It is very common for the channel to use APIs for both availability checking and for provisioning tasks such as setting up new services. With fixed line broadband and leased line services then availability checking is usually a key first step for a reseller to collect a lead. So, they may have a postcode checker box on their website that collects some information about the customer’s location before using an API to provide a list of services that are available all without any human intervention required on the part of the reseller.
I don’t think it’s an accident that Jola’s largest resellers transact almost exclusively using APIs. Whilst we have arguably the most feature rich mobile connectivity management portal in the form of Mobile Manager, for many resellers they want to pull all that functionality into their own portals. We decided right in the beginning that anything we develop into our portals should also be available via an API and that strategy has paid off. Resellers can now perform the full lifecycle management of a mobile SIM card via an API including the initial provisioning, the in-life management and usage monitoring through to changing the tariff on a SIM card or even cancelling it at the end of it’s useful life.
If a reseller makes the move to using APIs then I think it’s important to think about consistency. So decide which workflows you’re going to automate via APIs and ideally always use that workflow rather than sometimes using the API and sometimes using a GUI. The reason is that it’s likely that your API workflow will be keeping data in sync between your internal systems and your suppliers’ systems. So, if you don’t use that workflow consistently you can end up with a situation where your internal systems are out of sync that can lead to billing issues or confusion when it comes to providing support for that service.
I think API usage will be become even more widespread. The massive adoption of the hyperscale clouds such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure is providing really powerful, easy to use and well documented API gateways that simplify the process of interacting with all kinds of different APIs.
Open APIs are in their infancy and I don’t think there’s a great example of their adoption within the channel today. However the promise is clearly exciting and potentially could lead to the channel add a new layer of stickiness to some otherwise commoditised services. For example, your mobile phone SIM card could have a set of open APIs that gave access to things like SMS history, call logs, data usage information. Then an App developer could use those APIs to provide really in depth management capabilities into an easy to use App available from the App store. Now, if your SIM supported those Open APIs but your competitor didn’t and your user valued the capabilities delivered by that third-party App then it’s unlikely they’d switch SIM provider to somebody that doesn’t have that capability.
Jola is an award-winning, channel-only supplier of business communications, specialising in mobile data SIMs. We are a global eSIM MVNO, providing innovative IoT and mobile data solutions to MSPs, ISPs, IT Support companies and Telecommunications Resellers.
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