Connect apps and APIs: Jumpstart your way to an all-digital business

This blog was originally published on the Salesforce blog and was co-written with Ed Cho, Senior Product Marketing Manager on the Platform team.

Cutting doctor’s appointment referral times by half. Processing a bank loan in support of small business in less than two days. Accelerating test results to help stop the spread of disease. IT teams have always been implementing, maintaining, and governing a number of high-demand applications and systems. (The average enterprise had 900 apps, and usually only 29% are connected to each other.) But the new reality under COVID-19 has companies finding digital ways to deliver engaging experiences to customers, partners, and employees in faster, more agile, and more scalable ways than ever.

With pro-code and low-code tools and reusable APIs, businesses can accelerate app development by 57% and improve integration cost efficiencies by 25%, jumpstarting the shift to an all-digital business model. Some organizations are taking advantage of the technology by spinning up apps over one weekend; others, like Webster Bank and the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) at the University of California, Berkeley, in as quickly as a day.

Companies that feel like they fell behind during the start of the pandemic still have an opportunity to turn their businesses around overnight. The boost comes from connected apps and APIs.

The new normal demands new capabilities

Businesses that invested in digital transformation initiatives before COVID-19 had a head start compared to those that did not. However, evolving to an all-digital business model is a marathon and not a sprint, and businesses who feel they are behind the digital transformation curve – but who are also serious about competing – will need new capabilities to thrive in an all-digital world.

Build secure and engaging digital experiences, fast

IT teams are asked to deliver more than before to support their organizations with fewer resources. To meet growing digital demands, IT and business leaders should know that developers aren’t the only ones capable of building new digital experiences. Instead, these skills can be democratized and expanded to citizen developers across any department or team. 

IT leaders can empower a broader set of stakeholders to build secure digital applications and experiences at scale. For example, the Salesforce Platform offers a rich array of pro-code and low-code tools.

Webster Bank, a commercial bank with 156 branches and 306 ATMs, needed a quick solution to help with the influx of call volume for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans during COVID-19 to help small businesses stay afloat.

In just one day, Webster Bank built a new web portal, enabling the processing of over 11,000 PPP loans, most in less than 48 hours after the PPP application portal was opened by the SBA. Using MuleSoft to get a single view of its customers, Webster Bank was able to provide a more personalized banking experience and reduce processing time for loan applications by 70%. “With MuleSoft and Salesforce we saw a speed of delivery and level of innovation that we didn’t know was possible,” says John Guy, Executive Vice President, Director of Business Banking at Webster Bank. “We have up-leveled our organization.”

Make your data accessible from anywhere

There are benefits in the healthcare sector as well. With over 400,000 patient referrals, 45,000 hospital admissions, and two million outpatient appointments per year, the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF) is recognized as one of the top specialty hospitals in the United States, helping millions of people with the most critical conditions. 

To deliver innovative digital patient experiences, UCSF reimagined its patient referral system by building an engaging data-driven app with MuleSoft and Heroku, a pro-code app development tool within the Salesforce Platform. With the new app, UCSF not only made great strides in solving its interoperability issues, but it was also able to power a secure and compliant patient referral app that reduced appointment times from an average of 12 days to six. 

The effectiveness of any app or digital experience is based on how well it integrates with customer data. Businesses need real-time access to their data sources to achieve a single view of their customers, partners, and employees, and also to build apps that deliver personalized, responsive, and relevant experiences. The challenge is often that customer data is spread across multiple systems and apps are entwined in many complex processes.

API tools like MuleSoft enable API-led connectivity and allow businesses to integrate data anywhere with application networks. The result can be improved developer productivity, and ultimately an increase in innovation through API reuse.

Help those who help others

The Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) at the University of California, Berkeley was founded in 2014 to uncover innovations that improve human health and solve humanity’s greatest problems, and today it battles on the front lines against one of the most challenging global pandemics. 

IGI built a provider-facing community portal in just one day to help healthcare providers conduct up to 1,000 COVID-19 tests per day and turn around COVID-19 test results to patients and providers within 24 hours. And with an API-led integration, IGI integrated multiple systems, streamlined the manual and error-prone data entry process for healthcare providers, and provided all healthcare stakeholders with greater visibility into patient test results throughout the testing lifecycle.

Organizations like Webster Bank, UCSF, and UC Berkeley understand that innovative digital experiences are empathic, engaging, and relevant – and in some cases, they’re able to help their customers take control of their health, their finances, and more.

For more information, download the Accelerate to an All-Digital Business with the Power of APIs ebook



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