Why Resellers and MSPs Need To Adopt a API-First Approach


What types of APIs are widespread across the channel?

At Tollring our products have always been developed with APIs at the forefront of our thinking. We deliver the right information to the right people at the right time – and APIs facilitate this by allowing our users to consume real-time insights however they choose.

APIs help put an end to complicated journeys where a reseller needs to manually provision things. An organisation already has permissions set up for each staff member, so with APIs and tight integrations, all the barriers are removed. The information can be instant, easy to access and presented in a useful format. And, the more services you deliver via APIs, the easier it is for customers and the stickier they become.  This becomes a full seeded capability and where the power of APIs really kick-in.

How are resellers, MSPs and other channel stakeholders using APIs?

APIs are becoming more widespread particularly amongst more sophisticated channel partners delivering mid-market and enterprise level solutions. They are looking to customise experiences and are using APIs from disparate data sources such as iCall Suite to deliver relevant insights into visualisation tools such as Microsoft’s PowerBI.

With APIs now viewed as a critical way to consume information, we’re beginning to see solutions that are architected for an API-first approach. Within Tollring, we’re seeing more of our own data being consumed via APIs alongside customers logging into iCall Suite, which is our browser-based, cloud-delivered analytics solution. However our customers choose to consume our solutions, it is not about raw data but providing APIs that deliver the intelligence out of the system.

For example, a French retailer using Mitel devices wanted a series of customised dashboards. Tollring consumed its own APIs to deliver specific information to them without it going into the mainstream iCall Suite product. The APIs enabled us to take the data out of iCall Suite and deliver that information to the customer without it becoming a massive development exercise.

How Can Resellers or MSP  Can Successfully Use APIs and what are the Best Practices To Consider? 

There are a number of different ways that APIs can be utilised. The key is for both sides of the stream to work on best practices to develop the API framework that is right for their ecosystem of consumers. This is evolving all the time.

An API has a number of layers, the fist being the authorisation layer, to ensure you are dealing with the right person or machine and to make sure it is secure. Then the level of information they can access but without the ability to change the data.  Paired with deep understanding of what the customer wants to achieve, the result is an amazing framework.

How Will API Usage Change In The Next Few Years? 

APIs are becoming democratised as a service and less technical. It will become a no-code way of designing services. A level of technical understanding will be required, but the process will become more common and more resellers and MSPs will start leveraging APIs. We’re already seeing integrations with handsets, CRMs, OSS/BSS and other specialised applications that range from quick authentication time savers to complex bespoke reporting. As end customers, resellers and vendors become more familiar with this powerful tool, we’ll start to see many more imaginative solutions that really elevate the way we work.