Whitten from CA: What’s your role and responsibilities at Rogers Communications?
Siddiqui from Rogers: As a senior manager, I’m responsible for Architecture and Design within the Systems Integration division that supports Consumer IT. We look at future-state strategy, make systems more nimble and ensure they’re centered around business needs. One area we focus on is APIs which provide conduits between backend systems – or systems of record – and the front end systems, also known as systems of engagement. I also have responsibility for application architecture, development and delivery – with a goal to shorten release cycles and shift more to left – as well as security.
Whitten: What are your organization’s digital initiatives and priorities?
Siddiqui: Rogers Communications centers around customers with three business units: Consumer, Enterprise and Media. There are support functions around each business including IT. We also have another support division call Unified Customer Experience, that’s designed around self-service and is all about delivering a consistent customer experience no matter what channel they come over. By consistency, that means information is delivered to the customer the same way, whether they come through the website, walked into a retail store or called the contact center. In essence we’re creating an omni-channel experience. We’re not just providing consistency, but empowering these relevant cross-functional groups.
Whitten: How have APIs played a role in enabling these initiatives?
Siddiqui: APIs play a huge role. Since the goal is to provide consistent information at the presentation level the information has to come from one source, and that source is via the API. We’re exposing APIs to be consumed by different presentation layers, whether that presentation layer is the web, mobile or contact center. The underpinning of APIs is the same in order to deliver a consistent experience. While a lot of APIs enable internal connectivity, we see a shift to the consumption of APIs by external apps. An example of this is NHL.com (the National Hockey League’s website). APIs are enabling customers to watch live NHL games on Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE app. This is a prime example of apps outside of the Rogers ecosystem that are accessing data we’re opening up to enter into new marketplaces.
Whitten: What value has your business recognized from developing APIs?
Siddiqui: The essence of APIs is that they’re a common set of building blocks that can be assembled to deliver business capabilities. If an API was not available we’d have to build it from scratch connecting the system of record with the system of engagement. When a requirement comes in we see if an existing API meets the need, if it does we use it, if it doesn’t we build a new one. This accelerates delivery time tremendously by reducing development time. This plays a major part in shifting development to the left to bring products and services market faster.
Whitten: Can you share some future plans you have with APIs?
Siddiqui: We continue to see more and more apps outside of our ecosystem of control accessing information within Rogers and are planning for this type of adoption to increase. We also see a lot of opportunity with the Internet of Things. Whether it be the “thing” such as a home entertainment system communicating back to Rogers directly or connecting through a mobile app we see this as an opportunity to improve the experience for our consumers.
Whitten: Are there any recommendations you can provide to others for a successful API program?
Siddiqui: You need an infrastructure available to run and operate a successful API shop. This includes an API Gateway to authorize and authenticate APIs but also act as a router to forward requests to the right backend system, almost like a lightweight service bus. You also need a Developer portal with a library of APIs documented within the portal to advertise to developers internally and externally. In addition metrics are extremely important to measure success. Understanding how many people and apps are accessing APIs provides very insightful information and insight on what to charge for access.
Rogers Communications is a Canadian communications company that operates in the field of wireless communications, cable television and internet connectivity.