« API changes the way we make our content available »
AFP has invested a lot in developing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). But what exactly is API?
API is a piece of software that enables applications to communicate and exchange data. For AFP, it allows us to provide every client with exactly what it needs from the more than 50 million pieces of content -- text, photo, video and multimedia -- we have available. It is a lighter and more user-friendly service that opens up the whole of AFP's production.
How does this work in practice?
API enables clients to perform targeted searches for what they need. For example, a corporate client can monitor and receive real-time alerts on a competing brand or on a market or country it operates in. It receives this information via personalised searches. AFP's API is designed to be quickly and easily connected into our clients' information systems (intranet, content editing systems, mobile apps), so they can request content in real time.
What is AFP's goal for the API?
We are aiming to build up loyalty among our existing clients and break into new markets by offering an unparalleled search precision due to a top-quality database that is regularly updated: more than 210,000 people, 470,000 organisations and institutions, 35,000 companies and 10,000 places. API will improve our service to our clients by allowing them to access the content they want directly and in real time. The client also makes savings on storing, transferring and processing the documents they download.
Does API enable us to have a better idea of what clients are using?
Absolutely. With API, we can analyse clients' requests and preferences and offer them a better service, for example by suggesting follow-up content.
What new possibilities does API open up?
API changes the way we make our content available. With interfaces like this, several development possibilities open up, for example for mobiles and tablets but also for websites. Like most other media, we have been using API internally at AFP for more than 10 years. Because of this, prospective clients can have trials using api.afp.com and it also speeds up the development of strategic partnerships. We are already working with web designers and media software publishers to connect AFP directly to content management systems via API. The goal is to improve the experience of journalists at our clients and test other innovations using artificial intelligence and other new services to come.
Speaking of which, is the IT department still working to improve the quality of our service?
Of course we are permanently working on that. To offer a flawless service, we are paying particular attention to systems monitoring. We have a new tool, AppDynamics, which allows us to manage and monitor how our applications are performing. With this tool, we can now follow all client downloads as well as what the clients are looking at on AFP Forum. Our staff and developers come together to analyse these data in order to prevent incidents before they occur. We have also improved our reaction time. As soon as a bug is identified, the information is immediately transferred to teams of developers, who correct the bug and put the app back into service.
What impact does this monitoring have on the client?
We are not having to stop the platform anymore and this monitoring is contributing to that. The fact that we are watching the whole of our IT system and getting a wider picture of performance allows us to draw up regular reports and service quality indicators. This also helps our monitoring and clients are seeing the difference.