September, 17, 2020

CRIF focuses on APIfication

APIfication, a tool that gets the most out of application programming interfaces (API), offering functionalities and data as a service, is becoming increasingly important from a digital transformation perspective, especially in banking and finance.

A more modern approach to API integration reduces time-to-market, speeds up the adoption of new technologies, and creates new revenue streams, enabling higher revenue growth. APIfication can make it easier to create integrated sales and marketing offerings with partners and speed up the delivery of products and services.

“The term APIfication is currently in vogue in the financial services sector and must always be accompanied by the “Open” concept”, commented Davide Raitano, CRIF’s Corporate Chief Information Officer. “Both these concepts relate to a company’s ability to expose its services to the outside world, so they can be used easily and bring added value to the end customer.”

According to Raitano, all this is impacting on the banking sector: credit companies are gradually abandoning the traditional model based on end-to-end financial solutions built in-house, and creating value-added services built by assembling microservices already available on the market and responsive to requirements, identifying the best ones for ease of integration.

“In this context,” explained CRIF’s Corporate Chief Information Officer, “we need to understand APIs as a true commercial product, the face that a company shows to the outside and the factor that enables the ecosystem. Next generation APIs, exposed on open platforms, must be designed not so much in relation to the way they are used to solve potential business issues, but rather in terms of their ability to foresee and enable future growth in value.”

As Raitano points out, digital platforms and ecosystems are at the top of many companies’ agendas, because related business models already dominate everyday life as well as the experiences of people such as consumers, workers, community members, and citizens. As a result, this paradigm shift has an impact on traditional CRIF customers.

SEIZING NEW OPPORTUNITIES

“Leveraging information assets, analytical skills, technological investments, and a constant propensity to innovate, CRIF supports industry operators with a service ecosystem and platform that can help them seize the opportunities to reach the next level”, explained Raitano. “Specifically, CRIF Digital Next is an innovative platform that enables credit operators, insurance companies and businesses to speed up their digital transformation, improve the user experience of their customers, and generate fast, continuous and sustainable innovation processes. CRIF Digital Next offers a unique technological entry point to the private cloud with next generation APIs, allowing fast, simple and secure access to a broad ecosystem of customized services such as advanced personal financial management and business financial management solutions.”

From CRIF’s perspective, the new pervasiveness of APIs makes it necessary to abandon the traditional approach to designing interfaces, architectures and services for specific project requirements, because over time this creates complex interdependencies between systems and makes evolutionary maintenance complicated and expensive. “The new platform economy APIs need to be designed to expose business data, functionalities and services to the outside world in a controlled manner, reducing the complexity of integration”, continued Raitano. “Backend services must be adapted accordingly. Following this logic, legacy services can also be revitalized based on next-generation APIs, breaking the silos, simplifying the use of basic information, and making traditional information assets available to a new community of users.”

SIGNIFICANT IMPACT AT ALL LEVELS

The choice of APIs and ecosystems can have a strong impact at all levels, including starting from the sales model and how the company positions itself in terms of marketing. “The adoption of the new API paradigm is primarily a strategic choice, not just a technological one”, stated Raitano. “Therefore, a corporate culture based on the creation of reusable assets capable of facilitating alliances and partnerships from an ecosystem perspective is indispensable. To this end, one of the key elements is the CRIF developer portal, through which the company communicates with the market, and it is the public point of entry that describes the company in the context of the open API ecosystem.”

With CRIF Digital Next, the main pillar of the positioning strategy in the world of open banking, CRIF has set itself the objective of integrating and hosting proprietary value-added services together with third-party services. The CRIF Digital Next offering is built and delivered through CRIF’s open platform, a multiservice infrastructure layer, designed to enable the quick and easy creation and integration of internal and external services, through the exposure of next-generation APIs. The platform is designed to be open and take full advantage of the ecosystem business model, to enable the implementation of interesting use cases, and to develop the user experience by generating fast, continuous, and sustainable innovation processes.

“The strategy of exposing products and services through APIs will allow new opportunities to be explored and will be a further driver to the continuing evolution toward an increasingly agile, customer-centric organization”, explained Raitano. “The success of this business model and the platform that makes it possible will be measured by the creation of new revenue sources, service improvement and customer satisfaction, as well as the ability to collect even more data.”

AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

CRIF currently operates across four continents, providing its solutions to more than 6,300 banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and utilities, and 55,000 businesses, while more than 350,000 consumers directly use CRIF services, in more than 50 countries.

Over the last year, CRIF has taken its coverage as an Account Information Service Provider (AISP) in open banking to all 31 European countries where the PSD2 Directive applies. For the sixth year running, CRIF has been included in the IDC FinTech Rankings, taking 50th place in the global classification, and top spot among Italian companies. “The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected business activities and introduced changes to cultural and consumer habits”, commented Raitano. “The high level of digitalization of our solutions has allowed us to guarantee the ordinary management of operations and normal standards for the services provided. We are seeing a strong acceleration in process digitalization, not just in finance. The recent launch of CRIF Digital Next can also be explained by the desire to provide a practical response to these needs.”


Source: Data Manager Magazine