy in how it operates. Traditional philanthropy is about charity, mercy, and selfless devotion improving recipients’ wellbeing. Philanthrocapitalism, is philanthropy transformed by business and the market, where profit-oriented business models are designed that work for the good of humanity. Share value companies are an example. They help develop and deliver curricula in education, strengthen their own businesses and improve the job prospects of people. Firms improve social outcomes, but while they do so, they also benefit themselves.

The rise of philanthrocapitalism can be attributed to global capitalism. There is an understanding that philanthropy is not worthwhile if no economic benefit can be derived by philanthropy organisations, both from a social and private perspective. Therefore, philanthropy has been seen as a tool to sustain economic growth and the firm’s own growth, based on human capital theory. Through education, specific skills are taught which enhance people’s capacity to learn and their productivity at work.

See also

Your API Strategy Is A Business Requirement—Not Just A Technological Solution

The benefits of APIs ( Application Programming Interface) are becoming more clear in an ever-evolving tech landscape, yet ITDMs still struggle to convince executives and investors to buy into an API-first strategy. Here’s a look at the importance of APIs in a changing world, and how ITDMs can make the business case in order to secure the best API strategy for their organization.

According to Google Cloud’s new “State of the API Economy 2021” report, a majority of IT decision-makers view application programming interfaces, or APIs, as essential ingredients in improved customers experiences, expanded partner engagement, accelerated innovation, and other demands of today’s business environment. This is encouraging: APIs are how software talks to other software, and since much of digital transformation involves combining disparate data and functionality into rich user experiences and process automations, APIs are an essential ingredient in modern business strategies. 

What’s less encouraging: the research surveys primarily IT professionals, not business leaders. It’s clear that IT people see the benefits of APIs in the ever-changing tech landscape, but we still hear regular concerns from these same people that they have trouble convincing executives and investors to buy into an API-first strategy. In this article, we’ll look into why they are having these difficulties and some proven ways to successfully position an API strategy not just as a technological solution, but also as a business requirement.

The importance of APIs in a changing world

The rise of APIs has been heavily influenced by the introduction of disruptive new business models and evolving customer preferences that traditional technologies are not positioned to quickly and efficiently address. 

For example, traditionally, if your business sold tickets to events, it would build physical ticket booths and maybe a website or first-party mobile app. Today, tickets in many cases aren’t so much a physical thing presented to an usher as a digital code that an usher scans. Likewise, tickets are less-often purchased in person as opposed to online, and reliance on a first-party website can be unnecessarily restrictive. It places the burden on the business to attract customers, whereas surfacing organically in social media, search engine results, and other digital experiences lets the business meet customers where they’re already assembled. 

Moreover, as COVID-19 continues to disrupt events throughout the world, many ticket sellers—and most organizations, for that matter—have pivoted to digital-first business interactions as a matter of necessity. All of these changes in the business model, and all of the interacting systems and functionality that underpin them, rely on communication among APIs. 

Similarly, today’s banks cannot grow by simply building more branches or hiring more tellers. Instead, they need to make financial information and functionality available when and where customers require it, whether that means via an ATM, a first-party app, or within some other digital experience. Many banks also need to do more than just present this functionality, as customers are increasingly interested in the analytics and insights their spending patterns can yield. Again, all of these interactions—from customers making a purchase within an app to banks applying machine learning in order to offer customers financial insights—are enabled by APIs.     

Related: The “State of API Economy 2021” report describes how digital transformation initiatives evolved throughout 2020, as well as where they’re headed in the years to come. Download for free.

When guidance meets resistance

These examples do not illustrate technology that updates the status quo, but rather technology that unlocks business opportunities that transcend the status quo—and that help businesses to thrive even as the status quo fades into irrelevance and obsolescence. APIs are thus not just an IT topic but also important business enablers that should be understood by everyone involved with the enterprise’s investments, from internal stakeholders approving business strategies to external shareholders trying to assess an organization’s trajectory. 

The challenge for investor relations is to convey these financial and operational benefits in a way that clearly communicates the need for a new business model rather than refinements to the existing models. It’s essential that IT professionals understand APIs, but it’s also essential for business leaders to understand them too.

This is even trickier given that arguments for API investments are often based on future potential, while arguments for more conservative alternatives are based on past success. 

At a high level, the API value proposition is clear: In the past, valuable functionality and data have been encased in systems and applications, making them difficult to scale or leverage for new, evolving use cases. In contrast, APIs make functionality and data infinitely reusable, infinitely scalable, and modular such that APIs can easily be combined for new uses. All of this accrues to richer user experiences and more flexibility than ever for companies to monetize their digital assets, share them with partners, or combine them with assets from third parties. 

It’s essential that IT professionals understand APIs, but it’s also essential for business leaders to understand them too.

But investors typically want as much information as possible because their decisions can affect not just productivity and output, but company stock prices and potential future growth. High-level arguments may not be persuasive. The deeper assurances investors crave would normally come from guidance.

Guidance in this context refers to insights based on growth forecasts and customer adoption, but this can be difficult early in market entry. Robust forecasting processes need to be developed to demonstrate the efficacy and value of the API economy, which can be hard to predict: whereas APIs are well understood in some sectors, and especially among digital natives, they are in the early stages of the growth rate in other verticals, making it challenging to forecast developer adoption of a given API. And since there is a shortage of information, trying to use traditional guidance comes with a risk of being wrong and thus of little value to investors.

Related: Set your 2021 API resolutions with these top 2020 posts.

How to deliver a more useful value proposition

While guidance may be premature during the early stages of market entry, investor relations teams still need to convey the full value of an enterprise to investors. To do this, they need a value proposition that emphasizes the intrinsic value of the investment while reinforcing the benefits that can best drive business and stock growth. Considering how large an investment of time, effort, and money transitioning to an API economy can be, it is vital to convey that the benefits are substantial.

A solid value proposition should demonstrate maximum returns, and while this shouldn’t include far-fetched or unobtainable claims, it can include reasonable aspirational visions alongside statistical insights. To craft these aspirational narratives, investor relations teams should look to their organization’s existing business needs and challenges, and then demonstrate how APIs can benefit the organization in these areas. Here are some options that speak to a number of common business requirements:

  • Sales channel: API investments are reusable, improve speed to market, enable automated processes and partner onboarding, and can uncover unanticipated opportunities.
  • Cost: Businesses can reduce operational costs by using and reusing APIs for innovation and business development, and by using the services native to your partner’s digital surface, you can further reduce innovation costs and risks.
  • Earnings: API-enabled digital ecosystems unlock a variety of partner services that leverage the business’s shared data to drive new customer acquisition, new market positions, new transaction volumes, and direct API monetization.
  • Risk mitigation: By investing in a credible API, businesses can mitigate downside risks that traditional enterprises can face from market disruptors, industry-wide shifts to digital tools, and inabilities to ingest and analyze growing data sources.
  • Intellectual property: Unlike project-driven innovation and customized, point-to-point integration that traps enterprise knowledge in small teams and divisional silos, APIs are reusable and modular, breaking down silos and encouraging intra-organizational collaboration.
  • Speed to market: The efficient, repeatable API interface informs improvements to the fulfillment process with consistent access to data from across the organization, which drives solutions that more quickly and efficiently meet customer needs.
  • Ethics: APIs offer the flexibility and economical advantages that give organizations the capacity to focus on their brand’s ethical “reason for being” beyond profitability by serving economically marginal and underserved market segments.
  • Customer credibility: Organizations can deliver the extended, connected digital experiences that customers expect with the tools and flexibility included with API products.
  • Employee retention: Businesses can avoid losing key employees by updating their legacy technologies with APIs, giving employees the opportunity to enhance their skills with modern technologies.
  • Corporate strategy: Enterprises that use APIs’ reusable, modular structure and tools are more capable of adapting to rapid structural shifts in customer demand patterns and sectoral changes in the economy.

Whichever of these business challenges a team speaks to, it is imperative that they demonstrate the benefits of APIs, and that once they’ve determined the angle they intend to use, they keep their message consistent. While we’ve seen a number of viable ways to position APIs as a winning strategy, switching among them could make the presentation—and APIs in general—seem insubstantial and unreliable. 

This is why it’s key to decide on the most relevant business concerns, and once you’ve tailored your presentation, to make sure that you have message alignment, including buy-in and support from C-level executives. With a strong pitch built around solving existing business concerns and solidarity from relevant stakeholders, you can go into your investor meeting with the confidence to secure the best API strategy for your organization.

Strengthen your pitch with additional insights. Here are five key trends in 2021 for API-first digital transformation.

Paul Rohan

Paul Rohan

Paul Rohan is a researcher on Open Banking and a Google Cloud solutions consultant. Paul works with banking C-Suites that are examining the impact of the Platform Economy and Digital Ecosystems on financial services industry growth, market structures and governance. Paul is the author of “PSD2 in Plain English” and “Open Banking Strategy Formation”.

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RTInsights

What’s driving businesses to adopt application programming interfaces (APIs)? In this video, Red Hat’s Steven Willmott outlines the business needs that are driving Red Hat customers to adopt APIs and explains how APIs can improve communications between partners to enable a more flexible business ecosystem. For more videos and resources, visit http://www.rtinsights.com/red-hat-agi…

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How We Generate Engagement & Impact On LinkedIn For B2B Companies

Improving on this subject is something we are constantly trying to do. Many times b2b clients reach out and want to build a solid presence on social. But here’s the harsh truth – building a community around a brand is almost impossible. However, positioning personas within the company, and leveraging their influence to grow the company page is way more feasible.

There are the rare examples of companies such as Gong and Zest who are knocking the ball out of the park with a killer company page, but they’re the exception to the rule (and they are also fueled by strong personas that have become authorities). 

This post will focus on LinkedIn, however, there’s much to be said for Quora, Reddit and Twitter.

Here are experience-based tips on what works:

  1. When posting make sure all posts are readable with white space out
  2. Linkedin don’t appreciate linking out of the platform. Try to avoid it as much as possible. When you do, paste the link in the first comment (and mention “link in the first comment”)
  3. The more people click on your posts the better – LinkedIn will get an indication of relevancy. So:
    • write texts that are long enough for people to need to click “see more” 
    • for the same reason when posting images – aim for more than 5
  4. Speaking about images – it’s always better to show people than scenery
  5. Hashtags are important! – before using them check they have enough followers (hundreds and up)
  6. Use emojis
  7. Post in the morning when people get to work, noon when they’re on a break or afternoon as they head home

On top of the above: wadidigital published this fantastic breakdown on the types of posts the LinkedIn algorithm favors, keep it in mind.

Now let’s roll up our sleeves: Here’s a typical breakdown we try to stick to weekly for b2b c-levels who’s presence we manage.

Rule of thumb – we always try to strike emotions/ be controversial in the content, and to ADD VALUE:

  • 1 Conversational type of post – ask a question “what music do you listen to when working”, “do you outsource tech or rely mostly on an inhouse team” etc
  • 1 List type of post that end with a question “these are the top 5 books any tech pro should read, which would you add?”
  • 1 Infographic with insights 
  • (at least) 1 Share of a company blog post with a personal angle (we play around with these and sometimes also post entire blog posts as Linkedin articles, the jury is still out regarding the efficiency of this)  
  • 1 Viral type of post (the legendary Larry Kim does that so well we actually name those LK posts internally) 
  • Daily Engage with peers, like comment and share

I hope this helps, if you have further tips to share, please let me know!

By Noa Eshed

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