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MuleSoft Salesforce

Top Digital Initiatives for the Financial Services Industry

As financial service companies continue taking steps to transition to digital, it is critical to understand how today’s technological trends will shape the future of financial service operations and customer interactions. 

Integration challenges is the top bottleneck in the pursuit of digital transformation. Without sound integrations, financial services are at a severe risk of never accomplishing their required business objectives and staying competitive in the marketplace. 

Are you investing in the following digital initiatives? 

Top 3 Digital Initiatives for Financial Services

1. Using data as intelligently as possible

Data will still be prominent in all conversations and there will be more progress on how to use that data as intelligently as possible. There will be a transition from just collecting data and talking about the data but actually using data to answer important business questions.

Many businesses are breaking down data silos but the key will be having a strategy in how that data will be used in a more meaningful way that will create revenue-boosting opportunities down the road. With this newfound ability to create smart decisions with data instead of just focusing on storing all your data in one place, financial services (along with other industries), will have a clear understanding of where they need Customer 360 data to reside to create a holistic view at an enterprise level.

2. Enhancing customer communication 

A primary focus in the financial services industry is enhanced communication capabilities via modern platforms that are integrated into existing systems.

Business units require better ways to connect customer data, specifically multichannel chat and messaging services that allow for collecting information about a customer that can feed into their application processing. It’s not only more efficient for the customer, since many people are finding it more difficult to schedule time to wait and call customer service, but it’s also more efficient for your business because it increases your capacity to serve more customers at the same time. 

3. Increasing payment capabilities

Payment capabilities will continue to make huge strides. There are many financial services that still take checks in-person or drop off cash. Your business must be able to focus on integrating to a more scalable payment system and reconcile that data to their core systems without overhauling the entire accounting process. 

It’s all about using these enterprise back office platforms in conjunction with niche payment gateways that will help to streamline not only receiving money, but paying out money as well. Expanding your core platform through a proper integration strategy will allow you to gain agility in leveraging newer, more consumer friendly payment options that take the burden off your customers. Done right and you will be able to continue to add more payment options without needing to invest in costly upgrades to legacy platforms. 

4. Using data as intelligently as possible

Data will still be prominent in all conversations and there will be more progress on how to use that data as intelligently as possible. There will be a transition from just collecting data and talking about the data but actually using data to answer important business questions. 

Many businesses are breaking down data silos but the key will be having a strategy in how that data will be used in a more meaningful way that will create revenue-boosting opportunities down the road. With this newfound ability to create smart decisions with data instead of just focusing on storing all your data in one place, financial services (along with other industries), will have a clear understanding of where they need Customer 360 data to reside to create a holistic view at an enterprise level.

Leveraging Your Data Ecosystem

The key to fully utilizing and leveraging enhanced communication options, payment capabilities, and using data as intelligently as possible is to ensure that you have a strategy to integrate this new data into your existing application ecosystem. Whether you’re using native integration capabilities from Salesforce or building a reusable API that manages data access through MuleSoft, financial services are at risk of falling behind the competition and missing the mark on key business objectives if they do not put a focus on growing their digital agility.

If you need to leverage your data ecosystem, Green Irony can help. We build technical solutions to fuel large-scale, impactful digital transformation efforts capable of rapidly moving the needle for your business. To learn more about our expertise and services, visit greenirony.com

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MuleSoft

How to Ensure API Reusability – Keeping A Product Mindset for API Design

You may be using MuleSoft Anypoint platform as a project accelerator but how are you ensuring reusability of the APIs you are building?

We have all been there; if we just had a bit more time we could really make this feature solve more problems than just this one…but the reality is projects have a scope, budget, and time. These elements of a project usually pull at one another, create friction and ultimately force tough decisions. 

The MuleSoft Anypoint platform complements an API-led design approach and promotes reuse as one of its key benefits. In order to tap into that benefit, you need to ensure you are having a product mindset when designing your APIs even when those APIs are being created for a specific project. Even when scope, budget, and time are pulling against you the following three tips will help you keep a product mindset when designing an API to deliver to a projects’ requirements.

Create A Control Use Case

Enable the technical team to think beyond an initial project’s implementation by working with the product team or stakeholder to create a tightly constrained scenario that the API design team can bounce potential scenarios against to ensure some level of reusability. The scenario should be based on future functionality that the product team believes will need to be addressed for a new audience. This is by no means scope creeping your project, but instead gives you another vantage point while designing the API. It will help drive more ownership of the APIs within your organization as it is designed for more use beyond a single project use case.

Let’s take an example for an eCommerce site where you are creating APIs to unlock better order management tracking capabilities for a refreshed site or new mobile app experience. What about considering giving access to these capabilities to your customer service team? As you are decomposing the requirements for the new customer experience, you could validate your approach on whether a Process API should be used or not. Or you could check the level of search capabilities that may be needed to be exposed from a System API. 

One other tip when picking a control use case, it is always helpful using a scenario that is for internal process enablement – the user base is a bit more well known. The idea here is to avoid endless what-if analysis on what the API could be and instead focus on what it should be for your project and at least one other iteration.

Speak Your Language

Turning legacy and third party information into a language your company speaks now is a form of enablement that can be lost when challenged with project timelines. Taking the time to do so in your project will pay dividends for your organization. Work with the product team to create business entities that the technical team can emulate in their model. Creating entity relationships can help a development team ensure that consistency is honored between different API layers. Beyond the entities, the data itself needs an area of focus to bring the voice of your organization and avoid letting other system’s naming conventions creep into your APIs. Any analyst knows the “fun” of data mapping exercises but beyond just mapping – really take a look at how you are identifying the information within your own organization. Traditional point-to-point integrations have an input and an output that you need to connect. Challenge yourself to add one additional column to the middle of that mapping for what your organization calls it and have that be the language spoken in your internal API application network.

A simple example of the zip code, you may have a legacy system that just says ”Zip“ and another new third party that calls it ”Postal Code“ but what does your organization call it? Find out and make that a consistent approach for your lower-level APIs. Let the Experience APIs be the place to deviate but your Process and System APIs need to be in your organization’s language.

Celebrate Your APIs

As companies scale and teams become more remote, information tends to suffer. Within Anypoint Exchange, discovery and publishing of API information is centralized in the same place to ensure you have all your APIs at your fingertips. But these APIs are only as good as the documentation that comes with it. Have you ever started out a project and were told that this integration was built by another team last year? You hunt through documents created from past project teams to hopefully find something that informs you of exactly what they integrated with and no clue what is accurate. 

Once your project is complete, take the time to document your API in a way that others can tell what that API is doing, where the data is coming from and what the expectations are so they can build their solution by leveraging your hard work. Not to mention, make sure you take a peak before you go and build your own API. I probably should have mentioned that earlier…

Take the steps to think beyond your project and create a more product-focused API, then celebrate your success by giving the API more weight within Exchange by adding details on how to use it and some working examples. Promote the use of your API by giving others guidance on what this API can do and what it could do. Let others be creative with the APIs you create.

Hitting a project deadline is never easy. These tips are to aid in the discussion, design, and documentation of APIs; they are not meant to add complex requirements to your projects. In order to adopt an API-led approach and maximize the benefits of MuleSoft, you need to spend more time in your API design. By taking the time to test your design against another use case, translate the data, and create meaningful documentation you will unlock more reuse potential out of your project delivery. With the MuleSoft platform being a development accelerator, hopefully, you and your team can use that additional time to focus on creating a more product-minded API.