Creating and Optimizing Revenue Channels With APIs

This customer is a multi-national banking corporation with a long history of providing retail and investment banking services. The bank needed to find a way to develop new revenue channels and optimize existing channels, and realized that APIs provided a great vehicle to fulfill this business strategy.

Taking a "disrupt or be disrupted" mindset, the bank realized that it needed to open up its banking applications for partners to use as a platform for innovation.

Akana Helps With...

Standards Compliance

Comprehensive Security

Flexible Developer Portal

Helping Execute the Business Vision

The bank built an API platform and Developer Network designed to promote the idea that developers can help a company execute its business vision. The platform is built around the themes of automation, innovation, and co-creation, promoting the idea that any of the bank’s suppliers can:

  • Automate their interactions with the bank to optimize efficiency.
  • Innovate to build new products using the bank’s core services.
  • Co-create to deliver new applications and products to the bank’s or their own customers.

Automation – the bank has thousands of suppliers, many of which don’t have a way to automate their interactions with the bank, e.g. exchange of transaction data, payment processing, credit management, etc.

Innovation - instead of the bank driving innovation, it wants to allow 3rd parties (startups, strategic partners) to innovate. For example, the bank partners with utilities to allow their customers to pay directly via the bank’s API.

Co-create – a variation on innovation where the bank works hand-in-hand with customers and partners to create new Apps. For example, a partner built an innovative mobile app that makes it incredibly easy to send money between friends.

These core business goals need to be enabled within the context of a rapidly changing regulatory environment. The bank is required to comply with international regulatory rules (including PSD2 in Europe and the Open Data Initiative in the UK). Both of these initiatives specifically require banks to open up access to account and customer data via APIs.

Akana Products

To enable these goals of automations, innovation, and co-creation, the bank purchased the Akana Platform as the foundation of its API Platform and Developer Network to provide the bank with an industry standard way to publish APIs with a set of common best practices for:

  • RESTful design
  • Security Standards
  • Operating Model
  • Legal Framework

This particular customer chose an on premise deployment option, with a multi-layered, multi-environment approach to meet its security and operational requirements. This deployment takes advantage of the Akana platform’s intense focus on security, including integration with external Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) for cryptographic operation, and the ability to distribute the platform across multiple network layers with different network environments driving which types of credentials are required for access, and which assets are accessible.

Why Akana?

The bank selected the Akana platform because we offered the best combination of security and capability. Specifically:

  • Our products can be deployed in different network layers, keeping sensitive data and administration interfaces in secured internal networks, and surfacing only developer and customer facing data in less secure external network layers.
  • Our products can leverage Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) to externalize cryptographic functions and key storage for compliance with standards like FIPS-140.
  • We offered the most flexible developer portal with the best user experience.

Overall, by selecting Akana, the bank was able to meet all its internal and external regulatory requirements and get a much better solution to market faster than it would have been able to with any other vendor’s products.

Status

The bank's platform is accessible publicly with a well-designed set of introductory and help content, and a promotion for its in-house accelerator program – essentially an incubator for FinTech startups that can leverage the bank’s APIs to build their products.

The bank spent the bulk of 2015 getting the platform up and running, developing all the standards, and setting up the rules of the game. They defined an internal API engagement model to help potential API providers get their APIs built and published through the platform as quickly and effectively as possible.

At this point the bank has one API in production. This API allows corporate customers to disburse payments to their suppliers in real time, as an alternative to the outdated batch process. This API-based approach offers a better experience for corporate customers, and improves processing throughput for the bank.

What’s Next

The bank plans a public launch of its Developer Network in the next few months, with some open APIs as part of the launch, these will include: branch locators, FX rates, and anything else that will expose public data via APIs.

It has an exciting pipeline of API onboarding planned for the next few months, and expects to see explosive growth in its API usage driving significant evolution in the bank’s overall business.