This is a traditional chicken or the egg problem, and I would like to put in my 2 cents by trying to address the same question in the information technology era.
We see hundreds of new and emerging startups rising every day across all the industries. The secret of success is not coming from any crystal ball; perhaps it solely depends on ,“What are you trying to solve with your idea and how?” The concept and success of companies like Uber, Lyft or AirBnB is driven by answering that very question. Someone somewhere identified a few general problems faced by people in their daily lives and simply spun off ideas to solve those problems. I don’t deny that some successes results from a random apple falling on a passing Newton to spark an idea, but easy access to technology catalyzes these ideas into successful business models. In any industry, the distinct line between providers, consumers, and mediators is slowly fading. What is making all this possible?
No matter what industry we talk about, there are usually three pillars of any organization. People, process, and technology. To be successful at what anyone does, they need to clearly identify these three factors in their line of business and design strategy to drive them:
- People – Generally speaking, you identify your customer base (people) through data gathering, market analysis, usage patterns, etc. All this data is stored in some data warehouses, mainframe, etc., in one format or other. In fact, nowadays the concept of no-SQL databases such a MongoDB and Cassandra are gaining significant popularity due to their speed and flexible structure to maintain data. For example, CA has a great tool called Live API Creator which provides an excellent interface that sits on core databases and anyone without lot of database experience can also use it. This CA’s tool uses the concept of APIs to perform CRUD operations on core databases.
- Process can be anything that is associated with collecting the customer data, enrichment, transformation, and visualization of that data into some useful information, for which we use data analysis, orchestration, etc., and make informed business decisions on these results. This also gives rise to the fields such a data mining, business intelligence, big data, and others. The fundamental reason for these fields’ popularity is because they enable you to make smarter business decisions, which is at the core of how technology drives business
- Technology, as I mentioned before, is like the invention of the wheel. That is, you may know what you want to do with your data and where you want to go with your business, but without technology, you could probably not get there – or at least not very quickly. Every area of our life today is touched by technology. From using health monitors, hospital, and healthcare devices, to travelling by land, water or air, or even knowing about events happening in other parts of the world, from analysis quality of soil, to quality of potable water, to even sports and entertainment data. Nothing today can prosper without leveraging technology for its betterment. It has seeped into our lives from luxury to need today.
You either embrace these new-age changes and thrive, or cease to exist. Everyone is racing towards some goal at a much faster pace, with better accuracy, with more context-specific tactics. This is where APIs have grabbed some eyeballs. Every software vendor is either inventing their own API management technology or acquiring recently created ones to establish its footprint in the industry. The recent news of Google acquiring Apigee is no surprise, considering how giants across all industries foresee the gravity of using APIs to meet most of the customers’ web service demands over such a heavy network of traffic and with the amount of collected data running in the magnitude of zettabytes.
Therefore, I will say we cannot simply judge and say one drives another. While you cannot ensure success of any kind of business without proper IT infrastructure in it, we also know that innovation in technology is driven by the need for it in business. I would put this question to rest by saying that we must be able to leverage one to better enable the other.
Perficient is one such industry leader in this space, partnering with leading technology vendors like CA Technologies and many others to enable its clients to use new-age techniques to mitigate their business challenges and be more successful in attaining goals. From back-end database implementations to DevOps, continuous integration, middleware solution offerings with tools such as TIBCO, ESBs, Mulesoft, CA Gateway for API management to front-end developments, Perficient has been tremendously successful in areas of software implementations, technology solutions, and establishing long-term partnerships with organizations to help them be leaders.