The ability to distribute a service across mobile devices and applications is driving the explosion in mobile commerce and application design.
The API Services and Directory site ProgrammableWeb.com lists 7,000 Application Program Interfaces (API)s and adds more than 300 the list every month. They’ve made the case that every company can and will have an API. The development of robust APIs has been instrumental to the explosive growth of companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter. The key motivation for investing in this technology is that it helps developers work with other companies to create tools that help improve engagement and conversions.
So if your service has an API, do you also need a mobile SDK? In short, the answer is “yes,” especially if mobile is strategic in your company’s growth. At Red Foundry we partner with a wide variety of service providers and they site the following top five reasons for creating a mobile SDK:
- Close more sales. The biggest reason to create a mobile SDK is to help sales and business development staffs close key deals faster. The SDK do this by helping move the process of integrating services along more quickly.
- Speed up deployment. Time is a critical cost factor because the integration services are performed by mobile engineers with a highly valued skill sets. Having an SDK can help them simplify their projects and enable integration of APIs that require complex use cases that are complemented by standard on-client processing for mobile devices. A SDK greatly simplifies this integration effort.
- Increase security. Security may be a critical issue. In the case of large ad networks, SDKs are often required in order to reduce programmatic fraud. SDKs can be used to encrypt portions of the user interface (UI) to secure data quality. Mobile payments processing requires PCI compliance and some platforms may have specific requirements for storing passwords, etc. A SDK can help provide that needed security.
- Reduce bad code & ensure best practices Developers are rarely perfect. Even the best can make mistakes. Errors in how data is passed to back end services can cause critical issues and delays that impact the entire business. Inefficient code by a single developer can take down services for across the enterprise. The SDK can go a long way to reducing bad or inefficient code and its impact on critical systems. The right SDK can further insure the right business rules and practices are in place across their entire publisher network.
- Control over your brand. Control over your brand with the UI of the publisher’s app may be critical to your business. Developers aren’t designers; an SDK will allow you to lock down critical portions of the interface while retaining analytics needed to see how the users interact with your service within the publisher’s application.
So SDKs help publishers and the developers that work for them integrate with the service providers APIs more quickly. That saves time, saves money, and helps close more deals. They make life simpler for the developer, insure best practices, and keep critical systems secure. So why doesn’t every service provider with an API also offer a SDK?